ANNUAL REVIEW

Labour & Employment 2016

August 2016  |  LABOUR & EMPLOYMENT

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Companies operating in today’s global economy have access to, and are able to establish a presence in, diverse and lucrative new markets. But when they do, those companies will be exposed to a host of economic, structural and technological issues, which must be overcome if they are to be successful. One of the most notable challenges is a company’s relationship with its employees, including local employment laws, labour relations and the availability of human capital. The process of attracting and retaining key staff remains a major issue for companies around the world. How organisations respond to these challenges is of paramount importance.

 

UNITED STATES

Rebecca Torrey

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips

“The most notable development over the past 12 months has been the proliferation of laws and regulations, on a local and regional level, thanks to Congressional gridlock from partisan politics and a call to action by President Barack Obama. The employee rights conferred recently by local and state laws and regulations involve mandatory paid sick leave benefits, minimum hourly wage increases above $10 per hour, protection from discrimination based on sexual identity and expression, elimination of gender pay disparities, and protection for workplace whistleblowers. One or more of these enactments were initiated in the cities of San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC, New York and Los Angeles, and on a state-wide basis in Connecticut, California, Massachusetts and Oregon.”

 

CANADA

François Garneau

Miller Thomson

“In June 2016, the finance ministers representing the federal government and eight provinces agreed to revamp the Canada Pension Plan. The ministers agreed to gradually and substantially increase the average monthly worker contribution until 2023. These additional sums will increase the maximum annual benefits by close to one-third in order to bring the maximum annual benefit to C$17,478. As a result of this, Ontario decided not to go forward with its own pension plan proposal. Quebec, which had already set up a distinct plan in 1965 and had already increased contributions, is not part of this arrangement. However, Ontario implemented some major changes to its employment legislation by enacting Bill 132, which shall come into force on 8 September 2016.”

 

MEXICO

Francisco J. Peniche Beguerisse

Creel, García-Cuéllar, Aiza y Enríquez, S.C.

“In June 2015, a legislative decree that amended and modified the Mexican Federal Labour Law (FLL) regarding the employment of underage workers came into force. The new law forbids the employment of workers under 15 years old, and restricts the employment of workers from 15 to 17 years old to several conditions. There is prohibition regarding employees working overtime. Underage employees are also forbidden from being involved in dangerous activities. Moreover, the consent of the parents of underage workers is required. The Mexican Republic is divided in geographical areas for purposes of the minimum wage; however, on 1 October 2015, geographic zone B was eliminated and as a result there is now a nationwide minimum wage.”

 

FRANCE

Laurent Guardelli

Coblence & Associés

“Three major pieces of legislation have been provided by parliament in less than a year regarding all aspects of labour and employment, from relations with personnel representative bodies to collective bargaining rules, health and safety at work, redundancies or trade union law. For example, a bill which has been in parliament for five months and has just been realised, has amended virtually 50 percent of our more than 3500 pages of labour code. For instance, a brand new definition of the economic grounds of dismissal has been provided for, and this definition marks a major change.”

 

GERMANY

Dr Christopher Melms

Beiten Burkhardt

“We have seen the following notable developments in employment law in our region over the last 12 months or so. There have been major changes to the Act on Collective Agreements with enactment of the so-called ‘Principle of Collective Agreement Unity’ (Tarifeinheitsgesetz) on 3 July 2015, also the Act on Minimum Wages of 11 August 2014 and the Act on Equal Participation of Men and Women in Managerial Functions in Private Economy and in the Public Sector of 24 April 2015. All three of these new laws have significantly changed employee rights or company obligations in our region. The amendment to the Act on Collective Agreements has provided for the supremacy of certain trade unions over other smaller trade unions if big trade unions conclude collective agreements.”

 

DENMARK

Tommy Angermair

Advokatpartnerselskabet Kirk Larsen & Ascanius

“Over the last 12 months, the Danish parliament has been unusually active in terms of implementing changes to key labour market legislation. This is normally very stable compared to the corresponding legislation in many other European countries. There have been radical changes in rules applicable to restrictive covenants, including a maximum duration of 12 months, entitlement to compensation irrespective of other income during restriction period and a general prohibition against clauses regarding non-solicitation of colleagues. Rules on statutory severance pay based on length of service have been simplified, with new amounts and required service thresholds. Access to agree on an automatic end of employment at the age of 70 years has been abolished.”

 

ITALY

Vittorio De Luca

De Luca & Partners

“Over the last 12 months, significant developments have characterised Italian employment law. A broad, in-depth reform known as the Jobs Act was implemented in 2015. The reform has radically changed several aspects of employment and self-employment relationships in Italy. In particular, the reform provided for the reorganisation of all types of employment contracts, the introduction of permanent contracts with increasing levels of protection, thus defining a new system of compensation in the event of unlawful dismissals marked by the certainty and objectivity of the law. This has reduced the possibility of reinstating employees who have been unlawfully dismissed to merely cases of discriminatory termination only, and thus almost entirely eliminates the discretionary power of the courts.”

 

INDIA

Vijay Ravi

Kochhar & Co.

Last year, in a move aimed at initiating significant labour reforms, the Indian Ministry of Labour announced plans to introduce five draft codes which would consolidate 44 labour laws that are currently applicable to businesses. The move has been designed to decrease the multiplicity of compliances in labour laws, improve labour relations and ease the process of doing business in India. Following the announcement, three draft legislations have been made public. One of the important draft codes that has been introduced is the Labour Code on Industrial Relations Bill, 2015 (LCIR Bill). There are a number of key proposals included in the LCIR Bill.”

 

SINGAPORE

S Suressh

Harry Elias Partnership LLP

“From 1 April 2016, all employers in Singapore will be required to issue itemised pay slips and a document summarising the key employment terms (KET) to employees covered under the Employment Act (Chapter 91). Employers who do not issue itemised pay slips or KET to employees can be fined. From 1 April 2016, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will set up a framework to treat less severe breaches of the Employment Act as ‘civil breaches’ which attract administrative penalties. Currently, employers must offer re-employment to eligible employees who turn 62, up to the age of 65. If the employer does not offer the retiring employee re-employment, the employer must pay the retiring employee Employment Assistance Payment. From 1 July 2017, the re-employment age will increase to 67.”


CONTRIBUTORS

Advokatpartnerselskabet Kirk Larsen & Ascanius

Beiten Burkhardt

Coblence & Associés

Creel, García-Cuéllar, Aiza y Enríquez, S.C.

De Luca & Partners

Harry Elias Partnership LLP

Kochhar & Co.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips

Miller Thomson


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