Changes to employment law enter legislative branches

22 June 2023

Proposed changes to employment legislation in the Isle of Man relating to family leave rights, whistleblowing and zero hours contracts are due to enter the Legislative Branches at the House of Keys sitting on the 27th June.

In January 2023 the Department for Enterprise confirmed the intention to bring forward a broad range of reforms relating to each of these employment legislation matters, having received support during public consultation. This comprises the first of two Bills which the Department has scheduled in the legislative programme published as part of the Island Plan, with further reforms planned following appropriate consultation.

The legislation being introduced into the Branches includes the following proposed amendments:

Family Leave Rights
New rights including:
• The right to time off work to accompany a partner to antenatal appointments, for adoption appointments and to take care of dependents in emergencies;
• The right to shared parental leave;
• The right to parental bereavement leave (including in cases of miscarriage and stillbirth).

A number of changes to clarify and improve the law in relation to whistleblowing, including:
• The introduction of a public interest test;
• The introduction of vicarious liability to prevent detrimental treatment of whistle-blowers by other employees on behalf of an employer;
• Removal of the requirement that a disclosure be made in good faith;
• Provision to make clear that a protected disclosure has been made;
• Power to make regulations to require prescribed persons to report on whistleblowing cases;
• Power for interim relief.

Zero hours contracts
The introduction of the provision to make a right to a written statement of employment terms and conditions a ‘day one’ right.

Tim Johnston MHK, Minister for Enterprise, commented:
‘The introduction of the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2023 into the Branches is part of an ongoing commitment from the Department for Enterprise to deliver meaningful improvements to employment legislation, with family rights, whistleblowing and zero hours contracts only the first of a number of matters which the Department is seeking to bring forward.

‘The Island Plan highlighted an overarching intention to ensure the Isle of Man’s employment legislation is improved and keeping pace with an ever-evolving landscape to ensure our workers are protected, and to further enhance the Isle of Man’s proposition as a secure, vibrant and sustainable jurisdiction of choice for employers and employees alike.

‘It was clear from the consultation responses received last year that there is broad support from the community and businesses for the proposed amendments, recognising the importance of the rights of employees, and the duties and responsibilities of employers being clearly understood and recognised.’

A copy of the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2023 and Explanatory Notes on the Bill can be found here.