The Argentine National Employment Law (NEL) was amended at the end of 2017 to provide greater protection for employees in the area of health and safety, and also to introduce restrictions on an employer’s ability to conduct video surveillance in the workforce.
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.
Austria is one of the few remaining countries in Europe that distinguishes between manual (blue-collar) workers and office (white-collar) workers. Some of these differences will be replaced by new rules that will apply equally to all.
Bahrain has recently introduced a flexi-work permit for expatriates, allowing eligible expatriates to work and live in Bahrain without being sponsored for a work/residence permit by a local employer. Eligible expatriates can now work in any job with any number of employers on a full or part-time basis.
On January 1, 2018, many of the provisions of the so-called “Summer Pact” came into force, introducing a number of tax and employment law measures. It is expected that the implementation of the remaining measures will follow swiftly.
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.
Under recent amendments to Brazilian labor laws, parties may enter into legally binding settlement agreements through a new process whereby labor courts can ratify settlement agreements between employers and employees.
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.
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.
The Ontario government recently passed Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, which will result in significant changes to the labor and employment landscape.
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.
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.
In a recent decision, the Constitutional Court of Colombia clarified the labor protection available to employees approaching pensionable age.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled in favor of a Croatian employee who was dismissed after criticizing her employer in a press article.
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.
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.
On September 1, 2020, a new holiday-leave regime will become effective in Denmark.
Amendments to the Dominican Republic’s labor legislation have been made following recommendations from the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The GDPR applies not only to entities with customers and employees located within the EU, but to the following entities located outside of the EU.
The May 25, 2018, effective date for the European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is just two months away. For most companies, the highest risk area for GDPR compliance—for several reasons—is processing human resources (HR) data.
In a high-profile case (KKO 2017:27, May 19, 2017), the Finnish supreme court specifically emphasized an employer’s obligation to consider whether it can avoid termination of employment by placing its employee in other work.
French labor law has been thoroughly reformed by five new ordinances, delivering on the campaign promises of French President Emmanuel Macron.
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.
In India, unionization has historically been limited to traditional sectors such as manufacturing. In a departure from that trend, the Labour Department of the State of Karnataka has registered the first trade union that exclusively caters to the interests of technology sector employees.
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.
On October 25, 2017, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (Gender Pay Gap Information) Bill passed the Committee Stage of the Irish Senate.
Recent decisions in Israel have looked at the balance between employee privacy and surveillance by employers.
The Italian Parliament has recently approved new laws aimed at improving work-life balance and working conditions for individuals who work from home.
The Italian Parliament has recently enhanced protections for independent contractors and self-employed workers to reflect the fact that many are working in this capacity in the modern “gig economy.”
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.
The Kuwaiti government has amended legislation to clarify (and extend) employee entitlements to annual leave and pension contributions.
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.
The Minimum Wages Order 2012 (MWO 2012) went into effect on January 1, 2013.
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.
During the second half of 2017, the Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population issued Notification 140/2017 together with a revised Standard Employment Contract (SEC 2017), which repeals and replaces the previous template, SEC 2015.
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.
Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) Labour and Industrial Relations Secretary has announced a review of the Employment Act Chapter 373 with a particular emphasis on updating the country’s maternity leave and termination of employment provisions.
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.
In a move that is aimed at reducing the granting of sick leave to employees who are not sick and modernizing the system, starting in July 2018, doctors that issue sickness certificates to employers will have to do so electronically.
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.
In separate developments, Qatar has taken two steps that will extend employment rights and access to justice for claimants.
In recent years Russian courts have seen an increase in the number of dismissed employees claiming reinstatement. Most cases involve redundancy dismissals, reflecting a growth in the number of employers dealing with restructurings, reductions in force, and cost reductions.
The Saudi government has introduced a number of measures to favor Saudi nationals over expatriate employees.
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.
Proposed amendments to the Civil Code of St. Maarten are aimed at enhancing employment rights in the areas of fixed-term employment contracts, pregnancy and maternity leave, gender equality, business transfers, and the (invalidity of) non-compete clauses.
After a reasonably quiet year for employment law reform in 2017, legislative changes are expected in 2018 regarding subcontracting and employment contracts.
Byggnads is the largest Swedish trade union for construction workers. In 2004, Byggnads blockaded the Latvian construction company Laval in order to force Laval to sign a Swedish collective agreement.
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.
The Taiwanese government proposes rolling back changes made last year to how employers calculate overtime, organize work hours, and manage annual leave allowances. The new rules are likely to come into force during 2018.
Thailand has introduced a compulsory retirement age designed to provide those retiring with a severance payment following amendments to the Labor Protection Act.
New legislation came into force in January 2018 that will require employees to submit to mediation before commencing most employment-related claims.
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.
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.
On November 29, 2017, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that misclassified self-employed contractors who are really employees could claim back vacation pay going back to 1996 (the year that the European Union’s (EU) Working Time Directive was introduced), much further back than had previously been understood.
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.
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.
On January 5, 2018, the Trump administration issued an overhauled Fact Sheet #71, which formally adopts a more flexible “primary beneficiary/economic reality” test for unpaid internships.
On April 2, 2018, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the annual quota for fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019).
From the start of 2018, Vietnam has been introducing a number of changes to its employment laws. The most eye catching of these changes is an increase in the criminal penalties that can be imposed for breaking employment laws.