China: Changes to income tax law: major impact on employers of foreign expats The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress has passed amendments to the Individual Income Tax Law which become effective on January 1, 2019. A key change that will impact on foreign expats is the expansion of definition of "tax resident".
Germany: Imminent invalidity of limitation periods in employment contracts The Federal Labor Court has ruled that limitation periods, which do not exclude a claim for the Minimum Wage according to the Minimum Wage Act are invalid. This results in the ineffectiveness of thousands of limitation periods in employment contracts.
France: Sexual harassment and gender pay reporting The Law for Freedom to Choose a Professional Future, which imposes new requirements to address workplace sexual harassment and to report on gender pay gaps, was signed into law on 5 September 2018.
Italy: Constitutional Court holds method of calculating unfair dismissal compensation unlawful The Italian Constitutional Court has issued a judgment holding that a key reform introduced by the Jobs Act in 2015 is unlawful. The Court’s judgment relates to the prescribed method for calculating the compensation to be paid to an employee who is unlawfully dismissed.
Spain: Master Plan Again Labor Exploitation A Draft 'Master Plan against Labor Exploitation 2018-2019-2020' has been prepared by the Government of Spain which sets out the guidelines to be followed by the Labor and Social Security Inspectorate as well as the legislative initiatives to be promoted by the Socialist Parliamentary Group.
Australia: Whistleblowing reform update A bill is passing through parliament which would require public companies and large proprietary companies have a complaint whistleblower policy that is accessible to all employees by 1 January 2019.
Australia: Advisors liable as accessories The Federal Court has found that advisors can be found liable as an accessory under the Fair Work Act for being involved in breaches of award obligations.
Australia: Shift workers – sick leave for actual hours The Fair Work Commission has found that payments of personal/carer's (sick) leave for shift workers should be made on the basis of the actual hours that would have been worked on the day taken as leave, rather than as an average number of hours worked.
Australia: Unpaid family and domestic leave From 1 August 2018 all employees, including casuals, who are covered by federal awards are entitled to unpaid family and domestic violence leave
Australia: “Casual” employee gets annual leave The Federal Court has decided that a notionally "casual" employee of a labor hire firm was entitled to paid annual leave as he was not truly a casual.
China: Focus on social insurance compliance In an effort to increase collection of social insurance payments, as of 1 January, 2019, responsibility for enforcing social insurance compliance by employers in the PRC will be shifted to the tax authority. This is likely to lead to increased scrutiny of businesses and greater risk of sanctions in the event of non-compliance.
Hong Kong: New reinstatement rights for unlawful dismissal As of 19 October 2018, tribunals will have the power to order reinstatement or re-engagement where an employee has been unlawfully dismissed, but the scope of the new rights is limited.
Japan: Workstyle Reform Bill After some last minute changes, on June 29, 2018, the Japanese Diet passed a comprehensive "work-style" reform bill that amends eight different labor related laws including several core statutes. The legislation is meant to modernize Japan's working systems, create a more fair and equal workplace for employees and provide more freedom and flexibility to workers.
Austria: New working time regulations in effect 1 September 2018 The new regulations enable working time to be organised in a more flexible way and include an extension in maximum working hours from ten to twelve hours per day.
France: International secondments: measures to combat fraud The Law for Freedom to Choose a Professional Future, which was passed on 5 September 2018, grants wider powers to the French administration to combat fraud in case of a secondment to France.
Netherlands: Economic dismissals: amendments to implementing rules The implementation rules for termination due to economic reasons help to elaborate on/explain legislation with regard to the Employee Insurance Agency procedure. As a result of case law and amended legislation, the implementation rules have been updated.
Netherlands: Amendment of the Works Council Act The Dutch Senate is proposing that large companies will be obliged to organize at least one annual meeting with the works council to address the pay and conditions of different groups of employees, the board and the supervisory body.
Poland: Trade Secrets Directive implementation Amendments have been made to the Act on Combatting Unfair Competition to comply with the EU's Trade Secrets Directive and came into force on 7 August 2018.
Poland: Draft Act on Transparency in Public Life A draft bill is being debated in Parliament which, among other measures, would extend protection for whistleblowers who disclose an employer’s business information.
Spain: Posted workers: Court confirms when rent qualifies as salary for severance The Supreme Court has declared that whether payment of rent is included in severance compensation depends on whether the posting is permanent or temporary.
Spain: Failing to provide seasonal employees with work: void collective dismissal The Supreme Court has considered whether an employer has to carry out a collective dismissal process when it decides not to provide work for seasonal employees.
Spain: Rider fails in claim for employment status The Madrid Employment Court has dismissed a claim of “hidden employment”, finding that a Glovo rider was an independent contractor.
Spain: Collective dismissals The Supreme Court has held that employees who are terminated following a collective dismissal process cannot individually challenge the grounds for dismissal when the consultation period has ended with agreement between the employer and employee representatives.
Sweden: Rehabilitation plans for long-term sickness With effect from 1 July 2018 where an employee is expected to be absent from work for more than 60 days due to sickness their employer is required to prepare a rehabilitation plan for the employee’s return to work.
Brazil: 50% drop in labor law claims Following reforms to Brazil’s labor law which came into effect in November 2017, the number of claims filed in recent months has fallen significantly.
Brazil: Supreme Court acknowledges lawfulness of labor outsourcing The Federal Supreme Court has recognized the lawfulness of outsourcing, regardless of the type of outsourced activity; that is, ancillary activity or core activity.
Canada: Guidance on assessment of marijuana impairment in the workplace Effective on 17 October 2018, the possession and use of recreational marijuana will be legal across Canada. To prepare employers should introduce policies that address the potential implications of recreational marijuana in the workplace, including possession, use, impairment and accommodation for dependency.
Canada: Ontario: Termination of health, dental and life insurance benefits at 65 unlawful The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has released an interim decision finding that the termination of an employee’s health, dental and life insurance benefits at age 65 constituted unlawful age discrimination contrary to the Ontario Human Rights Code.
US: New York City amends human rights law On 15 October 2018, an amendment regarding employer obligations when responding to an employee’s potential need for a reasonable accommodation will go into effect.
US: New York State and City: Combating workplace sexual harassment Last spring both New York State and New York City enacted legislation aimed at sexual harassment prevention and remedies. As these laws begin to take effect, the city and the state have each published materials to assist New York-based employers with compliance.
US: California: Payment for off-the-clock tasks California's Supreme Court has ruled that employers must pay workers for the time they spend completing off-the-clock tasks – even de minimis amounts of time which may not be compensable under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act
US: California: Proposed law will require women on boards The California state Assembly has passed a bill that, if signed into law by the Governor, will require major publicly traded companies based in the state to put female directors on their boards.
US: IRS issues section 162 (m) guidance The IRS has issued guidance clarifying recent changes to Section 162(m). The guidance is not as favorable as had been hoped as the IRS narrowly interprets certain legislative provisions that were otherwise beneficial to employers. As a result more executive compensation arrangements will be subject to the Section 162 (m) deduction limit.