Amendment No. 4 to the Employment (Jersey) Law 2003: in force 1 October 2009

An Appointed Day Act has been passed, bringing Amendment No. 4 to the Employment (Jersey) Law 2003 ("Amendment No. 4") into force on 1 October 2009.

Very much in summary, Amendment No 4. will:

  • Allow the Employment Tribunal to reduce awards for unfair dismissal
  • Give the Tribunal the power to order an employer to reinstate or re-engage employees found to be unfairly dismissed.

For more information regarding Amendment No. 4 please refer to our may 2009 Update.

Amendment No. 5: current position

Amendment No. 5 is the amendment to the Employment (Jersey) Law 2003 (the "Law") which will introduce certain redundancy protection measures and remove the upper age limit for unfair dismissal claims. It is currently awaiting Privy Council approval but could be introduced in 2010.

For more information regarding Amendment No. 5 please refer to our May 2009 Update.

Health and Safety Amendment

The main law covering health and safety in Jersey is the Health and Safety at Work (Jersey) Law 1989 (the "HSWJL"). Amendment No. 5 to the HSWJL (the "H&S Amendment") will clarify obligations on employers under Article 3 of the legislation. Article 3 sets out the general duty placed on employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare of employees. The H&S Amendment was passed by the States on 12 May 2009 and now awaits Privy Council approval. The changes are expected to be in force later this year.

Below is a summary of key changes to the HSWJL arising from the H&S Amendment, if it is introduced in its current form.

  • Risk assessment

Under existing legislation every employer is required to ensure, "so far as reasonably practicable", the health, safety, and welfare at work of employees. It falls to the employer, in the discharge of that duty, to assess what is reasonably practicable. To do this an employer needs to weigh the likelihood and consequences of any harm to employees against the measures that would be required to eliminate or reduce the risk of harm occurring. Article 1(a) of the H&S Amendment makes it clear that the duty includes carrying out a risk assessment.

  • Written records of health and safety policy

The HSWJL already stipulates that a written health and safety policy must be maintained by employers with more than five employees. Article 1(b) of the H&S Amendment makes three changes relating to that requirement. Firstly, the employer must also maintain a written statement of significant risks. Secondly, the statement must be in a language that the employer's employees understand. If their knowledge of English is sufficient then a statement in that language would be appropriate. If, however, the employees' knowledge is so limited that they would not understand the statement in English it must be provided in a language they would understand. Finally, the amendment to Article 1(b) gives the Minister for Social Security the power to amend the number of employees by reference to which the requirement to maintain a written record is imposed.

  • Time frame for employers to make changes

If the H&S Amendment is adopted, employers will have three months from the day that it is registered in the Royal Court in which to revise their statements so as to comply with the new requirements.

Minimum wage consultation

This Summer the Employment Forum released its latest consultation on the minimum wage, accessible via the States website: www.gov.je.

There have been four increases to the minimum wage since 2005. The first three, between 2006 and 2008, were steady at 3% year on year. The final and most recent increase was greater with the minimum wage rising by approximately 5% to £6.08 per hour.

A public workshop took place on Tuesday 8 September 2009. It appeared likely that the Employment Forum would extend the consultation period, given a lack of employee responses and the exceptional current economic climate.