Employment Law Updates for March 2017

L&E Global is pleased to present you with the most recent employment law updates for March 2017.

Employment Law Tracker

 

Australia

Latest Case Law: Australia: Employers must take care when Paying Annualised Salaries to Award Covered Employees A recent Western Australian Industrial Relations Court decision regarding annualised salaries paid to Modern Award covered employees, serves as an important reminder of the importance of identifying, and carefully complying with applicable Modern Awards.

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Other Observations: Australia: Fair Work Commission Announces Changes to Penalty Rates The Fair Work Commission recently announced important changes to Sunday and public holiday penalty rates payable to employees working in specific industries in Australia. These changes will require amendments to be made to a number of Modern Awards, and will result in a slight reduction in the penalty rates payable for affected employees working on Sundays and public holidays only. » Read More

Important Changes to Annual Leave for Modern Award-Covered Employees The Fair Work Commission made a number of important changes to annual leave for employees covered by a Modern Award, relating to the cashing out of annual leave and directions to take annual leave. » Read More

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Belgium

Latest Case Law: Belgium: Refusing a working place-change, reason for a dismissal for serious cause? The Labour Court of Appeal of Brussels ruled that the refusal of an employee to accept a change of working place, which was agreed upon by a company collective bargaining agreement, constituted a reason for a dismissal for serious cause by the employer. » Read More

Impending Changes of Legislation: Belgium: New employment law reforms A new bill was published which reforms Belgian employment law in order to make the Belgian economy more competitive and to improve the work/life balance of the employees. Two of the most important changes are “the performance of 100 voluntary overtime hours by the employee” and the introduction of “occasional telework”. » Read More

Belgium: Reform of the legislation regarding the medical examination of employees A Royal Decree has reformed the rules regarding the medical examination of employees. Some changes are of particular interest for the employer. » Read More

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Canada

Latest Case Law: Canada: Ontario Court of Appeal Rules on Employment Termination Clause In the recent decision Wood v. Fred Deeley Imports Ltd., 2017 ONCA 158, the Ontario Court of Appeal determined that a termination clause in an employment contract contravened the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000, SO 2000, c 41 (the “ESA”) and was therefore unenforceable because it: (i) excluded the employer’s obligation to continue benefits during the statutory notice period; and (ii) did not satisfy the employer’s obligation to provide severance pay. » Read More

Impending Changes of Legislation: Canada: British Columbia member’s bill aims to ban mandatory wearing of high heels in restaurants and bars. British Columbia member’s Bill M 237, Workers Compensation Amendment Act, 2017 would require the Workers Compensation Board to establish standards that must not vary on the basis of workers’ gender, gender expression, or gender identity. While the wording of the amendment is broad, Bill M 237 was introduced specifically for the purpose of restricting employers from requiring employees to wear high heels. British Columbia’s Premier has publicly backed the purpose of the bill and has indicated the government will take action to end the practice of requiring women to wear heels on the job. » Read More

Other Observations: Canada: Ontario Introduces Three Year Anti-Racism Strategic Plan The Strategic Plan seeks to break down barriers for racialized people across Ontario, including Black, Indigenous and other racialized communities. » Read More

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China

Latest Case Law: China: Employers in Shanghai may have legal risk to designate the hospital where employees should obtain sick leave certificates Recent ruling held that the employer is entitled to question the sick leave certificate submitted by the employee, but the employer’s request that the employee shall submit the sick leave certificate issued by the hospital designated by the employer is groundless. » Read More

Impending Changes of Legislation: China: If the employer does not take effective measures to prevent and stop sexual harassment, the employer may need to pay economic compensation to the female employees when they resign. The latest Draft of the Special Provisions of Jiangsu Province on Labor Protection of Female Employees provides that if the employer does not take effective measures to prevent and stop sexual harassment which results in the unilateral termination by the female employee, the employer shall pay economic compensation. » Read More

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France

Latest Case Law: France: Reimbursement of fees for the health and safety committee A judge may limit the legal costs incurred by the health, safety and working conditions committee (CHSCT) in the event of a challenge by the employer. » Read More

Impending Changes of Legislation: France: Obligation of duty of care for parent and ordering companies The law on the duty of care of the parent companies and ordering companies has been adopted. This text will force multinationals to prevent risks in their activities, but also in those of their subcontractors, relating to the areas of human rights, health and safety, and the environment. » Read More

Other Observations: The Court of Justice of the European Union has held that it is possible to restrict or even ban the wearing of the veil in companies In two highly awaited judgments, the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that a company rule may, under certain conditions, prohibit the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign. In the absence of such a rule, merely taking into account the wishes of a client cannot justify the prohibition of an employee wearing an Islamic headscarf. » Read More

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Germany

Latest Case Law: Germany: Remuneration for the time needed by an employee to change into work clothing The German Federal Labour Court ruled that an employee is entitled to remuneration for the time needed to change from his/her personal clothing into work clothing before and after work, if it is mandatory for the employee to wear certain clothing during work, which must be put on and taken off at the employer’s establishment. » Read More

Germany: Compensation for discrimination due to severe disability A discrimination under the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) can only be assumed in case the facts indicate that one of the criteria stated in the law (e.g. race, gender, religion, disability) was most probably the cause for the disadvantageous treatment of the employee. It is not sufficient if it is only possible that the discrimination was based on one of these criteria. » Read More

Impending Changes of Legislation: Germany: Amendments to the Maternity Protcetion Act (MuSchG) The German government intends to introduce changes to the Maternity Protection Act (MuSchG). » Read More

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Netherlands

Latest Case Law: The Netherlands: An employer may be expected to guide its employee through the process of an improvement plan and formulate clear, concrete and measurable goals The initiative to draft the plan was completely placed upon as the responsibility of the employee. Where possible, the employer should offer (external) coaching and assistance (e.g. training). » Read More

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Spain

Latest Case Law: Spain: Video surveillance systems allow disciplinary dismissals without notifying the employee A new Supreme Court ruling on video surveillance systems has ruled that such systems allow dismissals on disciplinary grounds, even if the employee has not been informed that the images recorded could be used for disciplinary purposes. » Read More

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United Kingdom

Latest Case Law: UK: Employment status -self-employed plumber succeeds in persuading court he’s a worker. The Court of Appeal has confirmed that a plumber engaged on the basis that he was a self-employed contractor, was a ‘worker’ for employment protection purposes and therefore, entitled to basic workers’ rights such as the right to paid annual leave, right to national minimum wage, whistleblowing protections and protection from discrimination. » Read More

UK – Data Protection – obligations when responding to a ‘Data Subject Access Request’ The Court of Appeal has considered the role of ‘privilege’ as an exemption for complying with a Data Subject Access Request, finding that relying on privilege under UK law will be acceptable but that no reliance could be placed on the laws of privilege of another nation. Further, although those in receipt of a request for personal data can assert that it would involve disproportionate effort to respond, the Court of Appeal confirmed that it must involve something more than an assertion that it is too difficult to search through voluminous papers. Finally, the Court of Appeal confirmed that the fact that the request had been made in the context of litigation did not mean that the obligation to respond to the request was lifted. » Read More

Impending Changes of Legislation: UK: Brexit Bill – Royal Assent expected soon The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill has been debated by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. The Commons have considered and rejected the amendments which were put forwards by the Lords on 13 March 2017. Royal Assent is expected before the end of March 2017. » Read More

Other Observations: UK: The Government’s Spring Budget The Government’s Spring Budget announced tax changes that would impact on the self-employed, but a week later, these were reversed. Additional funding was announced to help those who have been out of work to return and the government will review parental benefits for the self-employed. » Read More

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United States

Other Observations: USA: President Trump’s New Pick to Head Department of Labor: Opinions as National Labor Relations Board Member President Donald Trump has nominated R. Alexander Acosta to be Secretary of Labor. His nomination came one day after Andrew Puzder, Trump’s first pick to lead the Department of Labor, withdrew his nomination. Mr. Acosta served on the National Labor Relations Board from December 17, 2002, to August 21, 2003 and participated in the issuance of more than 120 opinions. » Read More

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