International Employment Law Developments

COVID-19 UK: Employment – Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – Legal Framework published and more questions raised – Update

On 15 April 2020, the Treasury, in exercise of the powers conferred by sections 71 and 76 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, gave a Direction to HMRC, setting out the mechanics of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). Note, the Direction does not replace the HMRC Guidance, but a valid Direction has the standing of an Act of Parliament and is therefore subject to the usual rules of statutory interpretation. By way of background, please refer to our recent insight piece with the previous details of the Scheme and guidance for employers and employees: read here.

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COVID-19 Update: Germany to Give Working Parents State-Funded Compensation Claim During Closure of Childcare and Schools

Deutsch: COVID-19-Krise: FAQ zum neuen Entschädigungsanspruch für berufstätige Eltern nach § 56 Abs. 1a IfSchG

For working parents who are unable to fulfil their working duties due to the closure of kindergarten, day care centre and/or school as a result of the pandemic, the German parliament has passed a new law in a fast-track procedure. The essential aspect under this legislative change is that under certain conditions, affected parents are granted a state-funded compensation claim under the German Infection Protection Act (Infektionsschutzgesetz – IfSchG), which is legally distinct from the contractual remuneration claim. READ MORE

Preparing Coronavirus Workplace Safety Responses in APAC Countries

As the coronavirus, now officially named the “COVID-19 virus,” continues to spread across the world, employers are also looking to ensure a safe working environment for their employees. In addition to our previous perspectives for U.S. employers and EU employers, this updated overview provides employers in the rest of the Asia-Pacific (“APAC”) region with practical advice to develop their COVID-19 virus response strategy. Specifically, this overview covers the countries of: The People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. READ MORE

Market-by-Market Overview: COVID-19 Lockdowns

We’ve been following COVID-19 around the globe since January when it became clear that the outbreak in Wuhan, China was having broader employment and business implications. Under the general pattern, countries with a few confirmed cases act to contain the spread of the virus through a combination of inbound travel barriers, mandatory isolation/quarantines and aggressive testing and follow up of suspected contacts of the confirmed cases. If the number of new cases become too numerous to source (i.e., people are getting infected in the community), the focus shifts from containment to damage control in a predictable way. Lockdowns are part of that equation – often beginning with school closures, the ban of large gatherings and the cancelation of events, progressing to the closure of an increasing list of “non-essential businesses” and culminating in mandatory stay at home orders. READ MORE

COVID-19 UK: Employment – The UK Job Retention Scheme and Gender Pay Gap Reporting – the Latest – Update

On 20 March 2020, in a bid to prevent mass job losses as a result of the coronavirus, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The government has agreed they will reimburse 80% of wages for all employees who are ‘furloughed’ but still on the payroll, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. READ MORE

COVID-19 Update: FAQs on Employment-related Aspects of the Coronavirus Pandemic for Employers in Germany

Deutsch: COVID-19 Update: FAQs on Employment-related Aspects of the Coronavirus Pandemic for Employers in Germany

The consequences of the spread of the novel coronavirus (Sars-CoV-2) have reached the German labour market. Many companies are daily confronted with new and complex legal questions regarding the handling of coronavirus-related issues in employment relationships.

The following overview shows the most frequently asked questions and answers. READ MORE

COVID-19 UK: Employment – UK Government Agrees to Pay Employees’ Wages

The UK Government has said they will step in and pay up to 80% of wages subject to a cap of £2500 per month for any employee who is not working but kept on payroll, rather than made redundant.  This is intended as an incentive to keep people in work and means that if an employer is considering redundancies or unpaid sabbaticals because its employees have no work due to the impact of the coronavirus, then provided these employees are kept on payroll instead, companies of all sizes will be able to apply to HMRC for these grants to keep paying their employees.  According to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, the system should be up and running in a matter of weeks and be fully operational by the end of April. READ MORE

Cross-Border Layoffs in the Wake of the COVID-19 International Pandemic

As bars, restaurants, theatres, sporting and entertainment events, gyms, casinos, movie theatres, and other establishments shutter globally in response to the COVID-19 pandemic many employers have been forced to consider immediate layoffs of their employees around the world in response to their businesses having been essentially shut down. Other employers, faced with the possibility of a looming global recession, are preparing for potential future international layoffs. Significant pitfalls await employers conducting layoffs (temporary or permanent) outside of the U.S., which are heavily regulated by law, including mandatory severance payments, notice periods and cumbersome processes. We discuss some of these pitfalls for selected countries outside the U.S. including Australia, China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, Spain and the UK below and discuss some of the early responses by countries like Spain and Germany to create exceptions to the normal requirements. READ MORE

Market-by-Market Overview: Protecting Your Offices & Other Worksites From COVID-19

Please note: Government guidance and regulation is changing rapidly, and so it is important for employers to always check on the applicable government site and with the Orrick team on the latest information. Employers may refer to information on Orrick’s COVID-19 Resource Center that provides country-specific links. READ MORE

What to do When Working From Home Won’t Work?

If you’re like many this week you, your partner or roommates and your children of all ages may be working from home. Schools of all levels are closed and maybe have instituted distance learning. Day care centers are closed too. So are libraries, coffee shops, restaurants and other places remote workers go to think and work. Successful working is about more than just having good WiFi. So, what are the options if remote working is not working for your employees or they simply cannot do their job from home? READ MORE