Employment law 5 in 5: March 2024

3 April 2024 2 min read

By Cassie Boyle and Sarah Hellewell

At a glance

  • Agreement on EU Platform Work Directive.
  • Right to request flexible and remote working.
  • Australia recognises right to disconnect.
  • New discrimination and harassment protections.
  • Upcoming global employer events.

Monitor: Agreement on EU Platform Work Directive 

On 11 March 2024, EU ministers announced an agreement on the provisions of the Platform Work Directive (PWD), including a rebuttable presumption of employment status when facts indicating control and direction are found. The PWD also imposes new obligations related to the use of automated monitoring and employment decision-making systems. Read more here.

Meanwhile, in Thailand, a new draft Independent Workers Protection Act would extend protections to self-employed workers, including platform workers.

Focus: Right to request flexible and remote working

Dozens of countries have recognised a statutory right to request flexible working. Requirements vary (eg eligibility, process for making and responding to requests, criteria for assessing requests, documentation).

In Ireland, the Code on the new right to request remote or flexible working was published on 7 March 2024. The Code contains a new cause of action for employees against the decisions of their employers in relation to flexible and remote working. Significantly, the Workplace Relation Committee can only assess the process that was used by an employer in reaching its decision – not the merits.

Prepare: Australia recognises right to disconnect

Australia is the latest country to recognise a right to disconnect. Under new provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009, employees have the right to refuse to monitor, read, or respond to contact from an employer outside of their ordinary working hours unless such refusal is unreasonable. Employers are encouraged to prepare for the new right to disconnect, which takes effect on 26 August 2024.

Prepare: New discrimination and harassment protections 

Countries continue to focus on equality issues. Under Spain’s law guaranteeing the rights of LGTBI people, employers with more than 50 employees had until 2 March 2024 to put an approved procedure in place for the promotion of the equality and the prevention of harassment of LGTBI people in the workplace.

In Taiwan, amendments to the Gender Equality in Employment Act took effect in March. The new provisions address sexual harassment outside of work hours, define abuse of authority, and provide for stricter penalties for those in positions of power who sexually harass employees, and extend the statute of limitations to report harassment.

New Zealand also recently extended the time for raising personal grievances involving sexual harassment.

Join: Upcoming global employer events

Register here to join us on 18 April 2024 for our Global Expansion and Operation Webinar focused on key employment and executive compensation issues companies face when scaling their business internationally, including engagement options, employment agreements and policies, equity compensation and workforce management. Also taking place on 18 April 2024 is our African Employment Summit in Dubai which will consider strategies for navigating Africa’s diversity, while ensuring compliance and fostering positive labour relations.