Our employment team has urged local employers to have a clear plan in place to manage the new statutory parental leave legislation which will take effect in eight weeks' time.

The first of the series of employment seminars outlined the details of the introduction of statutory maternity leave, maternity support leave and adoption leave that will apply in Guernsey, Herm and Jethou from the 1 April 2016 and which will  affect employees due to give birth or adopt a child after 7 August.

Addressing an audience of employers and human resources practitioners, partner, Elaine Gray, and senior associate, Rachel Richardson, examined the new legislation and the implications for local employers starting with the introduction of a basic requirement of 12 weeks' leave, up to a maximum of 26 weeks for those who have been in continuous employment for 15 months or more.  

Ms Gray and Ms Richardson considered the key themes of the new legislation, highlighting important dates which both the employer and employee need to be aware of in order to comply with the new law, as well as the new provisions for support leave for partners or those in a carer role.

The seminar also addressed the implications on expecting mothers of redundancy during maternity leave, rights surrounding ante-natal care and medical appointments, contractual issues and entitlements on their return to work.

Advocate Gray said: "This is a big step forward for Guernsey but the new regime will have far-reaching implications for all local employers who only have a small window to ensure that they are compliant.   

"There are still grey areas within the law that need to be addressed and the bigger issue surrounding what parental benefits should be received during the time of leave is yet to be dealt with. Our focus, for now, is to ensure that employers urgently review their policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the new regime.

"What is crucial for both employer and employee is to keep on top of the key dates and understand their new obligations of what is required of them when returning to work."

The seminar was the first of five that will take place throughout the year on employment issues facing the island. The remaining seminars will be:

  • Disabling discrimination: an update on Guernsey's proposals – taking place on Tuesday 22 March
  • Data protection in the digital workplace – taking place on Tuesday 7 June
  • The changing face of employment contracts – taking place on Wednesday 28 September
  • Happy Faces: ensuring employee well-being – taking place on Wednesday 23 November

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.