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
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
In Germany, fixed-term employment is strictly regulated: As a rule, fixed-term requires objective grounds that justify the limited term. There are exceptions for new hires: If the same employee has not been employed (on a fixed-term or open-ended) by the company before, as a rule, a fixed-term not exceeding two years is allowed including a maximum of three renewals within that period. READ MORE
Equality between men and women has been declared in France a “great national cause” of Emmanuel Macron’s Presidency in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
In March 2018, the French government unveiled an action plan for gender equality in the workplace consisting of ten measures aiming at reducing the gender pay gap and five measures to fight sexual and gender based violence. READ MORE
Since mid-November 2018, France has been shaken by the “yellow vests” mass demonstrations. Originated on social media and grounded in its opposition to the TICPE (fuel tax) increase, the leaderless movement expresses more broadly, according to many analysts, a reaction to the dwindling purchase power of the middle class and a strong stance against the French establishment.
The political impact of the movement was quickly felt, as President Macron announced, in a televised address aired on 10 December 2018, a series reform aiming at meeting the yellow vests demands, including notably an increased minimum wage, tax and social exemptions for overtime hours as well as a tax and social contributions-free end of the year bonus.
In a landmark decision on January 12, 2016, the CEDH (European Court of Human Rights), ruled that employers have the right to read their employees private emails sent during working hours, on condition that this surveillance remains reasonable.
Asia Employment Law Update
Proposed Regulations May Complicate Reductions in Force in China
On December 31st, 2014, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (“MOHRSS”) issued a notice to solicit public opinions on the draft Regulations on Personnel Cutbacks by Enterprises (“Draft Regulations”). The Draft Regulations set out detailed implementing rules for “mass layoffs” (defined under the Labor Contract Law as being a layoff of more than 10% of the workforce or more than 20 employees) and, if adopted in their current form, will further complicate the process for conducting reductions in force in China.