Twenty weeks’ paid parental leave for public-sector staff

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TWENTY weeks of paid leave has been introduced for all new mothers and fathers working in the public sector in a move that the government says will ‘attract new talent’ and help ‘put children first’.

The government brought in new ‘family-friendly’ rights in 2020, under which both parents became entitled to a year off work following the birth of a child, six weeks of which would be paid by their employers.

The new law also introduced workplace rights to breastfeed and required employers to take reasonable steps to provide breastfeeding facilities.

Reflecting the changes in the law, the Government of Jersey has recently updated its own terms and conditions for employees so that both parents now receive 20 weeks’ paid leave.

A government spokeswoman said that the move would help to attract and retain staff, alleviate concerns over the cost of parenthood for its workers and help to achieve its stated aim of ‘putting children first’. She said: ‘The Government of Jersey is committed to reviewing and enhancing family-friendly employment measures, and has extended parental benefits to reflect recent changes in legislation.

‘Extended leave has been introduced to enable employees to take time off on parental leave without worrying about finances. Twenty weeks’ paid leave is now available to all parents.

‘This will help the government to become a competitive employer and attract new talent as the current workforce reaches retirement age. It also supports our commitment to putting children first.’

Social Security Minister Judy Martin, who oversaw the introduction of the family-friendly legislation when it was approved by the States in October 2019, said that a review of the impact of the new laws would start this year.

‘I am proud, during my time as Social Security Minister, to have introduced a number of family-friendly changes to both the employment and Social Security laws, which include six weeks of paid leave for all parents in Jersey,’ she said. ‘Enhancing and modernising the rights of parents is something I have always championed.’

She added: ‘I supported a review of these rights when one was proposed by Deputy [Louise] Doublet. When the Deputy’s proposition was approved, the Assembly agreed there should be a review two years after the changes were made.

‘This review is due to be conducted by the Social Security Minister later this year and will encompass all the changes, including the new parental-leave rights, and look at their impact on both families and employers.’

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