Calls for better maternity benefits in Guernsey

Islanders are calling for more maternity benefits in the Bailiwick. Credit: ITV Channel

There are growing calls for Guernsey States to do more to support parents back to work after having children, to help solve the recruitment crisis.

In Guernsey there is no legal requirement for employers to pay any parental leave and no statutory right to request flexible hours.

However, in Jersey, all employees have the right to request flexible hours and both new parents can take a year off work.

The difference in policies between the islands has led to some new parents having to decide been working and childcare.

Emma Beaven resigned from her States job in Guernsey in 2021 after she was denied a year of unpaid maternity leave.

She said: "I would've had to come back on four days, doing full time hours on four days a week, which for me in terms of prioritising my son I was struggling to see when I would see him.

"I love working, I also love being a parent so I wanted to be able to do both in a way that worked for us."

Reflecting on her own experience after having her child, Emma has questioned how two islands so close, can have two separate policies.

"The benefits are hugely clear particularly in things like mental health, so to say that somewhere like Jersey which is not too far from here, is more progressive in terms of those rights - it's unfortunate for those of us living, working and being parents in Guernsey."

Current parental leave rights


  • Six weeks paid leave at full salary for both parents

  • Statutory right to request flexible working


  • Two week compulsory parental leave, but is unpaid

  • No legal requirement to give employees paid parental leave

  • No statutory right to request flexible hours

Mums in Guernsey are entitled to 12 weeks maternity leave, rising to 26 weeks leave for those with 15 months continuous service with their employer.

However, all mothers in Jersey are automatically entitled to 52 weeks leave after the birth of their child. Partners in Jersey are also entitled to six weeks paid leave and can take 52 weeks leave regardless of how long they have worked for the company.

But in Guernsey, islanders will only get two weeks unpaid leave if they have 15 months continuous service.

There is also a large gap in free childcare offered to parents across the Channel Islands.

Jersey pays for up to 30 hours a week free childcare for three and four year olds, but in Guernsey you can only claim 15 hours of free care a week for four year olds.

The President of Guernsey's Chamber of Commerce wants Guernsey States to do more and believes Jersey's policies are more fair, which will attract more parents back into work.

Diane De Garis, President of Guernsey's Chamber of Commerce, said: "It's short sighted not to look at this and yes we might not have the money to pay for more childcare or preschool education but we could look at tax breaks for people reentering the workplace with young children so it is targeted and then we have nothing to lose."

Guernsey's Employment & Social Security Vice-President, Lindsay de Sausmarez says: "Following on from the recent Population and Tax Review debates, there is a need to look at ways of strengthening the economy to help generate the revenues needed to close the shortfall in public finances. 

"That includes looking at how we can help people who want to be in work, stay in work, return to work, or increase the amount of work they are currently doing to be more economically active. 

"I am keen to see the focus on areas such as effective support for working parents firmly back on the agenda, as this is a key barrier that we know is constraining economic productivity at the moment."

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