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
international employment law developments
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 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
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
Employer Readiness Plans in the Wake of the Coronavirus Outbreak
While world governments scramble to contain the spread of the coronavirus, businesses are fielding questions from employees who are concerned for their safety and protection in the workplace. As you develop your coronavirus response strategy, be mindful of employee privacy, anti-discrimination, and other employment law considerations. Ultimately, any actions employers take should be proportionate to the risks presented. Here are a few of the most common questions employers should ask and some practical tips. READ MORE
The Many Pitfalls of Fixed-Term Employment in Germany – Or: How Long is “Very Long”?
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
Regulators Offer Insights Into SEC, CFTC, and OSHA Whistleblower Program’s Trends and Priorities
On July 16, 2019, three prominent whistleblower law regulators spoke at PLI’s Corporate Whistleblowing in 2019, which was co-chaired by Orrick partners Mike Delikat and Renee Phillips. With the standard disclaimer that their comments and opinions were their own and not the official comments of their respective agencies, each spoke about their agencies’ whistleblower program’s current progress, challenges, and priorities. READ MORE
The Whistle Blows North of the Border: Canadian Securities Regulator Makes First-Ever Whistleblower Awards
This article was co-authored by Omar Madhany, Associate at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP , and Mike Delikat, who co-heads the Whistleblowing Taskforce at Orrick.
On February 27, 2019, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC)—Canada’s largest securities regulator—announced that it had awarded $7.5 million to three whistleblowers who provided tips that led to enforcement actions. (see OSC news release here). The awards are the first ever made under Ontario’s whistleblower bounty program, which was patterned closely after the bounty provisions of Dodd-Frank. While these awards are small by comparison to recent SEC bounty awards of $54 million to two whistleblowers in September 2018 and a separate composite mega-award of $83 million to three whistleblowers in a single enforcement action on March 19, 2018, nonetheless these Canadian awards have garnered significant attention and press coverage in Canada.
Closing the Gender Pay Gap in France: Get Ready
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