Impending Changes of Legislation

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The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) Resolution dated resolution on 8 October 2017

The Resolution targets insurance companies, insurance agencies and insurance brokers and states that all jobs related to the sale of insurance products to individuals must be held by Saudi nationals starting from 1 February 2018. Non-Saudis are prohibited from selling or marketing insurance products to individuals, regardless of job titles, or contractual relations with the targeted companies.

For more information, please contact L&E Global.

Saudi Arabia: Block visa validity period reduced

Companies wishing to recruit foreign nationals are required to apply for a block visa. Previously block visas were valid for a period of one year; however recent changes have resulted in the validity period being reduced to one year, meaning that if a block visa is not used, the approval will expire within one year of issuance.

For more information, please contact L&E Global.

Qatar: The Ministry of Development Labour and Social Affairs online services

Companies that have been blacklisted for failing to comply with the Wage Protection System (WPS) may now apply to lift such status on satisfaction of the following conditions:

  • The company signs up to WPS;
  • The company complies with WPS in terms of transferring employee salaries;
  • The company’s employee payroll reconciles with the number of employees employed, and if it does not an explanation together with supporting evidence must be provided; and
  • Employees remaining outside of Qatar for longer than 6 months must have their sponsorship cancelled.
For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Poland, please contact A. Sobczyk & Wspólpracownicy

New Zealand’s new government promises changes to employment law, beginning with extending parental leave

A new Labour government was sworn in on 26 October 2017. A number of changes have been proposed by the new government and the first change will likely be the extension of paid parental leave from 18 weeks to 22 weeks in 2018 and to 26 weeks in 2020.

A general election took place in September this year, with Labour forming a coalition government with the Green Party and New Zealand First party approximately 10 days later.  The new government was sworn in on 26 October 2017. A number of changes have been proposed by the new government but the first change will likely be the extension of paid parental leave from 18 weeks to 22 weeks in July 2018 and to 26 weeks in July 2020 (under the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill). The Bill is being rushed through with its introduction and first and second readings all held on 8 November 2017.

In addition, there are a number of new policies that the new government plans to implement. Some of the proposed changes include:

  • Increasing the minimum wage to $16.50 per hour;
  • Introducing Fair Pay Agreements, which will comprise a common set of terms and conditions applying to a particular industry;
  • Restoring reinstatement as the primary remedy where an employee has been unjustifiably dismissed;
  • Implementing changes to the Equal Pay Act so that women in female dominated workforces can have access to court processes to settle their claims and have access to collective bargaining.
For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in New Zealand, please contact Don Mackinnon, Partner at SBM Legal (www.sbmlegal.co.nz) at don@sbmlegal.co.nz

Norway: General application of collective agreements in the Restaurant and Hotel Industry

In Norway, there is no minimum wage, but certain collective agreements have been made generally applicable for all employees in certain industries. The purpose of this is to ensure foreign employees’ terms of wages and employment, are equivalent to those of Norwegian employees, and to prevent distortion of competition detrimental to the Norwegian labour market. General application of collective agreements can be said to be the Norwegian version of minimum wage, and have been introduced in industries where employees are considered especially vulnerable. The Tariff Board recently decided that parts of the collective agreements for employees in the Restaurant and Hotel Industry are to be generally applicable for all employees who work in these industries.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Norway, please contact Storeng, Beck & Due Lund (SBDL)

The Netherlands: Amendments in the ‘Minimum wage and minimum holiday allowance Act’

The ‘Minimum wage and minimum holiday allowance Act’[1] was amended and will enter into force on the 1st of January 2018. From then on, the definition of wage in article 6 of the Act will include overtime, which means that the employer has to pay at least the minimum wage for overtime. As an alternative, employers are allowed to make employees compensate their overtime. From the 1st of January 2019, this alternative is only possible if the applicable collective agreement allows this type of compensation for overtime.

Also, the employer is obliged to pay a minimum of 8% holiday allowance for overtime (article 15 of the Act) from the 1st of January 2018 on. Employers can only derogate from this article if this is agreed upon in the collective agreement that is applicable.

[1] Wet van 25 januari 2017, Stb. 2017, 185.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Netherlands, please contact Christiaan Oberman, Partner at Palthe Oberman (www.paltheoberman.nl) at oberman@paltheoberman.nl

Mexico: Upcoming increase to the Minimum Wage coincides with the Review of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

The National Commission for Minimum Wages (CONASAMI) convened a meeting for November 21 to discuss a possible increase to the minimum wage between 10% and 12.5%. A decision shall be made before November 30.

The discussion will take place in parallel to the Fifth Round of Negotiations of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), where the labor topic was treated.

Canada’s government has insisted in the inequality of salaries among the Mexican, North American and Canadian workers. However, the Mexican business guild considers that equalizing salaries is not possible and the increase must be performed according to the companie’s productivity.

The Employers’ Confederation of the Mexican Republic (COPARMEX) proposed raising the minimum daily wage from 80.04 to 92.25 Mxp. On the other hand, the workers sector has pointed out that the increase should be above 100 Mxp.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Mexico, please contact Oscar De La Vega, Partner at De La Vega & Martinez Rojas S.C. (www.dlvmr.com.mx) at ODelaVega@dlvmr.com.mx

Belgium: Government seeks to boost night work in e-commerce

On 6 November 2017, the Government launched a new programme act covering a wide range of employment-related issues.

One of the proposals is a simplification of night work in e-commerce.

Now, the introduction of night work is quite difficult, because it requires a collective bargaining agreement signed by all trade unions within a company. With the new act, this would no longer be necessary, as the agreement of a single trade union would suffice.

The Government has indicated that this proposal is temporary and subject to an evaluation at the end of 2019.

Please note that before becoming actual legislation, this act still needs to be approved by the Federal Parliament.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Belgium, please contact Chris Van Olmen, Partner at Van Olmen & Wynant (www.vow.be) at chris.van.olmen@vow.be