Carey Olsen Starting Point Guides are intended as a general introduction and guide to different aspects of Jersey law. They are a summary of the most important issues that we come across. It is very much the edited highlights of those issues. If you would like legal advice in relation to any specific circumstances, please do give us a call.
This Starting Point Guide provides a brief overview of Jersey employment law.
Introduction to Jersey
Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands and is a British Crown dependency. It has its own financial legal and judicial systems. It is not part of the UK or of the European Union (although it has close relationships with both).
Sources of Jersey Employment Law
The duties of Jersey employers and employees derive from a number of sources which include:
- Jersey customary/common law; and
- employment contracts and other documentation.
There is less employment legislation in Jersey than in the UK, although the amount of legislation in this area is increasing.
There is a Jersey Employment Tribunal (the "Tribunal") which hears employment related claims. The Tribunal has a limited jurisdiction in relation to contractual claims and generally will only deal with contractual claims of up to £10,000. Larger claims are dealt with by the Royal Court of Jersey. The Jersey law of contract is somewhat different from the English law.
However, when it comes to employment contracts, the Jersey courts and tribunals have generally (although not exclusively) had regard to English law and principles - particularly when it comes to implied contractual duties.
In general, employment law in Jersey is heavily influenced by English case law and so it is often the case that English cases relating to employment law will be cited before the Tribunal or Courts in Jersey. Whilst English law heavily influences the development of employment law in Jersey, a company should be careful to ensure that it obtains Jersey employment law advice in relation to any employees working wholly or mainly in Jersey. This is because there are some important differences between the two jurisdictions.
The Employment (Jersey) Law 2003 (The "Employment Law") and the Discrimination (Jersey) Law 2013 (The "Discrimination Law")
The Employment Law and the Discrimination Law are the key statutes governing Jersey employment issues. The following is a summary of their key provisions.
Who is an employee?
The Employment Law applies to both those employed under a contract of employment and to certain individuals who are under an obligation to perform their work personally (and, in particular, to those who would be regarded as "workers" under English law).
The Employment Law lays down the following periods of notice to be given by an employer:
|Length of continuous employment||Minimum period of notice|
|Less than 2 years||1 weeks' notice|
|2 years +||2 weeks' notice|
|3 years +||3 weeks' notice|
|4 years +||4 weeks' notice|
|5 years +||5 weeks' notice|
|6 years +||6 weeks' notice|
|7 years +||7 weeks' notice|
|8 years +||8 weeks' notice|
|9 years +||9 weeks' notice|
|10 years +||10 weeks' notice|
|11 years +||11 weeks' notice|
|12 years +||12 weeks' notice|
An employee must give a minimum of:
- 1 weeks' notice if his or her period of continuous service is one week or more but less than 26 weeks;
- 2 weeks' notice if his or her period of continuous employment is more than 26 weeks but less than 5 years; or
- 4 weeks' notice if his or her period of continuous employment is 5 years or more.
The above does not prevent an employment agreement from providing for a longer period of notice (but not a shorter period) - and nor does it prevent an employment contract being entered into for a fixed term.
Written terms and conditions of employment
Employers are under a duty to provide employees with a written statement of the terms of their employment within 4 weeks of the commencement of their employment.
The key terms which must be provided include (amongst others):
- Names of the employer and the employee
- Date the employment started.
- Date when employee's period of continuous employment began, taking into account any employment with a previous employer which counts, such as in a business transfer.
- Terms relating to rates of pay.
- Terms and conditions that relate to hours of work.
- Terms and conditions relating to:
- Sickness/sick pay
- Maternity leave
- Disciplinary and grievance procedures.
If an employee is transferring from the UK to work for the Jersey branch of the same company then it is likely that his or her continuous employment will begin from the date he began working for the company in the UK. The length of continuous employment is relevant when calculating whether an employee has sufficient length of service to be eligible to bring a claim for unfair dismissal.
If there is a change in the terms the employer must inform the employee of the change in a further written statement not more than 4 weeks after the change.
The tribunal can award up to 4 weeks' pay as compensation for failure to provide a written statement of terms or any update to existing terms.
Minimum rest periods and annual leave
The UK Working Time Regulations 1998 (as amended) do not apply in Jersey. However, under the Employment Law, an employee is entitled to an uninterrupted rest period of not less than 24 hours in each seven day period and a 20 minute rest break when working continuously for 6 hours or more. The employer and employee may agree how this should work.
The Tribunal will be able to award up to 4 weeks' pay where an employer fails to comply with statutory rest period requirements.
Under the Employment Law an employee is entitled to a minimum period of 3 weeks' paid annual leave, although his or her contract of employment may provide for a longer period of annual leave.
Employees are also entitled to have as paid leave Christmas Day, Good Friday and all other public or bank holidays observed in Jersey provided that they are normally required to work on the days upon which those public and bank holidays fall.
The Law does allow an employee to work on these days provided equivalent leave, selected by the employee, is provided.
An employee who is above compulsory school age is entitled to receive the minimum wage.
The minimum wage is currently £9.22 per hour (with effect from 1 January 2022). This will rise on 1 November 2022 to £10.50. The intention is to move to a Jersey Living Wage in 2024.
A trainee rate may be paid to an employee of any age who is undertaking approved training for a maximum period of two years, at any time within the first two years of a new job.
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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.