Impending Changes of Legislation

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Germany: New German government intends to make several changes in employment law legislation over the next four years

The coalition agreement in particular contains the following legislative proposals that shall be implemented over the next four years:

  • The possibility to validly agree on a fixed term employment agreement without objective grounds shall be limited. Companies with more than 75 employees shall only be allowed to enter into fixed term agreements with maximum 2.5 % of the staff. The maximum permissible duration of the fixed term shall be limited to 18 months instead of 24 months. Additionally, the practice of repeated fixed-term employment shall be restricted.
  • Employees shall obtain a claim to temporary part-time for a period between one and five years. Such claim shall only be applicable in companies with at least 45 employees.
  • The existing opportunity to elect a works council through a simplified, less formal process will be expanded. In the future, it shall always be applicable in establishments with up to 100 employees, compared to the current threshold of 50 employees.
  • On-call work shall be restricted further.
For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Germany, please contact Tobias Pusch, Partner at Pusch Wahlig Legal ( at

France: The condition of validity for collective agreements changes on May 1 , 2018

The labor law of 8 August 2016 provided for the gradual entry into force of the majority conditions of collective labor agreements: since 1 January 2017, agreements on work hours, rest and holidays must be signed by one or more representative unions with more than 50% of the votes cast in favor of representative unions. This majority requirement was to be extended to all agreements as of September 1, 2019. One of the Macron Ordinances has moved up this generalization to May 1, 2018.

Agreements signed by representative unions that have received between 30 and 50% of the vote will be valid if they are approved by a majority of the employees.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in France, please contact Joël Grangé, Partner at Flichy Grangé Avocats ( at

Canada: Proposed Legislation Targets the Wage Gap between Men and Women in Ontario

According to a news release issued by the Ontario Government, the gender wage gap in Ontario has remained stagnant for the last decade, with women earning approximately 30 per cent less than men.

On March 6, 2018, the Ontario Government introduced Then Now Next: Ontario’s Strategy for Women’s Economic Empowerment, which outlines a three year plan to increase gender equity, challenge bias and eliminate barriers women face at work, at home and in their communities. The strategy includes the introduction of Bill 203, the Pay Transparency Act, 2018 (“Bill 203” or the “proposed legislation”). If Bill 203 is passed, Ontario will become the first province in Canada to legislate pay transparency.

The proposed legislation, if passed, will accomplish the following:

  • Prohibit employers from asking for compensation history information about an external applicant applying for a job.
  • Require employers who advertise external job postings for specific jobs that are advertised to the general public to include information about the expected compensation for the position in the posting. This requirement will not apply to recruitment campaigns, general “help wanted” signs, or positions that are advertised to existing employees only.
  • Require prescribed employers to file and post pay transparency reports that contain information relating to the employer, the employer’s workforce composition and differences in compensation in the employer’s workforce with respect to gender and other characteristics. The Ministry of Labour may publish an employer’s pay transparency report, or otherwise make it available to the public.
  • Prohibit employers from intimidating, dismissing, or otherwise penalizing an employee or threatening to do so because an employee has made inquiries about the employee’s compensation, disclosed the employee’s compensation to other employees, made inquiries about pay transparency reports, given information regarding the employer’s compliance to the Ministry of Labour or asked the employer to comply with the legislation. Where it is found that an employee’s employment was terminated in reprisal, the Ontario Labour Relations Board will have the power to reinstate the employee.
  • Provide for compliance measures, including investigations into possible contraventions and compliance inspections. The amount(s) of the penalty for contraventions is yet to be determined by regulations made under the proposed legislation.

Bill 203 must move through the second and third reading stages before being passed. If passed, Bill 203 will become law on January 1, 2019. The pay transparency report requirements will begin with the Ontario Public Service, then extend to employers with more than 500 employees, and eventually will apply to employers with more than 250 employees.

If the proposed legislation becomes law, employers must ensure that all hiring and pay practices comply with Bill 203 and must be sure to file and post pay transparency reports, as prescribed.

We will continue to monitor the status of Bill 203 as it proceeds through the legislative process and will provide further updates as needed.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Canada, please contact Robert Bayne, Partner at Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti ( at

USA: Changes to ERISA’s Disability Claims Regulations Coming April 1

Employers who offer short-term and long-term disability plans governed by ERISA (and their plan administrators) need to prepare for the approaching deadline. This article provides background on the flux of the regulations and offers steps to take now to ensure timely compliance.

Like a few of the DOL’s regulations in the past year, ERISA disability claims handling regulations were caught up in the change of White House administration. The DOL initially published the final regulations (Final Rule) on December 19, 2016. The Final Rule revised the claims procedure rules for ERISA-covered employee disability benefit plans. It was made effective January 18, 2017, with a delayed applicability until January 1, 2018, in order to provide adequate time for disability benefit plans, employers, and third party administrators (TPAs) to understand the changes and adjust disability claims administration processes, notifications, plan language, and claim filing systems.

On February 24, 2017, President Donald Trump issued Executive Order 13777 (“E.O. 13777”) with the intent of reducing the regulatory burden. A Regulatory Reform Task Force was directed to evaluate existing regulations and make recommendations regarding regulations that can be repealed, replaced, or modified to make them less burdensome.

As a result of E.O. 13777, certain stakeholders wrote the DOL, claiming the Final Rule will drive up disability benefit plan costs, cause an increase in litigation, and, consequently, impair workers’ access to disability insurance protections. Subsequently, in the summer of 2017, the DOL announced that it would revisit the Final Rule. On October 12, 2017, the DOL issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) proposing a 90-day delay to the Final Rule’s applicability date and providing the public and stakeholders an additional opportunity to submit comments and data concerning the potential impact of the ERISA disability claims regulations.

Throughout the second half of 2017, employers, plan administrators, and TPAs were in limbo about whether, or to what extent, to implement ERISA’s regulatory changes.


Action Items for Employers, Plan Administrators, and TPAs

The following are provisions in the Final Rule and actions employers should consider, if applicable:

  • Conflict of interest criteria: The regulations add specifics on the impartiality and independence of claims adjudicators, service providers, and vendors.

► Action item: Double check that vendor contracts (including those with medical and vocational experts) and employment relationships do not tie financial incentives and employment decisions to claim outcomes, such as providing bonuses for denied claims.

  • Expanded benefit denial notice information: This requires benefit denial notices to expand upon the reasons and criteria relied upon when denying benefits, including a detailed explanation for disagreeing with the claimant’s treating physician or a Social Security Administration determination.

Action item: Ensure that internal plan administrators or TPAs have the required information in any adverse benefit notification (a/k/a denial letter) that are sent to employees.

  • Provide claimant a right to review and respond to new information (such as a physician review report or transferrable skills assessment) as soon as it is available and determined to be relied upon during the appeal process, and before an appeal-level denial is issued.

Action item: Ensure the plan’s appeal administration includes this process. The DOL did not change the 45-day deadline by which a plan must make a decision on an appeal request, so this additional step will put significant pressure on the decision deadline. If a claimant-employee receives the new information and wishes to rebut the information, it may be prudent, in certain circumstances, to allow the claimant an extension of time to provide rebuttal information and the plan administrator to review the employee’s response.

  • Consequences if the plan does not establish or adhere to claims processing rules or if plans are retroactively rescinded. If a disability plan is retroactively rescinded, the plan’s appeals process is triggered immediately. Claimants can skip the plan’s claims procedures (including the appeal process) if the plan administrator does not follow those procedures. If a claimant requests an explanation for why a plan failed to follow the plan’s claims procedures, the plan administrator must respond in writing in 10 days.

Action item: In order to minimize litigation risk, ensure the plan administration process is always followed and that any minor deviation is noted with sufficient explanation in the claim filed. If a plan administrator receives a request from the claimant or his or her representative to explain why the plan’s claims process was not followed, the employer should consider emphasizing to the administrator the importance of providing a timely written response. Employers and plan administrators should agree upon the response process, including who will provide the written response. If possible, employers should avoid rescinding plans retroactively.

  • Non-English language notices: The plan must make translation services available to certain claimants who speak languages other than English. This includes oral language services to assist with claim and appeal filing, translated notices upon request, and information to claimants about how to receive these language services. If a claimant’s address is in a county where at least 10 percent of the population is literate only in the same non-English language, denial letters must include a prominent statement in that non-English language about the availability of translation services. The plan must provide a copy of the applicable letter or notice in that language upon the claimant’s request.

Action item: Check with plan administrator to ensure a translation vendor is available for both oral and written translations, and negotiate the cost of the service. In addition, employers should provide plan administrators with employee census information. This allows the administrator to determine if a claimant’s address is in a county that requires the translated language service notifications. The DOL provides county information on its website.

  • Contractual limitations period: If the plan sets forth a limitation period in which the claimant can bring suit for a denial of benefits, then the benefit denial notification must include a description of the contractual limitations period and the actual calendar expiration date.

Action items: Limitation language is recommended in disability plans. Without this language, courts will rely on state law. Employers need to make sure any limitation to filing suit is calculable to an exact deadline, because that date must be provided to a claimant whose claim for benefits is denied at the final appeal level.

More information on the Final Rule, including our complimentary webinar, can be found here. The DOL’s fact sheet also provides further information.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in United States, please contact John Sander, Principal at Jackson Lewis P.C. ( at

UAE: Insurance Authority Emiratisation Special Guide

The guide provides detail and clarification on the Emiratisation expectation, target calculation methodology and implementation requirements.  Target points are determined based on total premiums generated by companies.  The schedule to the guide prescribes the points companies are expected to attain for 2018, with the premium bracket starting at zero and going up to AED 20,000,000,000.  Emiratisation targets can be achieved in the following ways:

  1. Up to 10% of the Emiratisation target can be achieved by measuring the average spend on training and development per UAE national in the company. The Guide provides a sliding scale table, with the company having to spend an average of AED 10,000 or more per UAE national on training and development in order to be allocated the full 10%;
  2. Up to 10% of the Emiratisation target can be achieved by calculating the percentage of UAE nationals holding senior management positions within the company. The Guide sets out a sliding scale table and requires companies to have 15% or more UAE nationals in senior management positions in order to achieve the full 10%; and
  3. The bulk of the target is made up of the number of UAE nationals the company employs and the type of role they occupy, with top management positions earning higher points than those in middle management and non-administrative roles. Further points are awarded to those occupying professional roles.
For more information, please contact L&E Global.

Saudi Arabia: Ministry of Labour and Social Development Decision No. 88478 dated 1439H regarding Labour Law violations and penalties

The revised table sets out the penalties employers can expect to be subject to in the event they violate specific provisions of the Labour Law. By way of example, employers who allow non-Saudi employees to work in a role other than the one specified in their work permit will be subject to a fine of SAR 10,000. The fines imposed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Development must be settled by employers within one month of the issuance date, failing which the amount due to the Ministry will be doubled. Furthermore, the table is subject to change, and may be amended as and when required in line with the labour market requirements. The Decision came into force on 9 February 2018.

For more information, please contact L&E Global.

Romania: New Government Ordinance to set transitory tax rules for employees

According to the new fiscal regime part-time employees had to pay social contributions for the minimum wage that was established for a full-time monthly activity, leading to situation where the social contributions were extremely high. Also employees with disabilities and employees in the IT industry were subject to a different fiscal regime. Government Ordinance No. 3/2018 was issued in order to limit the negative consequences the new tax legislation had on specific types of employees. In order to maintain a comparable net wage for most of the employees, new rules on how social contributions are calculated were implemented. According to the new rules the number of employees that were negatively affected by the new Fiscal Code has been diminished. On the Government agenda for the next period is identifying solutions for other issues such as the diminishment of the income the employees receive when on medical leave (including pre and post natal medical leave) that was also affected by the new tax legislation.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Romania, please contact Magda Volonciu and Associates

Poland: Occupational pension schemes

Polish government plans to introduce occupational pension schemes. Those schemes will be obligatory for all employees. Part of pension’s contribution will be paid by employee, by employer (each from 1,5% up to 4%) and the government additionally shall add 60 Euros per year. Amount paid for occupational pension scheme shall be excluded from the social contributions. The duty to have such plans shall gradually come into force from January 2019 until July 2020.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Poland, please contact A. Sobczyk & Wspólpracownicy

The Netherlands: Summary of legislative changes

A number of changes have been introduced in the area of employment law in NL, with effect from 1 January 2018. We have made a list of the most important legislative amendments and the changes. This is ‘Part I’, for the tracker:

Amendment to the Minimum Wage Act with effect from 1 January 2018

The Minimum Wage and Minimum Holiday Allowance Act (WML) has been amended with effect from 1 January 2018. One of the purposes of this amendment is to prevent unfair competition on the basis of working conditions. We have made a list of the main changes.

Minimum wage for additional work, piecework and remuneration agreements

With effect from 1 January 2018, the minimum wage will also apply to additional work, piecework, and remuneration agreements.

Additional work

In the case of overtime (additional work), employees must earn on average at least the minimum wage for the total number of hours worked. Suppose an employee has a contract for 40 hours per week but in practice works 60 hours per week. The salary that the employee receives on the basis of 40 hours per week must on average still be equal to the minimum hourly wage if the starting salary were to be divided by 60 hours per week. This amendment will also apply to employees who work on a part-time basis and work additional hours.

As an alternative to paying the minimum wage for overtime hours, the employer can compensate the value of those hours in the form of time off in lieu. This means that an employee will be compensated for overtime hours worked at another time. This compensation is only possible if the employee has agreed to this in writing before 1 July 2018. With effect from 1 January 2019, compensation in the form of time off in lieu will only be possible if the applicable collective agreement provides for this possibility.

Holiday allowance on additional work

With effect from 1 January 2018, earnings from overtime will be part of the WML wage concept. As described above, this means that employees will be entitled to the statutory minimum wage for every hour worked. Employees will not only be entitled to a minimum wage but also to an 8% holiday allowance in respect of the overtime hours.

Piecework pay

Piecework pay is the payment of wages for a previously agreed unit of a product. For example, it is possible to agree with a mail deliverer that a certain amount will be paid for each item delivered. With effect from 1 January 2018, employees working on a piecework basis will also be entitled to the minimum wage per hour worked on average. In practice, this means that a record must be kept of how many hours a parcel delivery person spends on delivering parcels. The administration must show that the employee receives on average at least the minimum wage for the number of hours worked on an assignment.

Remuneration Agreement

The minimum wage applies not only to employees but also to persons who work on the basis of a remuneration agreement.

Please note: The minimum wage does not apply to self-employed persons, i.e. persons working on the basis of this agreement in the independent practice of their profession or business. However, it does apply, for example, to students who occasionally give extra tuition on the basis of a contract for services.

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 ( at

Canada: Bill C-65 proposes changes to workplace harassment legislation applicable to federally regulated employers and workplaces

The Hon. Patty Hajdu, federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, is sponsoring Bill C-65, new proposed federal legislation aimed at providing better recourse for employees of federally regulated employers with respect to harassment and violence in the workplace. Bill C-65 would make a number of amendments to Parts II and III of the Canada Labour Code.

If passed in its current form, Bill C-65 would allow those employees who believe they have been victims of harassment or violence, or who have witnessed these behaviours, to attempt an informal resolution with their employer. If the matter is not resolved informally, the employer would then be obligated to appoint a competent person to undertake an investigation. Once an investigation report has been issued, federally regulated employers would then be obligated to implement any recommendations or corrective measures set out in that report. If at any time during this process the employee believes that a contravention of the Canada Labour Code has taken place, the employee would be entitled to file a complaint with the Labour Program. The Program would then be empowered to investigate such complaint and potentially take enforcement action.

While the employer obligations set out in Bill C-65 have not yet been passed into law, as Bill C-65 is a government-sponsored bill it is likely that this Bill will eventually introduce new obligations for federally regulated employers operating in Canada. Federally regulated employers would therefore be well advised to carefully monitor the progress of this Bill.

For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Canada, please contact Robert Bayne, Partner at Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti ( at