Employment laws and regulations are constantly evolving to adapt to the changing needs of the workforce, and to ensure fair and equitable treatment of employees. Here are some recent updates in labour and employment laws worldwide.
The European Union (EU) has changed cross-border home working regulations. As of 1 July 2023, employees can work in their state of residence for up to 49% of the total agreed working time, up from the previous limit of 25%. This allows for greater flexibility and promotes work-life balance for employees engaged in cross-border work within the EU.
Furthermore, several EU member states have implemented or are in the process of implementing whistle-blower protection laws. Slovakia and Germany have transposed the EU Whistleblower Directive 2019 into their respective legislation. These changes expand the definition of whistle-blowers to include individuals in alternative employment relationships and provide protection against retaliation. Austria has also introduced whistle-blower protection measures, requiring employers with more than 250 employees to establish internal reporting systems.
In Poland, the minimum wage increased to PLN 3,600 (US$884.16) gross per month as of 1 July 2023, providing better compensation for workers.
In the United Kingdom (U.K.), employers are required to submit an Employment Related Security (ERS) return for existing share plans, loan notes, and carried interest arrangements by 6 July 2023. This is a part of ongoing efforts to ensure transparency and compliance in employee compensation and benefits.
The U.K. is also considering new legislation to enhance flexible working arrangements. The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 aims to remove the qualifying period for flexible working requests, require employers to consult with employees before refusing such requests, and reduce the response time for employers from three months to two months.
Additionally, the U.K. has introduced the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023, which extends redundancy protection for employees during pregnancy and following their return from maternity, adoption, or shared parental leave.
Australia has witnessed changes in worker entitlements and minimum wage regulations. The minimum wage increased to AU$23.23 (US$15.37) per hour on 1 July 2023, benefiting workers across various sectors. The aged care sector also saw a 15% pay increase for workers starting from the same date.
The second tranche of amendments to Australia's Fair Work Act 2009 introduced changes to parental leave provisions. These changes allow employees to commence unpaid parental leave at any time within 24 months of the birth or placement of a child. It also allows pregnant employees to access unpaid parental leave six weeks before their expected due date.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has set a deadline of 7 July 2023 for private-sector businesses to meet the 1% Emiratisation target. This target aims to increase the employment of Emirati nationals in the private sector, and businesses failing to meet the requirement may face fines.
The UAE's summer midday work break, implemented to protect outdoor workers from high temperatures, ends on 15 September 2023. This initiative is part of the UAE's ongoing efforts to ensure occupational health and safety.
In Quebec, the minimum age for employment has been lowered to 14 years old, with some exceptions, effective 1 June 2023. Employers are prohibited from requiring children between ages 14 and 16 to work more than 17 hours per week or more than 10 hours from Monday to Friday.
These updates reflect the ongoing efforts of governments worldwide to address emerging employment challenges, protect workers' rights, and adapt to the changing nature of work. Staying informed about these updates is crucial for employers and employees to ensure compliance and foster a fair and inclusive work environment.