A Jersey political party is calling for the island’s poorest parents to be given more Maternity Allowance.
Reform Jersey is calling for a States debate to force the introduction of reforms to maternity and paternity leave rules, which were recommended by a forum of experts just before Christmas.
But in addition to increasing maternity and paternity leave to 52 weeks, they want those who claim Income Support to be better off.
At the moment, people can claim a Maternity Allowance benefit of £209.51 a week for 18 weeks. Reform Jersey want to increase that to 26 weeks, and increase the percentage of that income which is disregarded when calculating Income Support payments from the current 25% to 50%.
Reform Persey chairman Deputy Sam Mézec said: “Jersey has lagged behind the rest of Europe in our parental leave provisions. Reform Jersey has brought several propositions over recent years to extend it to 26 weeks, but has been voted down by the Council of Ministers each time.”
“Now, with the recommendations made by the Employment Forum, we believe that the States should make this necessary progress to provide peace of mind to Islanders that they can choose to have a family without having to damage their careers.”
They say the package they propose, due for debate in February, will force the introduction of changes by this September.
Extending Maternity Allowance payments to 26 weeks is estimated to cost an additional £1.5million annually paid from the Social Security Fund, while increasing the disregard to 50% is estimated to cost an additional £1.25million annually.
You can read their full proposition here.