Parental leave deferral ‘is a rumour’ – but still possible, says minister

SPECULATION that the introduction of legislation entitling new parents to 52 weeks of leave is going to be deferred are only rumours at present, the Social Security Minister has said – although she refused to rule out further delays.

Deputy Judy Martin. (28267645)
Deputy Judy Martin. (28267645)

Deputy Judy Martin said that although the ongoing Covid-19 crisis had impacted on the work of the department, a decision on whether the new legislation would come into force in July as planned would be made in the coming days.

Under the proposed legislation, new parents would be entitled to up to a year off work, with six weeks’ leave being paid by their employer. The new rights would also apply to adoptive and surrogate parents.

The new law would also mean that employers would have to take ‘reasonable steps’ to provide breastfeeding facilities in the workplace.

During a Scrutiny panel hearing Deputy Martin said: ‘As soon as I know which way it is going to go, then I will come to you.

‘I have got people sending me emails, saying that they have heard a rumour the legislation is going to go one way or the other and when I ask “Where from?” they do not come back to me.

‘We only literally had a discussion about it on Friday and we have been getting emails probably about two weeks previous to that. So I cannot say more than that. I wish I could give you the answer today.’

Deputy Martin added that she was not trying to be evasive and that an answer on whether the legislation was going ahead as planned should be available either before the end of this week or by Monday.

Later Deputy Kevin Pamplin asked what reasons existed for potentially delaying the introduction of the legislation.

In response, Deputy Martin said she was still in discussions over the matter but she would explain any potential reasons during the beginning of next week and possibly make a statement within the States Assembly to announce them publicly.

‘I am not saying anything yet. I had lots of emails weeks ago, and there have been lots of rumours saying that they have heard from somewhere this, that and the other. Nothing could have happened because it was not being discussed weeks ago,’ she said.

‘I cannot say any more than that but as soon as I know you will be the first to know before anyone else in the States Assembly.’

The proposed legislation has already suffered delays.

The legislation was initially due to come into force last September but, in June last year, a legislative issue surrounding compulsory maternity leave arose and plans were pushed back.

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