As reported in April 2016, the Central Government had, on February 10, 2016, notified amendments to the Employees’ Provident Funds Scheme. Following protests from employees of various sectors, the Central Government withdrew these amendments to the Act via a notification dated April 19, 2016. The original provisions of the Act remain valid and include: (a) the employee can still re-register with the Employees Provident Fund Organization as a “new member” upon taking a new employment; (b) employees who are migrating outside India or taking up employment abroad can still withdraw their full Provident Fund accumulations prior to leaving India; and (c) an employee can still, after 2 months following the cessation of his/her employment, make a full withdrawal of all Provident Fund accumulations.
The National Institute for Social Security Contributions’ recent declaration that more than 100.000 employees received social security contributions reductions, though they were not entitled to, has sparked an important public discussion on how the Government can remedy this error.
i) On 1 April 2016, the adult minimum wage went up by 50 cents to NZD15.25 per hour. ii) Employment confidence rose 3.3 points to 104.8 in the March quarter, according to The Westpac-McDermott Miller Employment Confidence Index.
As per the updated penal procedure, fruit of the poisonous tree may now be used. This means that an illegally recorded conversation between employer, client, or member of the board of executives will be treated as valid evidence by a court. Illegally obtained evidence was prohibited before the amendment was implemented.
The following extension decrees were recently issued on existing collective agreements that determine that the provisions of these agreements are thereafter applicable to all employees and employers within a specific business area or industry: i) Provisions contained in the collective agreement between Easyjet Airline (Portuguese Branch) and the Civil Aviation Flight Union (SNPVAC) are extended on the mainland territory to the employment relationships between the same employer and non-unionized cabin crew employees. ii) Provisions in the collective agreement between the Association of Food Distributors (ADIPA) and food retailing Unions are extended to all employers engaged in food product retailing, including drinks, fruit, vegetables and seeds, and employees at their service (regardless of their affiliation).
Due to recent legal procedural provisions, there has been an increase in the number of cases where the Supreme Court is called to issue generally applicable guiding rulings on employment law related issues, in order to avoid having contradictory lower court rulings. The Romanian legal system does not recognize binding precedents, but allows the Supreme Court to provide judicial interpretation on matters that are not clearly regulated and might generate contradictory rulings. This new development might lead to a more predictable judicial outcome in the future.
i) Job cuts in South Africa have occurred across most sectors leading to a sharp rise in unemployment in the first quarter of 2016, rising to 26.7% from 24.5% in the last quarter of 2015. ii) Collective industrial relations in the metal and engineering industries have become dysfunctional, with the Bargaining Council for the Metal and Engineering Industry (MEIBC) suffering a financial crisis and the employers and union in the council unable to reach an agreement on a number of issues, resulting in the council being unable to fulfill its dispute resolution functions for some time.
The Government will launch a consultation this month on how to implement its proposals to extend Shared Parental Leave to working grandparents by 2018.
For the first time, companies have a federal private right of action for misappropriation of trade secrets in the U.S. The Defend Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”), signed by President Barack Obama on May 11, 2016, applies to any misappropriation of trade secrets that occurs on or after the signing date. Until now, companies victimized by trade-secret theft were limited to state law and state court civil actions to enjoin perpetrators and their new employers or business partners from benefitting from the theft and to seek a remedy for violations that have already occurred. With its federal forum and federal remedy, the DTSA, over time, will create a nationwide body of law and provide a degree of predictability to company litigants. The DTSA does not preempt state trade secrets laws, however, and state law and state courts will remain an option for victims of trade secret theft.
As of 1 May 2016, the amendments on the Social Penal Code entered into force, specifically with regard to the prevention of violence, moral and sexual harassment at work, different sanctions took effect. As almost every non-respect (or incorrect application) of the obligations is henceforth sanctioned, employers are strongly encouraged to comply with the rules on the prevention of psychosocial risks at work. In addition, another important change was the (re)introduction of sanctions against workers (or the self-employed or civil servants) who perform undeclared work, even if they do not receive replacement incomes.