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.
On 13 May 2020, the UK government published guidance giving employers much needed clarity on how holiday entitlement and pay operate during the Coronavirus pandemic. It considers both those who continue to work and those who have been placed on furlough under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
When the government issued travel advice against all non-essential travel back in mid-March, perhaps we might have been forgiven for thinking that summer plans would be unaffected. However, it is becoming clear that such plans will also have to be put on hold and so employees may be considering cancelling their holiday bookings. READ MORE
Employee health and safety are top of mind when it comes to work in times of the pandemic – and when starting to take steps to return to a new normal where business continues even as outbreaks may flare up. When the lockdowns have ended, employers must be ready with health & safety protocols limiting contracting COVID-19 in the workplace. The German government now recommends a new occupational safety standard employers should follow to avoid liability. READ MORE
As COVID-19 begins to spread in Latin America, we have seen countries begin to adopt measures to protect their citizens and residents. Some countries have been on lock down since last month, requiring all but essential workers to stay in place (e.g., Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, El Salvador, Peru and Venezuela). Last week, Mexico canceled all non-essential activities and urged its citizens “Quédate en Casa” (Stay at Home). Other countries have extensive curfews (e.g., Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay). READ MORE
While most of the world is triaging around stricter COVID-19-related restrictions and lockdowns, some countries are already starting to take steps to return to a new normal – one where business continues even as outbreaks may flare up. With plenty of lessons to learn and a cadre of non-essential personnel looking for productive activity, employers who can do so are advised to take advantage of the “pause” in regular activity to sure up for the “post” COVID-19 realities. Below are some suggested areas of focus: READ MORE
In the wake of coronavirus and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, California cities are taking their own measures. San Francisco launched the Workers and Families First Program to reimburse employers for providing extra sick leave beyond their existing policies. The City Council of Los Angeles approved a supplemental paid sick leave ordinance, which the mayor is expected to sign. And Emeryville issued guidance on the permissible coronavirus-related uses for sick leave under its local paid sick leave ordinance. READ MORE
On 23 March 2020, the UK Supreme Court (UKSC) published the following update concerning time limits and extensions of time during the COVID-19 outbreak: READ MORE
OFCCP announced Wednesday that it will grant a limited, three-month exemption and waiver from some of its regular requirements for federal contractors responding to COVID-19. The exemption and waiver applies to new construction or supply and service contracts that are entered into from March 17, 2020 through June 17, 2020 specifically for the purpose of providing coronavirus relief. Director Craig Leen authorized such contracts to be exempted from: READ MORE
In a case of first impression, the Second Circuit has held that hostile work environment claims are cognizable under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). In Fox v. Costco Wholesale Corporation, No.17‐0936‐CV (2d Cir. Mar. 6, 2019), the Second Circuit joined the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Tenth Circuits to recognize this cause of action under the ADA. The court also provided useful guidance on when teasing may or may not suffice to establish a hostile work environment. READ MORE
Further to the reclassification of the service agreement between an independent deliveryman and Deliveroo, ordered by a Spanish lower Court, French jurisdictions recently shifted position, considering that several independent workers should be deemed employees of the platform that they were working for. READ MORE