Impending Changes of Legislation

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UK Finance Bill 2017 amendments

The Finance Bill 2017 has been fast-tracked through the legislative process, in light of the snap general election being held on 8 June 2017. In doing so, the government has left out of the Bill changes to the taxation of termination payments. Those changes included measures:

  • requiring employers to subject to tax an amount equivalent to the employee’s basic pay if notice is not worked
  • making all termination payments subject to class 1A National Insurance Contributions above the £30,000 threshold

It is anticipated that the provisions that have been deferred will reappear, and be debated in full, after the general election.

For more information, please contact L&E Global.

Italy: Government eliminated the norms on the voucher system

Through decree law no. 25/2017, the Italian government has eliminated all the norms on the voucher system. The system involved vouchers that employers could acquire at the social security body (INPS) or even in tobacco stores, and provide them to workers as payment. It will no longer be possible for anyone to use these vouchers, not families, companies or the public administration. A transitional phase is foreseen for the voucher system: it will be possible to use them until the end of the year and those who have bought them before the introduction of the decree law are allowed to be able to spend them. The effect of the decree law is to make the vouchers unusable in the long term for part time or temporary jobs. With the publication of the government’s decree, a regulatory vacuum is likely to be created.

For more information, please contact LABLAW – Studio Legale our member firm in this country.

Germany: Amendments to the Maternity Protection Act (MuSchG)

The changes to the Maternity Protection Act (MuSchG) as mentioned in previous Employment Law Trackers, will come into force on 1 January 2018. The fundamental modernization of the law will balance health protection for the expectant mother and her self-determined participation in the working life. For more details see Employment Law Tracker of March 2017.

For more information, please contact Pusch Wahlig Legal our member firm in this country.

France: Emmanuel Macron elected president of France: what should we expect from his program in terms of employment and labour law?

Elected President of the Republic on 7 May 2017, Emmanuel Macron made numerous proposals to reform social law in France. In particular, he plans to reduce employers’ social security contributions, restore social welfare exemptions (employer and employee) from overtime, penalize employers who use short contracts “unreasonably”, merge the employee representative bodies, and increase the level of negotiation at company level. He also wants to implement a mandatory ceiling for redundancy payments without a real and serious cause. He also wishes to intervene in health law and promote vocational training.

In order to act very quickly, he is considering reforming via ordinance, that is, by enabling Parliament to authorize the government to take measures that must then only be ratified by the Parliament. However, this still requires an authorization from Parliament. Obtaining a majority in Parliament in the elections of 10 and 17 June is therefore essential to enable him to embark on his reforms this summer.

For more information, please contact Flichy Grangé Avocats our member firm in this country.

China: The PRC Cyber Security Law will take effect soon

The Cyber Security Law of the People’s Republic of China (the “Law”) released on November 7, 2016 will take effect as of June 1, 2017.  The Law defines personal information and provides that any individual or organization shall neither acquire personal information by stealing or in other illegal ways, nor illegally sell or provide personal information to others. Particularly, the Law imposes strict responsibility of personal data protection on network operators, which include companies providing services through the Internet. We are expecting that more regulations on personal data protection will be released and may have a significant impact on online service providers. In this context, employers should also be cautious in collecting and using employees’ personal information for employment purposes and enhance protection of employees’ personal information.

For more information, please contact Zhong Lun Law Firm our affiliated member firm in this country.

Canada: New Brunswick moves to introduce new statutory holiday, proposes significant amendments to its Human Rights Act.

Bill 67, An Act Respecting Family Day, which received Royal Assent on May 5, 2017, adds a new statutory holiday, Family Day, to the New Brunswick Employment Standards Act as well as to a number of other provincial statutes. The new statutory holiday will be starting next year and will fall on the third Monday of the month of February. New Brunswick will be joining eight other Canadian jurisdictions that already observe Family Day.

Bill 51, An Act to Amend the Human Rights Act, received third reading on April 26, 2017 and has been referred to the Standing Committee on Economic Policy. This bill is expected to pass in the near future. Bill 51 would amend the New Brunswick Human Rights Act to include family status as well as gender identity or expression as new prohibited grounds of discrimination. The bill would also amend the definitions of physical and mental disability under the Act.

New Brunswick is one of the last Canadian provinces and territories seeking to incorporate protections for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals in human rights and vital statistics statutes. Notably, the Yukon government also introduced a transgender rights bill on or about April 25, 2017.

For more information, please contact Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti our member firm in this country.

Belgium: A new codex on the well-being of workers is forthcoming

The new codex on the well-being of workers bundles the various legislation issued since 1993, on the implementation of the Act of 4 August 1996 on the well-being of workers. The codex is a coordination of the existing legislation, and does not affect the content of the legislation. However, some texts have been modified on a number of points to facilitate their readability and to establish a first form of administrative simplification. The main innovation is that the concepts used in the regulations are unambiguously defined so that the terminology used throughout the codex is the same. Furthermore, all stakeholders will now have one single instrument, which consolidates all relevant regulatory provisions on the well-being of workers, which improves the accessibility of the legislation. The codex will be published in the Belgian Official Gazette within a short period of time.

For more information, please contact Van Olmen & Wynant our member firm in this country.

Australia: Changes to anti-discrimination legislation take effect

The Australian Human Rights Commission Act 1984 (Cth) (“AHRC Act”) establishes the Australian Human Rights Commission (“AHRC”) as the Federal government body responsible for investigating and conciliating complaints about alleging discrimination (including discrimination in employment). The AHRC Act also sets out the procedure by which complainants may escalate their complaints to the courts, and the powers of courts to issue remedies for breaches of anti-discrimination legislation.

On 13 April 2017, the Human Rights Legislation Amendment Act 2017 (Cth) came into effect. This amending legislation makes a number of significant changes to the AHRC Act. These changes include the following:

  • the AHRC has the power to not inquire into allegation of unlawful discrimination if an investigation is not warranted or there is no reasonable prospect of the matter being settled by conciliation;
  • the AHRC is required to act expeditiously in the handling of complaints, with a view of completing investigations within 12 months from the date that the complaint was made;
  • the AHRC may terminate a complaint of discrimination (and therefore not investigate the complaint) if it is made more than 6 months (instead of 12 months) after the alleged conduct occurred;
  • all allegations in complaints to the AHRC must be reasonably arguable and complainants must set out their allegations as fully as practicable in their complaints;
  • complainants must seek the leave of the court before progressing their complaints from the AHRC to the Court (with some exceptions); and
  • courts may take into account settlement offers exchanged while the complaint was under investigation by the AHRC in determining whether to award costs in favour of one or more parties.
For more information, please contact Harmers Workplace Lawyers our member firm in this country.

France: European Data Protection Regulation enters into force on 24 May 2018

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.

For more information, please contact Flichy Grangé Avocats our member firm in this country.