The States of Guernsey have approved the introduction of new family friendly rights, including time off for antenatal care, maternity / adoption leave, support leave for partners and keeping in touch days.

Although the new rights will be in force from 1 April 2016, they will only apply to mothers whose due date, or adoption placement date, is on or after 7 August 2016. A summary of all the new rights is set out in our infographic.

For those employers who operate across both Guernsey and Jersey, this will mean they are having to review their maternity policies again, following the introduction of similar rights in Jersey last year.

Whilst the rights offered in both jurisdictions are broadly similar, there are differences such as the fact that Guernsey has been more generous with providing for a maximum period of leave of 26 weeks rather than just the 16 weeks in Jersey. Probably the biggest anomaly in the two sets of legislation at present is around paternity leave, or 'support leave'. Whilst both offer two weeks leave which may be taken by the father or partner of the mother, where Guernsey differs is that the mother has the right to nominate someone else to take the leave in place of the father.

Whilst there are solid social policy reasons for giving this greater flexibility, it does create questions for employers such as whether they should offer a similar right in Jersey even though there is no right to do so.

In addition it should also be remembered that consideration is still being given as to how to introduce shared parental leave within Guernsey, with the States set to report back with its proposals by 31 December 2016. Whilst there is no date yet set when this right would be introduced, it will not be too far away and will no doubt create further challenges for employers.

Please refer to our infographic which details all the new rights on one page.

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