Proposed annual leave increase and daily rest breaks for employees in Jersey

From January next year, additional employment rights are expected to be introduced for employees in Jersey. The proposals would require employers to provide the following:

  • At least three weeks of paid annual leave
  • A 15-minute rest break in any work period of six hours or more

Jersey's Employment Forum presented a report to the Social Security Minister following public consultation in late 2019 and early 2020 which made a number of recommendations, as follows:

  1. Annual leave – The Forum consulted on an increase to the statutory minimum period of annual leave and has recommended that, no later than January 2022, the minimum period of annual leave should increase from two weeks to three weeks' paid leave in each leave year. The Forum's consultation indicated that many organisations in Jersey already offer their staff more holiday than the statutory minimum.
  2. Public and bank holidays – The Forum consulted on whether the current requirement for paid leave to be provided on public and bank holidays should be replaced with a greater number of weeks of statutory annual leave. The Forum has recommended that there should be no change to the Employment (Jersey) Law 2003 (the Employment Law) in this respect. Paid time off on public and bank holidays (or paid time off in lieu) should continue to be provided for separately in the law, in addition to the three-week period of statutory annual leave.
  3. Rest breaks – The Forum consulted on whether employees in Jersey should be entitled to take a rest break during the working day and has recommended that, no later than January 2022, employees who work for six or more hours each day should be entitled to a 15-minute break. The Forum suggested that arrangements as to whether rest breaks are paid or unpaid should be set out in the terms of individual employment contracts rather than in the Employment Law.

If the Social Security Minister approves the Forum's recommendations, legislation is likely to be presented to the States for debate later this year.

The Forum noted that employment practices in a small jurisdiction like Jersey sometimes require a more flexible approach between employers and employees, for their mutual benefit. Businesses may wish to consider reviewing their employment contracts, policies and staff handbooks in relation to annual leave and rest breaks in preparation for the anticipated changes to the law.

You can view the Emplyment Forum's report here

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