Following the States of Guernsey's decision to introduce legislation dealing with family rights during the next 12 months, offshore law firm Carey Olsen's employment team has advised HR and business professionals on the various aspects of the legislation.
At a recent Carey Olsen seminar, Advocate Elaine Gray and senior associate Rachel Richardson outlined the relevant employment family rights in the workplace policies including flexible working, maternity and paternity leave, adoption leave, dependants' leave and sex discrimination.
The lawyers advised that, while companies were expected to apply resources to provide customers with round-the-clock access to goods and services, a balance needed to be struck as to how this was achievable in the face of forthcoming legislation.
The law firm's employment experts also reviewed the changing commercial landscape and its impact on family life citing the increasing trend of two working parents and the increase in single working parents as two key factors that shape working life for the majority of families in 2014.
Ms Richardson noted that employers in Guernsey are not currently bound by any statutory obligation to provide maternity, paternity, adoption or dependents’ leave but advised that it was best practice to have policies that covered these issues ahead of the legislation.
“Employers can find solutions that work for both the business and the working parents and ensuring proper procedures are in place may actually boost employee productivity and motivation,” she said.
Maternity leave is one component of the family rights legislation package expected to be brought in this year.
Advocate Gray discussed current best practice regarding paternity, adoption and dependents’ leave, with paternity and adoption rights expected to be included within the new provisions.
"Although the final shape of the legislation is not yet known, it's important for employers to be aware of best practice in relation to dealing with issues such as paternity leave, adoption leave and flexible working in order to best prepare for the legislation," said Advocate Gray.
The breakfast briefing was the last in a series of employment seminars from Carey Olsen. Further details about the firm's next employment events will be available shortly.