Gender-balanced parental leave law 'trailblazing'

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Baby's feet held in hands
Image caption,
The new rules will offer both parents six weeks of full pay

All new parents in Jersey will be offered up to 52 weeks off work, following approval of the States.

The new laws have been described as "trailblazing" by Deputy Rowland Huelin.

Jersey's States members voted 38-6 in favour of the proposal which intends to "encourage gender balance in childcare roles".

Both parents will able to take the leave in up to three blocks over two years.

On Wednesday, politicians rejected an amendment to offer six months of leave to new parents, rather than a year.

Maternity and paternity cover on the island currently offers only 26 weeks of leave, half the time offered to new mothers in the UK.

Breastfeeding breaks

New fathers in Jersey will now receive six weeks of paid leave, like their partners, increased from their previous entitlement to two weeks' pay.

Parents will be allowed to take their leave at the same time if they wish to.

Men in England, Scotland and Wales receive two weeks of statuary paternity leave and can only apply for additional time off if their partner returns to work before the end of their maternity leave.

The proposal will also allow women to request breastfeeding breaks at work, whilst employers must take "reasonable steps" to provide facilities for breastfeeding.

John Le Bailly, the only member to vote against a review of the changes in two years' time, said: "I have it on good authority that this breastfeeding thing is a current fad."

It is anticipated the law will come into effect between June and July 2020.

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