The third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico has ebbed significantly in the last few weeks—enough for the federal government to lift all restrictions on social and business activities in nine states. Under Mexico’s four-tiered COVID-19 Traffic Light Monitoring System, those nine states are in “green light” status, the only restriction-free status. Because the pandemic is ongoing, Mexico’s health authorities have continued to urge the population to reduce the risk of infection by complying with government guidelines to prevent the further spread of the virus.
On October 6, 2021, the Government of Canada announced two measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The government announced (1) a vaccination mandate for the federal public service and (2) a vaccination mandate for federally regulated travel by “air, rail, and marine transportation.”
In Rahman v Cannon Design Architecture Inc., the Ontario Superior Court of Justice upheld termination provisions that appeared to be in violation of the minimum standards prescribed by the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA). This decision represents a positive development for Ontario employers.
The White House announced on September 20, 2021, that beginning in “early November” 2021, the Biden administration would remove restrictions on international travelers who are seeking to fly to the United States, provided that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
In order to slow the transmission rate of COVID-19 and safeguard the health of people in Puerto Rico, Governor Pedro Pierluisi recently issued a series of executive orders mandating COVID-19 vaccinations in certain instances.
The COVID-19 traffic light scenario in the states of Mexico still looks complicated, with only Chiapas and Chihuahua among the nation’s states operating without restrictions on social and business activities. Therefore, the federal Ministry of Health continues to urge the population to reduce the risk of infection by complying with the sanitary measures with which Mexico’s residents are all too familiar.
On August 31, 2021, the Government of Ontario extended the period for the province’s paid infectious disease emergency leave (IDEL) entitlement from its original expiration date of September 25, 2021, to December 31, 2021.
The Government of Ontario announced that starting September 22, 2021, individuals will be required to show proof of fully vaccinated status in order to gain access to certain businesses. While the regulations have not yet been published, the government has released key details concerning the plans.
About 63 percent of Mexico’s adult population has received a vaccination against COVID-19, but the pandemic situation has still worsened considerably, with only one of the nation’s 32 states having no restrictions on social and business activities as recommended under the nation’s pandemic traffic light monitoring system.
Canadian voters will be going to the polls for a federal general election on September 20, 2021. For employers, this means certain rules under the Canada Elections Act will apply on Election Day. Most importantly, employers must ensure that qualified electors (Canadian citizens 18 years of age and older) are guaranteed a period of time free from work to vote while polls are open.
The Act to Promote Works Council Elections and Works Council Activities in a Digital Working World (which is also known as the “Works Council Modernization Act” or Betriebsrätemodernisierungsgesetz) went into effect in Germany on June 18, 2021.
According to a recent decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ), employers may prohibit employers from wearing any visible sign of political, ideological, or religious conviction in the workplace under narrow conditions. After the decision, prohibiting employees from wearing headscarves remains impermissible.
Following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union and, therefore, the end of free movement, there have been questions as to how and when a postgraduate visa would be available to help international students currently studying in the UK. In September 2019, the UK government announced plans for a post-study work visa for international students as part of a new points-based immigration system.
As Mexico enters the third wave of the pandemic amid a global resurgence of COVID-19, the federal government of Mexico has revised the criteria it uses to update its traffic light monitoring system to alert residents to the epidemiological risks of COVID-19 and provide guidance on restrictions in each of the country’s states.
Germany’s nationwide “emergency brake” system—the public health framework of rules and restrictions first implemented by the German government in April 2021 to help contain the spread of COVID-19—expired on June 30, 2021, and, slowly but surely, some semblance of normality has begun returning to German citizens’ private and working lives. Due to a sharp drop in COVID-19 infection rates in Germany and because of the progress of Germany’s vaccination campaign, the federal government recently determined that the time was right to relax restrictive measures.
During the pandemic, Mexico’s federal government has used a four-tiered biweekly traffic light monitoring system to alert residents to the epidemiological risks of COVID-19 and provide guidance on restrictions on certain activities in each of the country’s states. The federal government is currently evaluating the factors for measuring the epidemiological traffic light system, first implemented in June 2020, and, accordingly, the government has not issued the federal-level report for the period of July 19, 2021, through August 1, 2021.
The government of Canada announced, on July 19, 2021, that the Canada-U.S. border, which has been closed to non-discretionary travel since March 21, 2020, will be reopened for eligible Americans on August 9, 2021, at 12:01 AM EST, and September 7, 2021, for those elsewhere in the world.
The Pay Equity Act, which Canada’s federal government passed in 2018, is going into effect on August 31, 2021. The act aims to address the systemic gender-based discrimination faced by women in federally regulated sectors by achieving pay equity through proactive measures. The act will require all federally regulated employers to analyze their compensation practices, even if they have not received a complaint and even if they believe there is no wage gap in their organization.
In June 2020, the government of Mexico instituted a four-tiered traffic light epidemiological monitoring system to track the COVID-19 pandemic and align COVID-19–related mandates and restrictions with the health risks present in each of Mexico’s 32 states.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (also known as the “furlough scheme”) has been in operation since April 2020, as part of the United Kingdom government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The scheme has enabled employers across the UK to retain their employees and protect jobs preventing unemployment and mass redundancies or reductions in force.
In its recent ruling in Hawkes v Max Aicher (North America) Limited, 2021 ONSC 4290, the Ontario Divisional Court ruled on an application for judicial review that the entire payroll of an employer that terminates the employment of an Ontario-based employee should be used to determine whether the employer’s payroll is at least $2.5 million per year, and therefore whether severance pay may apply. This decision reversed a ruling from the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) that was based on previous case law finding that only an employer’s Ontario payroll was considered for the severance pay threshold.
The United Kingdom is operating a traffic light system for foreign travel, and what passengers must do upon arrival in England depends on where they have been in the 10 days before they arrive.
The COVID-19 pandemic has continued to abate in Mexico, and as conditions have improved, the federal government has gradually eased COVID-19–related restrictions and lifted them entirely in 19 of the nation’s 32 states in accordance with the biweekly four-tiered traffic light epidemiological monitoring system.
The Government of Canada has announced the first phase of its plan to ease border restrictions for travelers entering Canada. Under the new policy, travelers whose vaccination status meets the criteria of “fully vaccinated” will be exempt from quarantine restrictions, mandatory hotel stays pending test results, and day-eight testing, provided all conditions are met.
In June 2020, governments around the world were centrally concerned with two issues: (1) what precautions to take to stem the ever-rising tide of COVID-19 cases and (2) how to keep national economies from falling apart due to the economic effects of the pandemic. A primary question for many countries became whether they could effectuate COVID-19 containment protocols without hurting their economies.
Employees may have a claim against their employers for access to information about all personal data processed by the employers pursuant to Article 15 (3), Sentence 1, of Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)). Under the GDPR, employees have a right to access, among other things, information about the purposes of personal data processing, the recipients of the data processed, and the storage period relevant to the data.
In order to address the economic impact of COVID-19 on Ontario’s businesses, in June 2020 the Ontario government created a special leave called “infectious disease emergency leave” (IDEL) through Ontario Regulation 228/20 (O. Reg. 228/20).
On June 4, 2021, the European Commission adopted two new sets of standard contractual clauses (SCCs): one for data transfers from data controllers to data processors and one for data transfers from data exporters to data importers in the United States and other third countries. These new clauses update and replace the SCCs adopted in 2001, 2004, and 2010 that many employers currently use to legally transfer human resources (HR) data for employees based in the European Union (EU).
Mexico’s federal government has lifted all restrictions on business and social activities used to contain the spread of COVID-19 in 19 of Mexico’s 32 states—the highest number of states without such restrictions since the government implemented its four-tiered traffic light pandemic monitoring system one year ago this month.
On May 20, 2021, the Government of British Columbia passed Bill 13, which amended the Employment Standards Act to provide an employee with paid leave if he or she needs to stay home for reasons related to COVID-19. The bill also introduces a permanent paid illness or injury leave to take effect on January 1, 2022.