Are you up for the challenge of dissecting the latest trends and developments in international employment law? Take the quiz here (Survey Monkey Quiz), or amaze your friends and neighbors with the crib sheet below.
I. In the midst of Brexit uncertainties, UK employers should avoid recruiting European nationals.
Employers there must still ensure that employment decisions are not discriminatory on the ground of (among other things) nationality. So, employers in the UK should not make recruitment decisions based on nationality and should maintain but communicate equality and diversity policies to ensure that decision-makers understand their responsibilities not to discriminate or harass on the basis of nationality.
Further, an agreement in principle was reached between the UK and the EU in December 2017 regarding the future rights of EU citizens currently living lawfully in the UK. These individuals will be able to stay in the UK and enjoy broadly the same rights and benefits as they do now. This agreement applies equally to UK citizens currently living in the EU. Although this is only an agreement in principle, EU citizens do not need to take any steps at this stage to establish immigration status. The key date for establishing rights will be 29 March 2019. Details of the immigration rules for EU citizens who arrive after 29 March 2019 are yet to be agreed.
II. Which of the following provisions form part of the reforms to the French Labor Code by the Macron Law?
A. strengthening the primacy of company-level agreements over industry-wide agreements
B. creating a single staff representative entity in all companies, regardless of their size
C. capping unfair dismissal compensation based on a mandatory damages scale
- A and B
- A and C
- B and C
- *All of the above*
Significant reforms have been made to France’s labor law to make it more employer-friendly.
Reforms include caps on damages that can be awarded for unfair dismissal as well as modifications to the calculation methodology of statutory dismissal indemnities. When an employee’s length of service is less than 12 months, the average monthly salary over the complete period preceding dismissal is now taken into account, and in assessing length of service for incomplete years, the statutory dismissal indemnity must be calculated proportionally to the number of complete months.
Other changes have tackled (i) collective bargaining pertaining namely to the adaptation of working time, pay and workplace mobility and (ii) labor relations with the creation of a merged/unified mandatory body in companies with at least 11 employees to exercise the powers currently reserved for union representatives.
III. In an attempt to further globalize the labor market in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, recent reforms to its Nitaqat program have allowed companies with 10 or more employees to employ from now on as many foreign workers as needed.
The Nitaqat program (a Saudi-ization scheme) was amended in September 2017 to increase the ratio of Saudi nationals versus expats working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Previously, the Nitaqat criteria only applied to companies with ten or more employees; companies with fewer than ten employees were generally exempt from the program but had to employ at least one Saudi national. This has been expanded and now applies to companies with six or more employees.
Additionally, companies will need to hire more Saudi employees to qualify for a Block Visa: a higher tier (“high green” or “platinum” rating) is now required. To transfer an employee’s sponsorship, a company must also have at least a “green” tier rating. Those with a “lower-green” rating may now only transfer with certain restrictions.
This will impact recruitment, as employers must now hire more Saudi nationals in order to get a higher tier status to be eligible to employ foreign workers and benefit from the ability to transfer sponsorship.
P.S.: the United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MOHRE) has also launched its national “Tawteen” Program at the end of 2016, aiming to increase the employment of UAE nationals in the private sector there too.
A. on the employer’s own website
B. on the Government’s specially designed website
C. in two local newspapers
D. in the official gazette
- *A and B*
- A and C
- All of the above
Gender equality has been in the spotlight internationally.
Numerous countries are striving to reduce gender pay gaps with strategies aimed at protecting workers from discrimination and increasing transparency. For example, in the UK, employers of 250 or more employees must now publish prescribed information relating to gender pay gaps on both their own websites and on the Government’s specially designated website.
Pay data is to be assessed as at 5 April 2017 and reported by 4 April 2018 latest.
P.S.: Other countries with new laws on gender pay reporting are Sweden and Germany. In Sweden, a number of changes were implemented: e.g., employers are now required to conduct salary surveys annually instead of every 3 years. In Germany, the Act on Pay Transparency now grants employees certain rights with regard to access to pay data.
V. Reforms to Brazil’s labor law came into force on November 11th, 2017. Which of the following provisions was part of the introduced changes?
A. The limitation in labor litigation of moral damages to a multiple of social security entitlements
B. Bonuses on a recurrent basis and advance payments (“abonos“) are no longer deemed to form part of salary
C. Unions no longer have to negotiate working shifts of 12 hours per work per 36 hours of rest and the company can instead negotiate with the employee or his/her union to implement these shifts
D. For equal pay to be claimed, the activities between the compared employees must not only be similar and performed within the same business site, but also with a difference of not more than 2 years in the same position, and not more than 4 years between lengths of service
- A and B
- B and C
- A, C and D
- *All of the above*
The reforms to Brazil’s labor law came into force on November 11th, 2017. On November 14th, President Temer introduced a provisional measure proposing a few, modest changes to those reforms. The ball is now in the hands of the House of Representatives.
VI. In Barbulescu v Romania, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that an employer was not permitted to terminate an employee for cause for sending (prohibited) private messages on a work system.
The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights overturned the Lower Chamber’s judgment in Barbulescu v Romania. It held that this dismissal was in breach of the employee’s right (under Article 8 of the Convention on Human Rights ) of respect for his private life. Here, his employer violated that right because of its monitoring of his Yahoo! Messenger communications (where it discovered that he had used the internet at work for personal purposes).
Employers in EU countries need to take care if they want to restrict personal use of the internet and other communications at work. For example, a company policy must make clear what is or is not permitted and must inform employees of any monitoring which will take place in line with local laws. Restrictions and monitoring should also be proportionate as the Grand Chamber noted that an employer’s instructions cannot entirely forbid employees having a private social life in the workplace.
P.S.: It is also worth noting that the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) comes into force in May 2018 and will impact processing of data, including employee data, of EU based employees.
VII. In which of the following countries in Asia was the so called “apology legislation” passed in July 2017?
C. Hong Kong
The aim of the new legislation in Hong Kong is to clarify the legal consequences of making an apology as well as to encourage parties to make apologies in disputes. Under this legislation, an apology does not constitute an express or implied admission of liability in connection with the matter and should not be taken into account when determining fault or liability.
VIII. In which European country do employees have a statutory “right to disconnect” from IT devices?
Contrarily to opinions in the popular press, it is an overstatement to say that French employees cannot read emails after 6pm. Rather, France’s new “El Khomri” law merely includes a requirement for employers to discuss the right to disconnect from IT devices with employee representatives as part of the company’s mandatory annual negotiations on professional equality and work life balance. Employers must also review their means of ensuring reasonable use of IT devices.
IX. In which Asian country does the law require the provision of a room dedicated to child care (i.e. a “crèche”) at workplaces with 50 or more employees?
The Indian Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act of 2017 requires establishments with 50 employees or more to provide a “crèche” facility at or near the workplace. Such facilities are not only expected to provide trained caretakers for the employees’ children, but also to ensure adequate accommodation, light, ventilation, and sanitary conditions. Mothers are allowed to visit those rooms four times a day including during her interval for rest.
X. Which Canadian province has recently amended its legislation to require employers to take steps to protect workers from workplace sexual harassment (and workplace harassment, generally)?
D. Nova Scotia
Ontario has passed important amendments to its Occupational Health and Safety Act, including (i) an expansion of the obligation to have a workplace harassment policy, (ii) a duty to ensure an investigation is conducted into complaints of any workplace harassment/ workplace, (iii) a duty to ensure that the complainant and the respondent are informed of the investigation results, (iv) an obligation to consult the Joint Health and Safety Committee on the workplace harassment policy; and (v) an expansion of the role of Occupational Health and Safety inspectors by granting inspectors the power to order investigations and corresponding reports, at the employer’s expense, into workplace harassment complaints.
 Cf. PowerPoint presentation “Global Employment Trends and Development”; See also http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Press_Q_A_Barbulescu_ENG.PDF; See also https://knowledge.dlapiper.com/dlapiperknowledge/globalemploymentlatestdevelopments/uk