Jersey's States Assembly has unanimously approved a proposition to introduce a statutory minimum period of parental bereavement leave.
Following the recent introduction of legislation in the UK (known as 'Jack's Law'), it has been agreed that the Social Security Minister will bring forward proposals by the end of March 2022 so that employed parents in Jersey have a 'day-one' right to take two weeks of leave following the death of a child under the age of 18.
Key features of the proposal
- Parents would receive their full salary, paid by the Government of Jersey in the form of a benefit. There would be no cost to the employer.
- Leave would be available to biological parents, parents by marriage or civil partnership, adoptive parents and foster parents.
- Leave could be taken as a single two-week block, or two separate one-week blocks, within a period of 56 weeks from the bereavement.
- It has been agreed that a proposal - not necessarily legislation - will be presented to the States Assembly by March 2022.
The intention is clear - to ensure that grieving parents do not have to request or negotiate time off work following the tragic death of a child.
It is not clear whether the Social Security Minister will direct the Employment Forum to consult. It is possible that the Minister will consider some of the issues raised during the States debate, including:
- whether two weeks' pay provided by the Government would be capped
- bereavement leave for other close relatives (as recently introduced in New Zealand)
- bereavement leave for parents who experience pregnancy loss before 24 weeks of pregnancy.
The Minister indicated that she will focus on finding a workable solution for Jersey in the short time available. We will keep you updated on developments.
If you have any questions or concerns about the proposals, or parental employment rights generally, please contact the Ogier Employment Team who will be happy to assist you.
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.