Carey Olsen Starting Point Guides are intended as a general introduction and guide to different aspects of Jersey law.
They are a summary of the most important issues that we come across. It is very much the edited highlights of those issues. If you would like legal advice in relation to any specific circumstances, please do give us a call.
This Starting Point Guide provides a brief overview of Jersey employment law.
INTRODUCTION TO JERSEY
Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands and is a British Crown dependency.
It has its own financial, legal and judicial systems. It is not part of the UK or of the European Union (although it has close relationships with both).
SOURCES OF JERSEY EMPLOYMENT LAW
The duties of Jersey employers and employees derive from a number of sources which include:
statute law; customary/common law (i.e. judicial precedent); and employment contracts and other documentation.
There is less employment legislation in Jersey than in the UK, although the amount of legislation in this area is increasing.
There is a Jersey Employment Tribunal (the "Tribunal") which hears employment related claims. Contractual claims of over £10,000 are dealt with by the Royal Court of Jersey.
The Jersey law of contract is somewhat different from the English law. However, when it comes to employment contracts, the Jersey courts and tribunals have generally (although not exclusively) had regard to English law and principles – particularly when it comes to implied contractual duties.
In general employment law in Jersey is heavily influenced by English case law and so it is often the case that English cases relating to employment law will be cited before the Tribunal or Courts in Jersey. Whilst English law heavily influences the development of employment law in Jersey, a company should be careful to ensure that it obtains Jersey employment law advice in relation to any employees working wholly or mainly in Jersey. This is because there are some important differences between the two jurisdictions.
THE EMPLOYMENT (JERSEY) LAW 2003 (THE "EMPLOYMENT LAW")
The Employment Law is the key statute governing Jersey employment issues. The following is a summary of its key provisions:
Who is an employee?
The Employment Law applies to both those employed under a contract of employment and to certain individuals who are under an obligation to perform their work personally (and, in particular, to those who would be regarded as "workers" under English law).
The Employment Law lays down the following periods of notice to be given by an
Length of continuous employment
Minimum period of notice
Less than 2 years
1 weeks' notice
2 years +
2 weeks' notice
3 years +
3 weeks' notice
4 years +
4 weeks' notice
5 years +
5 weeks' notice
6 years +
6 weeks' notice
7 years +
7 weeks' notice
8 years +
8 weeks' notice
9 years +
9 weeks' notice
10 years +
10 weeks' notice
11 years +
11 weeks' notice
12 years +
12 weeks' notice
An employee who has been continuously employed for 26 weeks or more must give a minimum of:
2 weeks’ notice if his or her period of continuous employment is less than 5 years; or 4 weeks’ notice if his or her period of continuous employment is 5 years or more.
The above does not prevent an employment agreement from providing for a longer period of notice (but not a shorter period) – and nor does it prevent an employment contract being entered into for a fixed term.
Written Terms & Conditions of Employment
Employers are under a duty to provide employees (assuming they work 8 hours per week or more) with a written statement of the terms of their employment within 4
weeks of the commencement of their employment. The key terms which must be provided include (amongst others):
Names of the employer and the employee. Date the employment started. Date when employee's period of continuous employment began, taking into account any employment with a previous employer which counts, such as in a business transfer. Terms relating to rates of pay. Terms and conditions that relate to hours of work. Terms and conditions relating to:-
Holiday Sickness/sick pay Pension Maternity leave Redundancy Disciplinary and grievance procedures.
If an employee is transferring from the UK to work for the Jersey branch of the same company then it is likely that his or her continuous employment will begin from
the date he began working for the company in the UK. The length of continuous employment is relevant when calculating whether an employee has sufficient length of service to be eligible to bring a claim for unfair dismissal.
If there is a change in the terms the employer must inform the employee of the change in a further written statement not more than four weeks after the change.
Minimum rest periods and annual leave
The UK Working Time Regulations 1998 (as amended) do not apply in Jersey. However, under the Employment Law, an employee is entitled to an uninterrupted rest period of not less than 24 hours in each seven day period. The employer and employee may agree how this should work.
Under the Employment Law an employee is entitled to a minimum period of 2 weeks' paid annual leave, although his or her contract of employment may provide for a longer period of annual leave.
Employees are also entitled to have as paid leave Christmas Day, Good Friday and all other public or bank holidays observed in Jersey provided that they are normally required to work on the days upon which those public and bank holidays fall.
The Law does allow an employee to work on these days provided equivalent leave, selected by the employee, is provided.
An employee who is above compulsory school age is entitled to receive the minimum wage.
From 1 April 2014 the minimum wage is £6.63 per hour.
A trainee rate may be paid to an employee of any age who is undertaking approved training for a maximum period of two years, at any time within the first two years of a new job.
The maximum two year training period starts running from the first day of employment in the particular job. Training does not have to start on day-one of the new job, but the trainee rate may only be paid whilst an employee is undertaking approved training.
Training is 'approved training' if it is formal training that:
is agreed in writing by both parties before employment starts; has a defined structure and objectives that relate to the performance of the employee in their particular job; and has training outcomes which are assessed and documented. The current trainee rate is: Year One - £4.97 per hour (from 1 April 2014); and Year Two - £5.80 per hour (from 1 April 2014).
The current maximum values that may be offset each week against the minimum wage where accommodation, or accommodation and food, are provided to an employee, are:
£72.54 for accommodation (from 1 April 2014); or £96.72 for accommodation and food (from 1 April 2014).
Qualifying employees have the right not to be unfairly dismissed. Employees generally will have unfair dismissal rights after 26 weeks (for permanent employment).
Any employee may claim that a dismissal was automatically unfair at any stage of employment if it is for one of the 'automatically unfair reasons' specified in the
Employment Law (for example, where the dismissal is on grounds related to union membership or activities).
If an employee is employed under a fixed term contract then he will be entitled to bring a claim for unfair dismissal after he has worked for two-thirds of the term of that contract or thirteen weeks (whichever is the longer). Accordingly, fixed term employees can acquire unfair dismissal rights before their permanent colleagues.
Once it has been established that a dismissal has taken place, it must then be determined whether the dismissal was fair or unfair and it is for the employer to show that the reason for the dismissal falls under one of the five "fair reasons" specified in the Employment Law. The five potentially fair reasons are as follows:-
a reason relating to the capability or qualifications of the employee for performing the work of the kind he was employed to do; a reason which relates to the conduct of the employee; by reason of redundancy; by reason of the fact that the employee could not continue to work in the position which he held without contravention of a restriction or a duty imposed by statute; or some other substantial reason justifying dismissal.
Whether a particular dismissal based on one of the five reasons set out above will be fair or unfair will depend on whether in the circumstances of the case (including the size and administrative resources of the employer's undertaking) the employer acted reasonably or unreasonably in treating the reason as a sufficient reason for dismissing the employee.
If a claim does go before the Tribunal and a finding is made in favour of an employee then the employee will be awarded compensation. In Jersey calculating the compensation payable is simpler than in England since an award will be made based on the length of service as follows:
Amount of wages to be awarded
Not more than 26 weeks
An amount not exceeding 4 weeks' pay, in the discretion of the Tribunal, having regard to the actual length of service
More than 26 weeks but not more than 1 year
4 weeks' pay
More than 1 year but not more than 2 years
8 weeks' pay
More than 2 years but not more than 3 years
12 weeks' pay
More than 3 years but not more than 4 years
16 weeks' pay
More than 4 years but not more than 5 years
21 weeks' pay
More than 5 years
26 weeks' pay
The Tribunal has the power to direct that an employee who has been dismissed should be re-employed by his or her previous employer, as well as allowing the Tribunal to reduce the amount of compensation awarded to an employee in certain circumstances
(e.g. where an employee's conduct directly contributed to the dismissal).
In broad terms an employee is eligible to receive a statutory redundancy pay under Jersey law if he/she is dismissed by his employer by reason of redundancy and he/she
has at least 2 years' continuous service with the employer. In certain circumstances employees who have been employed under a series of fixed term contracts can also accrue the requisite 2 years' service.
Statutory redundancy pay is calculated on the basis of 1 weeks' pay for every full year of service. There is no upper limit on the number of years' service which qualify. Pay is capped at the level of weekly average earnings, currently £660.
Where an employee is entitled to receive a larger redundancy payment as a result of a contractual entitlement then this will override the statutory entitlement.
Specific collective consultation provisions apply where an employer makes 12 or more employees redundancy from one establishment within a 30 day period. A minimum of 30 days' collective consultation is required.
If collective consultation requirements are not triggered then an employer will still have to engage in an individual consultation process to avoid an unfair dismissal claim.
An employee who is given notice of dismissal by reason of redundancy (and who has been continuously employed for 2 years or more) is entitled to take paid time off
during his notice period equivalent to 40% of one of his normal working weeks (i.e. a total of 2 working days for those working a standard 5 day week), for the purposes of looking for work.
OTHER EMPLOYMENT ISSUES
Maternity and paternity leave and pay
The current situation is that an employer is not obliged to pay an employee maternity pay under Jersey law. There are no statutory maternity leave requirements either. However, an individual can claim Maternity Allowance from the States of Jersey Employment and Social Security Department for a total of up to 18 weeks, currently at the rate of £191.38 per week (assuming she has paid her social security
contributions). An individual becomes eligible for Maternity Allowance 6 weeks prior to her due date or once she stops working (whichever is later). She will then receive Maternity Allowance for the week of the birth and can continue to claim up to a maximum of 11 weeks after the week of the birth (assuming she has not returned to work). An individual will also be eligible for a Maternity Grant of £574.14.
Often employers pay additional sums to their employees under the terms of the contract of employment and provide maternity leave. The introduction of statutory maternity leave is a matter which is currently under discussion between the States of Jersey and local lobby groups.
There is no statutory right to paternity leave or pay, although some employers do offer paternity leave and pay but practice varies widely.
There is no requirement under Jersey law for employers to pay any sick pay to their employees. However, employers in the financial services industry in the Island
generally do pay contractual sick pay.
An employee in Jersey is currently entitled to claim from the States of Jersey Employment and Social Security Department £191.38 per week by way of sickness benefit provided such employee is covered by a medical certificate. This sum is payable for the duration of the medical certificate and a claim should be made by the employee.
Income tax and social security
Jersey has a similar system to collect income tax as the PAYE system in the UK. This is known as the Income Tax Instalment System (ITIS). The authorities issue each employee with an 'effective rate' notification which is the rate at which their
income will be taxed, taking into account any benefits or allowances to which they are entitled. Officially the rate of income tax is 20%, but most employees' effective rate under ITIS is usually less than this due to tax allowances which they are able to claim (unless they are in arrears).
Social security contributions
Social Security contributions are paid by both the employer and employee in a similar way to National Insurance contributions in the UK.
Employee social security contributions
Any income up to £3,918 per calendar month (£47,016 per year) will attract social security contributions at the rate of 6%.
Any income above £3,918 per calendar month will not attract employee social security contributions.
Employer social security contributions
Standard Earnings Limit – any income up to £3,918 per calendar month (£47,016 per year) will attract social security contributions at the rate of 6.5%
Upper Earnings Limit – any income above the Standard Earnings Limit but below the Upper Earnings Limit ( i.e. between £3,919 and £12,964 per calendar month, or £47,017 to £155,568 per year) will attract social security contributions at the rate of 2%
Any income above the Upper Earnings Limit will not attract employer social security contributions.
Data protection and monitoring
The Data Protection ( Jersey) Law 2005 imposes a similar framework to the UK legislation in this area.
An employer should notify an employee of the types of data and the purposes for which it will process data.
The Regulation of Investigatory Powers ( Jersey) Law 2005 (similar in scope and content to its UK equivalent) imposes restrictions on employee monitoring and the interception of communications.
The Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013 will come into force on 1 September 2014. Initially the legislation will only outlaw discrimination on the grounds of race.
Further regulations are expected to deal with sex/gender discrimination, disability discrimination and age discrimination.
The following employees do not require a work permit to work in Jersey:
a British citizen or a British subject with the right of abode; a national of a member state of the European Union (EU) / European Economic Area (EEA) (except a Croatian national); a non-EEA family member of an EEA national may also work without a permit but must obtain an EEA family permit before entering Jersey; a Swiss national; a Commonwealth citizen admitted as a working holiday maker; a Commonwealth citizen admitted on the grounds of UK ancestry; a Commonwealth citizen with a certificate of entitlement to the right of abode; a minister of religion; a business visitor; or a non EU / EEA passport holder who has no restrictions attached to his/her stay. Employees from other countries may require a work permit.
To obtain a work permit for an employee, employers will need to be able to show that there are no suitable local candidates available.
THE CONTROL OF HOUSING & WORK (JERSEY) LAW 2012
All Jersey employers need to understand the provisions of the Control of Housing and Work ( Jersey) Law 2012, which governs:
the residential and employment status of employees; and business licencing.
Residential and Employment Status of Jersey Residents
Jersey residents fall into one of four residential and employment categories:
Entitled – those with 10 or more years’ residence (similar to the previous (a) to (h) categories). Licenced – essential employees with less than 10 years’ residence requiring immediate housing rights (taking over from the previous (j) category, i.e. skilled workers). Entitled for Work Only – those with between 5 and 10 years’ residence. Registered – those with less than 5 years’ residence.
Jersey property falls into one of two categories:
Qualified - in which only those who are Entitled or Licenced may live. Registered – in which anyone may reside.
Obtaining a Business Licence
Anyone commencing a business in Jersey must apply to the Population Office for a
Most employers will be resident undertakings, and will thus receive (or already have) a business licence specifying:
their permitted licenced activity; the maximum number of Licenced employees they are permitted to engage; and the maximum number of Registered employees they are permitted to engage.
There is no upper limit to the number of Entitled and Entitled for Work Only
employees which an employer may take on.
Licences for non-resident undertakings are likely to come up most often for Jersey employers in the context of non-Jersey contractors who send personnel to Jersey for the purposes of specific projects. Such contractors will require a licence if they are in Jersey for more than 30 days in any period of 12 months (5 days in the construction industry) – and there is a fee payable.
Exceptions to Maximum Licence Numbers
An employer must keep a record of staff numbers and ensure that it does not breach the terms of its licence. The following can be excluded from the calculation of the number of Licenced and Registered workers engaged by an employer:
Replacements - A person working as a replacement for another member of staff who is leaving (but continuing to work at present) - simultaneous working is permitted for up to 30 days; Providing cover - A person working as cover for another person who is on leave up to:
9 months in relation to maternity and sickness, or 3 months in all other cases of leave;
De minimis - Any person working for an undertaking for less than 10 days in any 12 month period;
Directors & Officers - Directors of a Company, or Partners in a Partnership, or a Member of the Council of a Foundation, or equivalent persons, who are in the Island for 60 days or less in any 12 month period;
International Financial Services Groups having an office in Jersey where the employee works mainly outside Jersey may second employees to Jersey for up to 60 days in any 12 month period;
Zero-hours - zero hours contract staff do not contribute to an employer's maximum numbers if they do not do any work for the undertaking (e.g. they count only when they work); and Agency Workers will be reflected on the agency's own business licence (rather than that of the end user).
Any person wishing to start new employment must have a registration card. Conditions specifying the maximum number of Licenced and Registered persons allowed to work for an undertaking will be imposed when granting business licences (see above).
Employers need to ensure that they inspect an employee's registration card before they start work and:
ask for photo identification (in addition to the registration card); ensure that the photo identification matches the registration card; take (and retain) a photocopy of the registration card and photo identification; and check the registration card is in date.
No additional application is necessary to engage Entitled or Entitled to Work individuals. If an undertaking is permitted to take on Licenced staff, a description of the work that may be done by those persons will be specified, and other conditions may be attached relating to accommodation or naming individuals who may work for an undertaking.
There are various individuals who will not require a registration card, including:
existing employees; a person who is in Jersey for an aggregate period of 60 days or less in any period of 12 months for the purposes of that person's work as:
a director of a company a partner in a partnership a member of the council of a foundation a trustee of an express trust (or the equivalent of any of the above);
a person who is in Jersey for an aggregate period of 60 days or less for the purposes of a secondment within an international financial services group; a person who is a hawker or non-resident trader for the purpose of the activities of hawking or being a non-resident trader; a person who works in or for one or more undertakings in Jersey, the period of work for each undertaking being an aggregate period of 10 days or less in any period of 12 months; and a person who works in or for a non-resident undertaking.
EMPLOYING PEOPLE - SUMMARY OF INITIAL REQUIREMENTS
Employers must do the following for every employee:
Ensure that they understand the residential and employment status of the individual which they wish to employ. Ensure that their business licence permits the engagement of the employee in question. Provide a written statement of terms for each employee, setting out the terms and conditions of employment. This must be done within 4 weeks of the employee's start date.
Pay each member of staff at or above the minimum wage (currently £6.53 per hour but subject to certain exceptions and to increase to £6.63 on 1 April 2014). Obtain Employer’s Liability Insurance and display the certificate. Obtain a registration card and photographic identification for every new employee. Make the correct deductions from the employee’s wages. Keep a record of the wages paid and deductions made for 10 years. Account to the income tax and social security departments for ITIS and Social Security contributions in respect of each employee. Provide each employee with an itemised payslip each time that wages are paid.
The Employment Relations ( Jersey) Law 2007 came into force on 21st January 2008. It provides for:
a registration system for trade unions and employer associations; a legal dispute resolution process for collective disputes; and Codes of Practice for good industrial relations. The published Codes are as follows:
Code 1 - Recognition of Trade Unions; Code 2 - Balloting and Conduct in Employment Disputes; and Code 3 - Resolving Collective Disputes.