Client Alert

Germany to Boost Works Council Rights Amid the Pandemic

The Federal Cabinet has introduced a draft bill to make it easier for employees to establish and elect works councils and to facilitate the works councils’ work in an increasingly digitalized work environment, the “Betriebsrätemodernisierungsgesetz“.

Less Red Tape and More Protection

The draft bill intends to facilitate the establishment of works councils, in particular in smaller companies and to strengthen the protection of the employees involved. To justify the need of the draft bill, the Federal Cabinet relies on statistics according to which only 9 % of the operations in western Germany with works council capacity have elected a works council. Employers shall be hindered to prevent the election of a works council in a more effective manner than before.

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Update: Occupational Health and Safety During the Pandemic

For as long as the threat of infection from COVID-19 remains, businesses will have to maintain a safe and healthy workplace to an increased degree. In order to clarify and sort out the large number of recommendations, the German government has updated the SARS-CoV-2 Occupational Health and Safety Standard for employers from April 2020 of which we had highlighted the key points here. It has also updated the SARS-CoV-2- Occupational Health and Safety Rule which serves as concretization of the Health and Safety Standard. READ MORE

The Luck of the Draw: H-1B Lottery Set to Open March 9-25

Earlier this month, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) officially announced that the H-1B electronic registration period for FY2022 will be open from March 9 through March 25, 2021. During this period, prospective petitioners and representatives will be able to submit their registrations for potential H-1B candidates. READ MORE

Germany: New Right to Work From Home During the Pandemic

On 19 January 2021, the German Chancellor and Federal Prime Ministers passed a new resolution on further measures to combat the Corona pandemic.

The Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs implemented this resolution in a new ordinance, the Corona-ArbSchV, which will enter into force on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 and will initially apply for a limited period until March 15, 2021. READ MORE

Mobile Working in Germany – New Draft Bill Currently Under Discussion

The legal framework for regular work in the mobile office is currently still lacking in Germany—the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs wants to close this gap.

The German government coalition parties have always expressed their intention to support mobile work in Germany. It seems that these endeavours are picking up pace slowly but surely. In the first step, the minister of labor and social affairs had issued a draft bill in October 2020 containing an employee entitlement to work remotely for 24 days per year. This draft has been widely criticized by employers’ associations and legal experts. Against this background, a second draft has been worked out by the end of November. This draft bill is currently being discussed within the Federal Cabinet. READ MORE

Crowdworkers Can Be Employees in Germany!

The German Federal Labor Court decided in an eagerly awaited ruling that crowdworkers or microtaskers can be classified as employees under German employment law. The decision will likely have significant impacts for the so-called gig economy. Although the ruling will not render the business model entirely impossible, platform operators will have to review and possibly reconsider their processes. READ MORE

California Enacts Legislation Codifying COVID-19 Workers’ Compensation Presumption for Certain Groups of Employees and Imposing Employer Reporting Requirement

On September 17, 2020, California Governor Newsom signed SB-1159. Effective immediately, the bill adds three new sections to the California Labor Code (§§ 3212.86-3212.88) which create a rebuttable presumption that certain employees who test positive for COVID-19 contracted it in the workplace. For these employees, the legislation modifies the definition of “injury” for the purposes of workers’ compensation, to include illness or death resulting from COVID-19. The legislation also creates a COVID-19 reporting requirement for employers who employ at least five employees, and makes several other nuanced changes to the way employers must treat workers’ compensation claims based on COVID-19 infections. READ MORE

San Francisco Offers “Right to Reemployment” For Local Workers Laid-off Due to COVID-19

[Update: The Ordinance was enacted on July 3, 2020.]

In an unprecedented move, on June 23, 2020 the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted in favor of legislation that requires San Francisco employers with 100 or more employees to “offer a right to reemployment” to certain workers whom the employer laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting shelter-in-place orders. According to the city’s rules, this ordinance goes into immediate effect upon signature by San Francisco Mayor London Breed, which must occur within 10 calendar days of receipt of legislation. Unless reenacted, the ordinance will expire on the sixty-first day after its enactment. READ MORE

COVID-19 Germany: The New Corona-Warn-App – What Employers Need to Know

A few days ago, the much-anticipated official Corona-Warn-App, commissioned by the German government, went live – and has since been downloaded over 10 million times. The goal is to convince as many people as possible to use the track-and-trace-app to curb the spread of COVID-19. While extensive use of the app can be a benefit for employers who are looking at re-opening and return to work planning, some legal questions come up in the employment context.

How Does the App Work? READ MORE

Immigration Proclamation: What does this mean for your foreign national workforce and hiring?

On June 22, 2020, the White House issued the “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S. Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak” which is the latest in a series of U.S. immigration restrictions purportedly tied to the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on the American economy. READ MORE