Germany COVID-19 Update: Eased ‘Emergency Brake’ Regulations in the Workplace

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.

Mexico’s COVID-19 Traffic Light Monitoring System: News for July 19–August 1, 2021

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.

Canada’s Pay Equity Act to Take Effect on August 31, 2021: Key Considerations for Federal Employers

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.

Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Beginning 1 July 2021: What UK Employers Need to Know

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.

Ontario Court Finds Non-Ontario Payrolls Count Toward Severance Threshold

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.

Canada to Ease Travel Restrictions for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

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.

Is It Payback Time? Audits of Government-Funded COVID-19 Relief in South Africa

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’ Rights to Email Data in Germany Pursuant to Article 15 (3) GDPR

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.

European Commission Adopts Two New Sets of Standard Contractual Clauses: What Employers Need to Know

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).

German Employers’ Mandatory COVID-19 Testing and Telecommuting Requirements

The dynamic development of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought forth a number of new regulations. On April 20, 2021, the second amendment to the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (SARS-CoV-2-Arbeitsschutzverordnung) went into effect, requiring employers nationwide to offer employees who do not work exclusively from home offices COVID-19 tests at least once per week. The regulation also requires employers to offer employees with an increased risk of infection an opportunity to be tested for COVID-19 twice per week.

Mexico’s COVID-19 Traffic Light Monitoring System: News for May 24, 2021–June 6, 2021

Mexico’s federal government is continuing to reopen more of the country as the pandemic appears to be waning, with half of the 32 states designated in green traffic light status—the status under which all business and social activity restrictions are lifted, according to the nation’s four-tiered COVID-19 monitoring system.

Mexico’s Registry of Individuals or Legal Entities That Render Specialized Services or Execute Specialized Works

On May 24, 2021, the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare (Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social) (STPS) published guidance under the recently amended Mexican Labor Law in the Official Gazette of the Federation clarifying the outsourcing registration requirements for individuals and entities that provide subcontracting services. The amendment generally prohibits employers from subcontracting or outsourcing personnel, but includes carve-outs and exceptions under limited circumstances. The following provides a basic overview of the STPS outsourcing registration guidance.

Mexican Labor Law Amendment Abolishes Outsourcing of Personnel

On April 23, 2021, an amendment to the Mexican Labor Law was published in the Official Gazette of the Federation. Below are the key points about the amendment and how they will affect employers that outsource or subcontract work.

Ontario to Introduce Paid Leave for Time Off Related to COVID-19

On April 29, 2021, the Government of Ontario stated that it plans to introduce the COVID-19 Putting Workers First Act. When passed, this legislation “would require employers to provide employees with up to three days of paid leave because of certain reasons related to COVID-19.” According to a government press release, the act would apply retroactively to April 19, 2021, and would expire on September 25, 2021.

Canada COVID-19 Update: Paid Vaccination Leave and Provincial Travel Restrictions

As more Canadians become eligible for COVID-19 vaccines, provinces across Canada are implementing paid COVID-19 vaccination leave policies to incentivize workers to become vaccinated as soon as possible. These leave policies are being put into place as COVID-19 cases across Canada soar and the country races to vaccinate faster than infections can spread.

Does the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 Apply? The Implications of Employees Relocating to Work Remotely in Another Jurisdiction

Millions of Canadian employees have been forced to work from home as a result of measures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Many of these employees continue to perform the same jobs they had before the pandemic started, just from different locations. However, the location where an employee preforms work often factors into which provincial employment standards legislation applies to the employment relationship.

 

Ontario Extends COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Order to May 20, Tightens Restrictions, and Increases Workplace Inspections

On April 16, 2021, the government of Ontario announced its strictest COVID-19 response measures to date, responding to a continued increase in daily case counts despite a province-wide lockdown. The stay-at-home order, effective April 8, 2021, will be extended for an additional two weeks, for a total of six weeks. The Ontario government has also added new restrictions and increased workplace inspections to ensure employers are complying with all COVID-19–related health and safety measures.