Work/Life: international employment news

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Number 48

Welcome to the latest edition of our international jobs news.

Belgian civil servants have the right to disconnect

From February, a “right to disconnect” will be introduced in Belgium which will effectively prohibit civil service bosses from contacting employees when they are not at work, except in emergencies or other circumstances. exceptional. Ministers believe the line between work and personal life has become increasingly blurred during the pandemic. The extension of the practice to the private sector may encounter opposition: “The right to disconnect should not be extended to the private sector”, believes Eric Laureys of Voka, the Flemish Business Network.

Work/life: Monzo offers paid sabbaticals

The new Monzo bank will offer paid sabbaticals for up to 3 months to employees.

Dismissal based on facts revealed by video surveillance: employee’s right to privacy vs French employer’s right to evidence

Under French law, video surveillance can be set up within company premises to monitor the activity of employees subject to their prior knowledge and consultation of the works council. Failing this, the facts collected via video surveillance cannot be used by the employer to sanction an employee; the evidence will be considered illegal.

The Court of Cassation often reminds employers of this rule. However, it has also recently ruled that even if evidence is obtained through an invalidly implemented CCTV system, it will not necessarily be rejected by the judge in contentious cases. Indeed, the judge can assess whether the use of this evidence undermines the fairness of the procedure and whether such use is essential to ensure the right to evidence without leading to a disproportionate interference with the right to respect for personal life. of the employee.

German immigration will increase to 400,000 a year

To counter the effect of COVID-19 and changing demographics, Germany’s new coalition government is planning an annual immigration rate of 400,000 skilled workers. According to a forecast by the employer-friendly German Economic Institute, 5 million people will be out of the labor force by 2030 due to ageing. This will not only lead to a shortage of workers in Germany, but will also put the pension system to a serious stress test.

UK banker wins £2m for gender discrimination

Stacey Macken has been awarded more than £2m for discrimination, including male colleagues leaving a witch hat on her desk, and a boss belittling her by repeatedly saying ‘not now, Stacey’, as long as it is became his nickname. BNP Paribas paid her hundreds of thousands of pounds less than her male comparators and claimed that when she increased the disparity she was treated unfairly.

Dutch employees want to work from home after pandemic: Trade Union

A large majority of employees in the Netherlands surveyed by a trade union (FNV) think they should retain the option to work from home after the pandemic.

Research shows that employees who can work from home want to have more control over their workplace in the future, for example by including remote work in the collective bargaining agreement. A bill will also be debated in the Tweede Kamer (parliament) which aims to give employees more control over their workplace.

Malaysia summons companies facing US bans for forced labor

The Malaysian Ministry of Human Resources must summon all companies facing US import bans due to alleged forced labor practices to consider immediate action to address the claims. Disposable glove maker YTY Group and palm oil producer Sime Darby are the latest companies identified by US Customs and Border Protection as using forced labor at a time when Malaysian factories are under attack increased scrutiny due to allegations of abuse of migrant workers, who make up a large part of the Southeast Asian country’s manufacturing workforce. Human Resources Minister Mr Saravanan has acknowledged that allegations of forced labor against local businesses have shaken investor confidence in Malaysia.

UK companies flout corporate governance code

Research from Thomson Reuters indicates that most FTSE 350 companies do not fully comply with the UK Corporate Governance Code. Annual reports from 272 FTSE 350 companies and AGM meeting minutes from Thomson Reuters show that only 45% of FTSE 100 companies were fully compliant, with 37% of FTSE 250 companies.

Vaccines force a U-turn on the NHS

NHS staff in England will not be required to be vaccinated against coronavirus. The decision will be subject to government consultation. Mandatory vaccine rules were due to come into force for NHS staff on April 1. Compulsory vaccines are said to be less important now because the Omicron variant of Covid-19 appears to be more transmissible and less severe than the others. The prospect of private sector layoffs for non-vaccination may now recede a bit.

Dismissal and rehiring: hot news

A controversial UK judgment has prevented supermarket Tesco from changing pay conditions through the practice of firing and rehiring. The USDAW Union won an injunction to prevent the method from being used, rather than having to seek wrongful termination and simple compensation.

The business services sector will hire more skilled foreigners in the Czech Republic

This sector, which employs a tenth of all foreigners in the Czech Republic, saw a slowdown in hiring in the first year of the pandemic, with many foreign workers considering returning to their home countries. But now demand has skyrocketed and several findings predict a post-pandemic hiring boom, with Czech Republic-based companies hiring foreign workers intensively.

Poland moves to increase parental leave and workers’ rights

The Polish government has proposed amendments to the labor code aimed at strengthening workers’ rights, and in particular supporting family life. The changes implement EU directives on working conditions and work-life balance for parents and carers. They include an extension of parental leave by nine weeks, the introduction of additional leave days for carers, flexible working and the obligation for employers to provide an explanation in the event of the termination of the employment relationship, regardless of the type of contract. Flexible working rules should apply to parents who work with children under the age of eight and to people caring for family members who need special support.

Hungary claims to cut labor taxes the most in the EU

Over the past decade, Hungary has cut employers’ wage costs to the greatest extent in the European Union, according to its analysis of Eurostat data. Labor costs have decreased by 9.5% in Hungary between 2009 and 2020 and Hungary continues to position itself as an attractive low-tax location for employers.


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