Parental Leave

6.1.0.L5 Updated on:

Maternity Leave

An employee is entitled to take up to 52 weeks leave, the first six of which must be paid by the employer.

The unpaid leave can be taken in up to three blocks of no less than two weeks each during the first two years from the birth of the child.  Any Maternity Benefit or Short Term Incapacity Allowance is deducted from this.  There is no qualifying period so this is effective from day one of employment.

Any pregnant employee is entitled to take paid time off work to attend ante-natal appointments.  After the first appointment, the employee must show the employer a certificate from a medical professional stating they are pregnant and confirmation of the appointment.  The right to attend is extended to their spouse, partner or father of the child for up to ten appointments.

An employer must not require an employee to work during the six weeks immediately after giving birth (compulsory leave).   The employee can agree to work “keeping in touch” days, but cannot be required to work.

The employer must confirm the employee’s date to return to work.  Should the employee wish to return to work either before or after the confirmed date, they must give their employer four weeks’ notice.

The employee is entitled to return to the same job they left on terms and conditions that are no less favourable than if they had not been absent.

Adoption Leave

An employee is entitled to take up to 52 weeks’ leave, the first six of which must be paid by the employer.  The unpaid leave can be taken in up to three blocks of no less than three weeks each during the first two years from the birth of the child.  There is no qualifying period so this is effective from day one of employment.

An employee has the right to adoption leave if they are the child’s adopter, have an official notification of a placement date and have informed their employer correctly.

The start date must be no more than 14 days before the placement/arrival date and no later than the placement/arrival date.

Parental Leave

An employee is entitled to take up to 52 weeks leave, the first six of which must be paid by the employer.  The unpaid leave can be taken in up to three blocks of no less than three weeks each during the first two years from the birth of the child.  There is no qualifying period so this is effective from day one of employment.

An employee has the right to take parental leave if:

  • They expect to have responsibility for raising the child (even if the child is stillborn or dies), and
  • They are the father of the child, or
  • They are the spouse or partner of the mother/adopter, and
  • They have notified the employer correctly.

Adoption and Parental Leave may be taken as 52 weeks consecutively or in up to three blocks, not less than three weeks each.  Employers may allow more blocks and/or less days per block at their discretion.  The leave may start on the day the child is born/adopted or a predetermined date.

Notification to employers must:

  • State the expected week of birth/placement/date of arrival if the child is being adopted from overseas, and
  • The length of leave they have chosen to take, and
  • The date the leave will begin, and
  • Be given by the end of the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth, or
  • No more than seven days or as soon as practically possible after notification of adoption.

The employee may change the start date if the placement/arrival date changes.  They must inform their employer no less than 28 days before the original start date or as soon as practically possible.

Employees may wish to change their working pattern following parental leave and can do so by applying for Flexible Working.

Employees may need to take time off to look after a sick child.  There is no automatic entitlement to this in employment law.  Employees should check their employment contract and staff handbook.  If this is not mentioned, it can be negotiated with the employer.  Parties may agree for this to be taken as holiday, unpaid leave or other arrangements that parties find acceptable.

Further advice is available from the Jersey Advisory and Conciliation Services, JACS.

FAQ

Is parental leave counted as continuous service?

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Parental leave is counted as continuous service and holiday pay continues to accrue during the leave period.

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What happens if an employee decides not to return to work after parental leave?

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The six weeks paid parental leave is a statutory entitlement, so the employee keeps this.  Any paid parental leave received on top of this is a contractual entitlement.  The employee should check their employment contract or staff handbook to ascertain whether any of this needs to be paid back to the employer.

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