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USA: EEOC Pay Reporting Obligations Suspended

In a much-anticipated move, the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) has directed the Acting Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to suspend implementation of the EEOC’s revised EEO-1 report, which included detailed pay reporting obligations.

Prior to this directive issued on August 29, 2017, employers were scheduled to make their first pay disclosures under the revised EEO-1 report by March 31, 2018. Now, no pay disclosures will be required. Employers will use the previous version of the EEO-1 form for Fiscal Year 2017 reporting. OIRA did not change the date of this filing. The report will be due by March 31, 2018. Details about the EEO-1 form can be found at https://www.eeoc.gov/employers/eeo1survey/about.cfm

The OIRA memorandum notes that certain aspects of the revised EEO-1 report “lack practical utility, are unnecessarily burdensome, and do not adequately address privacy and confidentiality issues.” OIRA directed the EEOC to submit a new information collection package for OMB’s review and to publish in the Federal Register a notice stating the revised EEO-1 report is suspended and employers are permitted to use the previously approved EEO-1 form to comply with their FY 2017 reporting obligations.

This puts an end to the EEOC’s multi-year effort under the Obama Administration to collect employer pay information and hours worked data to launch targeted pay discrimination investigations. This is a welcome development for employers due to concerns regarding the significant burden in time and cost of collecting and reporting pay information, as well as confidentiality concerns that were never sufficiently addressed by the EEOC.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in United States, please contact John Sander, Partner at Jackson Lewis P.C. (www.jacksonlewis.com) at John.sander@jacksonLewis.com

UK: Data Protection Bill was published on 14 September 2017

There has been some uncertainty on what the new data protection regime will look like in the UK and the new Bill helps to fill in those gaps. The new regime sets new standards for protecting personal data, giving individuals control over their own personal data, including the right to delete that data (i.e. the “right to be forgotten”) and to restrict data processing.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in United Kingdom, please contact Robert Hill, Partner at Clyde & Co (www.clydeco.com) at robert.hill@clydeco.com

Sweden: Refusal to work overtime – grounds for termination of employment

A factory worker refused to work overtime during a temporary work accumulation. Due to a large order from an important customer the employer had to keep the production running during two weekends in a row. The employee did not sign up for work during the weekends due to personal reasons, even though he was given a warning when he refused to work during the first weekend. The employee was terminated with immediate effect due to the refusal to work.

The Court found that the employer did have objective grounds for the termination, however not without observing the notice period. The Court concluded that the employee did not have adequate reasons to refuse overtime work and, even though he had been given a warning after the first refusal, still refused to work during the second weekend. The Court found that such behaviour constituted objective grounds for termination of the employment with notice. The employer was obligated to pay damages corresponding to the salary during the employee’s notice period as well as general damages to the employee.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Sweden, please contact Robert Stromberg, Partner at Cederquist (www.cederquist.se) at robert.stromberg@cederquist.se

Sweden: Proposal on enforced protection against discrimination as regards inadequate accessibility

The proposition puts forward amendments to the Swedish Discrimination Act regarding inadequate accessibility for people with disabilities. Today said legislation only applies to employers with ten or more employees. However, according to the proposed amendments, employers with fewer than ten employees shall also be covered by the prohibition against inadequate accessibility when the employer conducts business within the supply of goods and services to the public. The amendments are proposed to enter into force on 1 May 2018.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Sweden, please contact Robert Stromberg, Partner at Cederquist (www.cederquist.se) at robert.stromberg@cederquist.se

New Zealand: Pay Equity and Equal Pay Bill to allow employees to make pay equity, equal pay and unlawful discrimination (based on gender) claims

In April 2017, the draft Employment (Pay Equity and Equal Pay) Bill was released for consultation.  The aim of the Bill is to ensure that female dominated workforces are paid correctly and to address any imbalance created by historic and systemic gender based undervaluation.

If implemented, the Bill would amend aspects of the Employment Relations Act 2000 and would repeal the Equal Pay Act 1972 to provide a set of guiding processes and principles to help employers and employees in making, assessing and resolving equal pay and pay equity claims in bargaining. The Bill was proposed in response to the recommendations made by the Joint Working Group on pay equity principles. The Joint Working Group had been set up by the Government in response to the TerraNova pay equity case where female care workers claimed that their pay was undervalued compared to male workers with the same skill set in different occupations, and as a result of historical undervaluation and gender discrimination.

Essentially, the Bill would allow employees to make three types of claims; pay equity, equal pay and unlawful discrimination based on gender. The Bill then sets out the processes for resolving each type of claim.

In an equal pay claim, the claim will be made in the Employment Relations Authority and the employee could seek lost wages and other benefits. Pay equity claims are more complex. The Bill provides that a pay equity claim has merit if the work is predominantly performed by females and there are reasonable grounds to believe the work has been historically undervalued and continues to be undervalued.

Submissions on the Bill closed in May 2017. If the Bill passes, it is likely to have a significant impact on female dominated industries.

 

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

The Netherlands: New Policy Rules on the Imposition of Fines in Working Conditions Legislations as per 1 September 2017

In our Employment Law Tracker of July this year, we reported on the amendments to the Working Conditions Act, which entered into force on 1 July 2017. Amongst other things, the new working conditions legislation stipulates that employers must have a written contract with an occupational health and safety service agency in place and it provides the minimum requirements as to such a contract.

Subsequently, as per 1 September 2017, also the Policy Rules on the Imposition of Fines in Working Conditions Legislations have been amended. The amendments provide for administrative penalties for violations of the obligations that were introduced by the new working conditions legislation. For example, in case the employer does not have a contract with an occupational health and safety service agency in place, the employer can be fined with an immediate penalty of EUR 1,500.

The amended policy rules apply with immediate effect to all new contracts concluded after 1 July 2017. All existing contracts between employers and their occupational health and safety service agencies must comply with the new regulations before 1 July 2018. The Labor Inspectorate will enforce the new regulations.

Not only employers, but also the occupational health and safety service agencies can be fined according to the new policy rules.

The fines vary between categories 2 or 3. The standard fine in category 2 is EUR 750 and in category 3 EUR 1500.

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: Canada demands compliance of the 8 Fundamental ILO Conventions

During the first round of negotiations of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Canada delivered a text based on the need to comply with the 8 Fundamental Conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO), considering this the best way to have stable and open labor markets.

The 8 Fundamental ILO Conventions address topics such as the freedom of association and protection of the right to organize (No. 87); the right to organize and collective bargaining (No. 98); the abolition of forced labor (No. 105); the minimum age for work (No. 138); the worst forms of child labor (No. 182); equal remuneration (No. 100); and discrimination (employment and occupation) (No. 111).

Canada ratified ILO Convention No. 98 on June 14, 2017, which will enter into force for that country the following year, and by doing so it completed the list of 8 Fundamental Conventions.

Mexico has ratified 7 of the 8 Fundamental ILO Conventions and is likely to also ratify Convention No. 98, still pending.

As part of the second round of the NAFTA negotiations, on Monday, September 4, 2017 Mexico’s Minister of Labor met with the labor working team.

The United States has also included the labor topic in its agenda.

Companies with operations in Mexico must be prepared for a significant change in the way to conduct labor relations for a transition to a more independent and fair collective bargaining system.

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

Luxembourg: Amendments to the legal provisions on State aids for professional training sessions

Amongst others, the new legal provisions determine that, for training sessions outside the normal working hours, the employees are entitled to either a financial compensation or additional time off. Depending on the total headcount, there is a cap applied for the State aids in this respect.

Link to complete law amendments (in French): http://legilux.public.lu/eli/etat/leg/loi/2017/08/29/a798/jo

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Luxembourg, please contact Christian Jungers, Partner at KLEYR | GRASSO (www.kleyrgrasso.com) at christian.jungers@kleyrgrasso.com

Luxembourg: Amendments to the legal provisions combating long-term unemployment

Here are the main amendments: In order for the employer to benefit from the aids, the unemployed person has to be at least 45 years old. The duration of the financial aid is limited to 2 years if the unemployed person is between 45 and 49 years old, but is expanded until the age of the retirement if he/she is over 50 years old.

Link to complete law amendments (in French): http://legilux.public.lu/eli/etat/leg/loi/2017/07/20/a684/jo

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Luxembourg, please contact Christian Jungers, Partner at KLEYR | GRASSO (www.kleyrgrasso.com) at christian.jungers@kleyrgrasso.com

India: Cabinet approves introduction of the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017 (the “Amendment”) in the Parliament

The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 (the “Gratuity Act”) applies to establishments employing 10 or more persons. The main purpose for enacting the Gratuity Act is to provide social security to employees after retirement, whether retirement is a result of the rules of superannuation, or physical disablement or impairment of vital part of the body. Considering the inflation and wage increase in general, the Central Government has expressed that the entitlement of gratuity should be revised for employees who are covered under the Gratuity Act and therefore, this Amendment has been approved by the Cabinet. However, it remains to be seen how soon the Parliament passes the Amendment.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in India, please contact Avik Biswas, Partner at IndusLaw (www.induslaw.com) at avik.biswas@induslaw.com