Parental Allowance – Jersey
Jersey saw the introduction of its Family Friendly policy earlier this year providing parental leave rights for all parents, which encouraged all parents to take time off during their child’s early years. This provided both parents, regardless of length of service, with an entitlement of up to 52 weeks leave each, to be taken over 2 years, 6 weeks of which is paid by the employer at full pay.
The States Of Jersey have recently updated Parental Leave entitlements, which now provides for a shared parental allowance in addition to the current provisions in place for parental leave. This joins the two processes together with parental leave being the obligation of the employer and parental allowance being the obligation of the States.
What is changing?
- Maternity allowance, which was previously only available to the birth parent and up to 18 weeks, will be replaced with an increased allowance of 32 weeks. This will be referred to going forward as Parental Allowance, given that both the birth parent and their partner will be eligible. Eligibility will continue to be based on contributions/rules currently in place, and the weekly value will remain unchanged.
- Couples will be able to split the Parental Allowance with up to a maximum of 26 weeks per person, capped at 32 weeks between them. Weeks paid should align to paid parental leave periods, where each parent is allocated up to 6 weeks. There is a requirement that the ‘postnatal period’ of six weeks which begins from the date of birth, is paid to the birth mother (or host mother – is this in relation to surrogate situations?). There will be provisions also for adoptive parents.
- Single parents will benefit from the full period – up to 32 weeks Parental allowance.
- Employers will be able to offset any monies received in respect of Parental allowance against any wages earned.
When are the changes effective from?
The new provisions will apply to parents of children whose expected date of adoption or birth falls on /after 1 January 2021, therefore if the baby is born early these rates will still apply.
Any baby due to be born (or adopted) before 1 January 2021, will fall under the temporary terms put in place in June 2020.
What action should employers take?
Employers should ensure that family friendly policies and procedures are reviewed and updated in advance of 1 January 2021 and communicated to all employees. It is advisable for the policy to confirm that the allowance is being used by the employee and the periods of use. Payroll teams will need to review their processes in order to make appropriate provision to enable offset of monies received against earnings.