Ogletree Deakins International Employment Update

Welcome to the inaugural Ogletree Deakins International Employment Update—a newsletter aimed at Human Resources professionals and in-house employment counsel operating on an international basis.
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Legislation Makes Holding Companies Liable for Australian Subsidiaries’ Workplace Law Breaches

The Fair Work Act of 2009 (the Act) is Australia’s principal legislation that dictates a legal framework that all Australian employers must comply with in employing staff. The Act prescribes comprehensive legal minima (including remuneration, hours of work, leave entitlements, and record keeping obligations), and sets out a pecuniary penalty regime for those employers that breach their obligations.

New Data Protection Legislation

The majority of Bermuda’s Personal Information Protection Act 2016 (PIPA) is expected to come into force in 2018. Before PIPA’s enactment, privacy and the use of personal information were governed solely by the common law.

New Rules for Calculating Working Time

New rules on calculating working time in Bulgaria went into effect on January 1, 2018. The Ordinance on Working Time, Breaks, and Holidays sets rules on what is called the Summarized Calculation of Working Time (SCWT) as it is more commonly known.

New National Social Security Fund Rules Introduced

The requirement that all Cambodian employers register their enterprises and employees with the National Social Security Fund is one of a number of changes introduced in recent months as part of the implementation of the health care insurance scheme.

New Whistleblowing Legislation

Approximately two years after it was enacted to protect public and private sector employees who report wrongdoing, the Whistleblower Protection Law, 2015 went into effect on February 1, 2018. One reason advanced for the delay in implementing the law was the inadequacy of mechanisms and institutions to enforce the law.

How Increased Compliance With Employment Laws Can Affect Your Company

2017 was the first year that China started implementing a series of detailed procedures on government oversight of employment-law compliance among employers, designed to enforce a 2004 regulation, Regulations for Supervision of Labor Security. The 2004 directive authorized labor authorities to monitor and supervise employers’ compliance with employment-related laws and regulations.

Cypriot Employment Law Introduces Paternity Leave

In 2017, the Protection of Paternity Law (No. 117(I)/2017) came into effect. The new law introduced—for the first time—the concept of paternity leave to Cyprus law to strengthen the existing social-legal framework for the protection of parents at work.

General Election Stalls New Employment Law Regulations

A proposed new amendment to the Czech labor code is uncertain following the outcome of the general election in the Czech Republic in late 2017. The proposed amendment was mainly focused on (1) introducing obligations applicable to telecommuting workers and (2) introducing a new category of “top manager,” consisting of individuals who would be partially exempt from working time limits.

Germany Envisaged Labor Employment Law Changes of the New Coalition Government

Following months of uncertainty after the German elections in September of 2017 failed to produce an overall majority for any party, the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU/CSU) and the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) decided on a coalition agreement on February 7, 2018. Strongly influenced by the SPD, the coalition agreement provides for various labor and employment law changes that employers may have to face in the near future.

Employee Rights During Investigations

A recent High Court decision has caused some concern amongst lawyers and HR practitioners by declaring a right to legal representation and a right to cross-examine evidence in a workplace investigatory meeting.

Recent Restrictive Covenant Cases Show Trend Against Employers

Employers had a difficult time enforcing restrictive trade clauses (RTCs) during 2017. While the Employment and Labour Relations Court has held that RTCs are constitutional and generally enforceable if reasonable, they need to be balanced against the employee’s circumstances, and it is the latter that has prevailed in recent cases.

Ministry Guidance on Retirement Practices

While Lao law does not set forth a mandatory retirement age, the authorities will likely uphold a contractually agreed upon minimum mandatory retirement age of 60, provided the employee receives a retirement benefit as prescribed by law upon retirement.

Reform to Mexico’s Labor Justice System

Mexico’s Official Gazette of the Federation (known as the Diario Oficial de la Federación or DOF) recently announced a number of changes with a decree that reformed and added several dispositions of Articles 107 and 123 of the Mexican Federal Constitution.

Shake-ups to the Employment Law Landscape

In October 2017, the Labour Party (led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern) was sworn into Parliament as New Zealand’s new government. As this is the first change in government (previously a National Party Government) in the last nine years, significant changes to employment law are expected.

New Immigration Laws for Seasonal Foreign Workers

As a member of the European Union (EU), Poland is required to allow nationals of any other EU country to live and work in the country. New immigration rules introduced on January 1, 2018 will make it easier to engage seasonal workers from outside of the EU in agriculture and tourism.

New Obligations on Employers to Ensure the Prevention of Harassment

There are new obligations on employers aimed at strengthening protection against harassment. These include an obligation on all employers with over seven employees to adopt a policy on workplace harassment and an obligation to instigate disciplinary proceedings when the employer is aware of harassment at work.

New Employment Claims Tribunal May Lead to Increase in Claims

The new Employment Claims Tribunal (ECT) was established in 2017 to provide a cheaper and easier alternative to the civil courts for employees wanting to bring salary-related disputes in Singapore. The ECT handles statutory and contractual salary-related claims by employees, as well as claims by employers for salary in lieu of notice of termination.

Rise in Investigations Into Foreign Project Workers

Many companies accept projects in Switzerland and have to send their employees to Switzerland in order to fulfill their contractual obligations. There has been a significant rise in the number of investigations by the Swiss authorities into the legality of these arrangements and an increase in the fines being levied for noncompliance.

New Right to Retirement Payments

Thailand has introduced a compulsory retirement age designed to provide those retiring with a severance payment following amendments to the Labor Protection Act.

New Work Permit Rules Aimed at Attracting More Foreign Employees

Amendments to the procedure for foreign workers to obtain employment permits came into effect in late 2017. The Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts Concerning Elimination of Barriers to Attraction of Foreign Investments law removes the previous rule that a company could only employ a foreigner in the absence of finding a suitably qualified Ukrainian employee, or where able to show a well-grounded explanation of necessity.

New Work Permit and New Protection for Domestic Staff Rules

Two new sets of regulations have come into effect recently. The first regulation impacts work-permit application fees for all businesses operating in onshore (non-free zone) the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The second regulation is limited to domestic staff and personal service workers, who will, for the first time, be provided with basic employment law protection.

Is Privacy in the Workplace Over?

In January 2016 the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) delivered a judgment in Bărbulescu v. Romania regarding a Romanian employer’s rights to access an employee’s private communications.

UK Builds on Gender Pay Gap Regulations With Enforcement Proposal

On December 19, 2017 the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) proposed a draft plan for enforcement action in relation to The Equality Act of 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017. The proposal was set out in a draft policy, and it was open for consultation until February 2, 2018. We now await the results.