Extra week’s paid leave is proposed

JERSEY employees could soon be legally entitled to an extra week of statutory paid holiday, if a States proposition is passed later this year.

Social Security Minister Judy Martin has lodged an amendment to the Island’s employment law
Social Security Minister Judy Martin has lodged an amendment to the Island’s employment law

Social Security Minister Judy Martin has lodged an amendment to the Island’s employment law, which would see statutory annual leave rise from two to three weeks, in addition to bank holidays.

The changes, which would come into force in January next year if approved, would also give Islanders the right to a daily break of at least 15 minutes when working for six hours.

In the UK, workers are legally entitled to 28 days paid holiday a year, with employers able to include bank holidays as part of this.

Deputy Martin made a commitment in the 2020 Government Plan to update the Island’s employment law regarding rest breaks and annual leave, according to the proposition, with the Employment Forum launching a public consultation between December 2019 and February 2020.

The report stated that Covid-19 disrupted this project and delayed the presentation of the report until March this year, with the minister accepting its recommendations.

The forum recommended that public and bank holiday provision should be maintained separately, giving a total entitlement of three weeks and nine days. They did not recommend a staged approach to increasing paid-leave entitlement.

More than 70% of employees in Jersey were already contractually entitled to more than the minimum of two weeks, according to responses from employers to the public consultation, while this figure was more than 85% for employees responding.

A good work/life balance and being able to spend more time with family was an important component of Islanders’ lives, the consultation noted, which the forum highlighted as important to the government’s aim for ‘family friendly’ policies.

‘Also highlighted in the survey are factors such as increased productivity from a rested and motivated workforce, a reduction in sickness absence and an increased sense of health and wellbeing,’ Deputy Martin said in her proposition.

Jersey’s employment law currently has no provision for rest breaks taken during the working day, but does have provisions for rest days in each seven or 14-day working period.

Nearly 80% of employee responses to the consultation indicated that working-day rest breaks were either allowed or required, which rose to over 95% for employer responses.

Deputy Martin’s proposition is set to be debated on 2 November at the earliest.

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