The Minister for Social Security of the States of Jersey has accepted the recommendation of the Employment Forum in the report it produced and presented on 14 June 2013, following a consultation period earlier in the year, and so the status quo will remain.

The link to the recommendation, which is preceded by an Introductory Report by the Minister is attached for you to read at your leisure, and it makes some interesting points.

The recommendation appears at Section 4.

If employers do not think that the Forum's report adequately reflects their views, opinions and/or concerns on the issue, then they have no one but themselves to blame for not expressing these during the consultation period.

One point that I noticed when reading the recommendation is that only 10 responses were received from employers, and 3 responses from employer associations. This seems a very low level of response to what is an issue which affects organisations and businesses of all sizes in the island.

Whilst the duration of the period of consultation may have been considered to be fairly short (it ran from 4 February 2013 until 15 March 2013), when the Employment Forum seeks feedback on a topic that has been put out for consultation by the Minister, it is very important that employers take the time to respond, even if only briefly, to the Forum. Alternatively, they should inform the Jersey Chamber of Commerce of their views in order that they can collate the views of its members and feed these to the Forum.

For those organisations with a presence in other of the Channel Isles as well as Jersey (this firm being one), you will know that the qualifying period to bring a claim for unfair dismissal in Guernsey is one year. As the working population is similar in many ways, perhaps it would have made sense, as well as assisting those who undertake the business planning and human resource functions across the islands, if the qualifying period for unfair dismissal was the same.

Currently, the following scenario continues to be the case – two employees can start working for a pan-island employer on the same day, both undertaking exactly the same role, one being based in St Helier and the other in St Peter Port, but if things do not work out for whatever reason, the employee in Jersey can bring a claim for unfair dismissal after being employed for 26 weeks, whilst the employee in Guernsey has to be employed for over a year before he can submit a claim for the same.

What is the position regarding the "two-thirds rule", which applies to those who are employed in Jersey under fixed term contracts of 26 weeks or less?

The Forum's recommendation also confirms that the Law regarding these will remain unchanged, namely, fixed-term contract employees who are employed under contracts for 26 weeks or less (eg. seasonal workers) are protected against unfair dismissal once they have completed at least two-thirds of their fixed-term contract by the effective date of termination, subject to the employee having a minimum of 13 weeks' continuous service.

Please click here to read the full report of the Jersey Employment Forum regarding the Unfair Dismissal qualifying period (Recommendation and Minister's response).

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