On March 28, 2017, the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs and three other ministries of China released the Circular on the Full Implementation of the Work Permit System for Foreigners Working in China (the “Circular”). According to the Circular, since the pilot work related to the implementation of the new work permit system for foreigners working in china has been carried out in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanghai, Anhui, Shandong, Guangdong, Sichuan, Yunnan, Ningxia and other regions and made remarkable progress, the new work permit system for foreigners working in China shall be implemented across China as of April 1, 2017. From April 1, foreigners shall apply for the Circular of the People’s Republic of China on the Work Permit for Foreigners (the “Circular on the Work Permit for Foreigners”) and the Work Permit of the People’s Republic of China for Foreigners (the “Work Permit for Foreigners”) before working in China. The relevant visa and residence permit shall be issued to foreign workers based on the aforementioned Circular on the Work Permit for Foreigners and the Work Permit for Foreigners.
On 25 May 2018, the European Data Protection Regulation will go into effect. Many formalities with the body that manages the protection of personal data in France (the CNIL) will disappear. In exchange though, the responsibility of employers will be strengthened. They will have to ensure optimal data protection at every moment and be able to demonstrate it by documenting their compliance. They will also have to manage the risks and put in place internal procedures to protect employees’ personal data. In order to help companies prepare for this deadline, the CNIL has published a practical fact sheet on its website, detailing the various obligations that employers must comply with, through 6 handy steps.
The German Law on Temporary Agency Work (AÜG) has been subject to amendments. The reformed version of the law came into force on 1 April 2017. It should also be considered for existing contracts on personnel leasing.
Auto-enrollment has been phased in over a number of years (depending on the employer’s size) but from 2018, all workers have to be automatically enrolled in their employer’s pension scheme.
For anyone that is eligible, employers will have to make contributions to their workers’ pensions every pay period. This will apply to all workers and employees aged over 22 and of State Pension age, earning at least £10,000 and working in the UK. Workers will have a month to choose not to join the workplace pension, known as an “opt out”. Employers must be careful not to unfairly dismiss or discriminate against employees for being in a workplace pension scheme and cannot encourage their workers, or force them, to opt out.
If the worker takes no action, they will be enrolled in the workplace pension scheme. Workers will then continue to make contributions to their retirement pot from their pay for as long as they are employed or until they take their money out.
If an individual pays income tax and pays into a personal or workplace pension, then the government will also add money to a worker’s workplace pension in the form of tax relief.
Unemployment with a Company Allowance’ (formerly known as “bridging pension”) is a system where an employee who is fired at a certain age, is entitled to a fixed unemployment allowance paid by the State, supplemented with a company allowance paid by his former employer. In principle, an employee must reach the age of 62 and have a career of 40 years (male employees) / 33 years (female employees) (in 2017) to be eligible for this system. However, in addition to this general system, there are multiple exceptions for which the age and career requirements are lower (eg. for employees who work in a heavy occupation or for employees who work in a working time regime with night work). Recently, the National Labour Council adopted multiple Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA’s nrs. 120-126) which determine the age- and career conditions for these deviating systems for the years 2017-2018. Now it is up to the Joint Committees to further implement these national CBA’s at the sector of industry level.
As mentioned in our Web Alert of December 2016, long-term sick employees are encouraged to (partially/progressively) return to work by running through a reintegrationpath. This reintegrationpath is a specific procedure aimed at examining whether an adapted position or an altogether different position can be offered to an employee, who is incapable of continuing to perform the initially agreed upon function. In order to ensure the cooperation of the various actors in this reintegration process, the Government has reached an agreement on the sanctions for not complying with the established rules. This agreement must now be put into legislation. In general, the agreement foresees a fine of 800 EUR for an employer who 1) does not promote the reintegration of a long-term sick employee in his company; or 2) does not timely propose a reintegrationplan (when other adapted work is possible); or 3) does not submit (timely) a motivated report (when other work is not possible). An employee who does not comply with his/her obligations regarding his/her reintegration will be sanctioned with a lowering of his/her incapacity benefit.
Upon receiving Royal Assent and coming into force, federal Bill S-201 would prohibit employers from requiring employees to undergo a genetic test or disclose the results of a genetic test. Bill S-201 would also prohibit discrimination on the ground of genetic characteristics.
Bill S-201 includes broad prohibitions against requiring genetic testing as a condition of providing goods or services, entering into contracts or continuing a contract, or entering into or continuing specific provisions in a contract. Limited exceptions would apply to healthcare practitioners and researchers.
Employers should note that, as per Bill S-201, every person who requires an individual to undergo a genetic test as (a) a condition of providing goods or services to that individual, (b) entering into or continuing a contract or agreement with that individual, or (c) offering or continuing specific terms or conditions in a contract or agreement with that individual, would be liable for fines of up to $1,000,000 upon conviction on indictment or up to $300,000 on a summary conviction, to imprisonment, or both.
Concerns have been raised regarding the constitutionality of this bill. Once it receives Royal Assent, Bill S-201 will likely be referred to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Fine Increase In Personal Data Processing: The President signed the law of 07.02.2017 No. 13-FZ, which increased the penalty for improper processing of personal data. From 01.07.2017, the amendments to the Code of Administrative Offenses of the Russian Federation with regard to punishment for violations in the area of personal data processing will take effect. The new law provides for different penalties depending on the type of violation. In the absence of written consent for processing – from 15 000 rubles (approx. 240 euro) to 75 000 rubles (approx. 1 200 euro); when personal data are processed in violation of the purposes they were collected for – from 30 000 rubles (approx. 480 euro) to 50 000 rubles (approx. 800 euro); when data were not corrected, blocked or destroyed, although the person required this – from 25 000 rubles (approx. 400 euro) to 45 000 rubles (approx. 720 euro); when the operator did not ensure the safety of personal data, and this led to their spread or destruction – from 25 000 rubles (approx. 400 euro) to 50 000 rubles (approx. 800 euro). The legislator also specified that the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Communications, Information Technologies and Mass Communications (Roskomnadzor) now has the right to make protocols on such violations itself.
The Head Of Occupational Safety And Health Department In A Company Does Not Apply To Officials, And Cannot Be Held Accountable In An Administrative Offense: According to the Letter of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Russia of 26.12.2016 No. 15-2 / ООG- 4698, the head of an occupational safety and health department in a company is not considered to be its official, and cannot be held accountable in an administrative offense. Legislation punishes officials who carry out organizational, administrative or administrative-economic functions. Therefore, only a director will be fined for health and safety violations. This position is highly controversial and probably will be contested by employers.
The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 which, interalia, includes increasing maternity benefits to woman covered under the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 from 12 (twelve) weeks to 26 (twenty-six) weeks up to 2 (two) surviving children, in order to allow the mother to take care of the child during his/her most formative stage; providing maternity benefits of 12 (twelve) weeks to commissioning mother and adopting mother; facilitate “work from home” to a mother with mutual consent of the employee and the employer, making mandatory in respect of establishment having 50 (fifty) or more employees; to have the facility of crèche either individually or as a shared common facility within such distance as may be prescribed and also to allow 4 (four) visits to the crèche by the woman daily, including the interval for rest allowed to her; and every establishment to intimate in writing, and electronically, to every woman at the time of her initial appointment, about the benefits available under the said Act.
The new provisions on posted employees were published on 20 March 2017 and will enter into force on Thursday 23 March 2017 (link: http://legilux.public.lu/eli/etat/leg/loi/2017/03/14/a300/jo).
These provisions implement the European Directive 2014/67/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the enforcement of Directive 96/71/EC, concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 on administrative cooperation through the Internal Market Information System (‘the IMI Regulation’).
Amongst others, this implementation entails the introduction of a shared responsibility between a contractor and a sub-contractor including other companies involved towards posted employees and/or unions filing a claim for employees concerned.