The proposed terms of Jersey's new maternity provisions are
causing quite a stir across the water. Jersey, like Guernsey,
currently has no requirement for employers to offer paid maternity
Employers in both islands either deal with maternity provisions
on a case by case basis, or have their own policy. Such policies
might be in line with that offered by parent or group companies in
other countries. Many employers however offer nothing at all.
[The proposals in Jersey are for women who have worked for an
employer for 15 months to be entitled to 18 weeks off work when
they have a baby. Just two of those weeks would be paid.]
[Those who have worked for an employer for less than 15 months
would be entitled to two weeks paid leave, and 6 weeks unpaid.]
The UK position, by comparison, is 26 weeks paid leave, and 26
The first side of the argument on maternity legislation will be
those who seek to protect employers against the costs associated
with having to pay staff who are not at work, and keeping vacancies
open for staff on maternity leave. Such arguments will often come
from employers associations.
Pulling the other way is the broader social argument that women
have a right to have children, and the law should go some way
towards protecting that right by ensuring they can afford to take
the necessary time off to have children, and can return to their
jobs after childbirth without having suffered a detriment.
The first question of whether there should be any legislation at
all has been answered by the states of Jersey in the affirmative,
but it would seem that the impact of that decision has been
mitigated by significantly reducing the entitlement from that
provided in the UK.
The question now under discussion in Jersey is whether this
represents a happy medium, a step in the right direction, or the
setting of a dangerous low precedent.
The step in the right direction argument seems appealing, but in
practice matters of employment law tend to be subject to a more
complex set of influences than would support this argument.
It is not as simple as those who are currently on less
favourable maternity conditions gain benefits, while those who are
on more favourable conditions will be unaffected. This argument
suggests that the law does no more than provide a longstop
Employers think commercially. Maternity leave and associated
provisions are an expense. Will taking the moral high ground
outweigh the expense?
The true benefit of making generous maternity provisions that
encourage women to have children are broad and social, and cannot
be expected to weigh heavily on the minds of employers.
There is a risk that over time there will be a draw towards the
legal minimum. Thinking commercially, there is a strong possibility
that we will over time see more employers adopting the legal
minimum, and those who otherwise would have been on more favourable
terms and conditions will suffer.
If the legal standards proposed aren't strong enough to have
the desired social effect, then introducing them at all could be
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On 1 January 2017 the Financial Services Rule Book 2016 comes into operation. With this will be the requirement on all Isle of Man licence holders to establish, implement and maintain an effective whistleblowing policy.
The Ministry of Human Resources has recently issued a string of new ministerial resolutions and decrees designed to address gaps in the employment regulatory framework and reinforce existing legislation...
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