L&E Global is pleased to present its  L&E Global Employment Law Tracker for December 2020, monthly bulletin specifically designed to help employers stay up-to-date on the latest global workplace trends.

ARGENTINA – Double Compensation extension regarding Dismissal Without Justified Cause

Recent Decree extends until 25 January 2021, the duplication of severance payment in case of dismissal without justified cause, regardless of the current prohibition on dismissals. Duplication involves all the severance compensation items derived from dismissals without cause.

AUSTRALIA – Restrictions under the Public Health Order lifted in New South Wales

As of 14 December 2020, New South Wales employers are no longer obliged to allow employees to work from home where they can practicably do so, as restrictions under the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 5) 2020 have eased. However, employers still have a duty to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of employees and others is protected. Further, employers are still strongly encouraged to have COVID-19 safe plans to protect the community and prevent the spread of COVID-19, and in preparation for more employees physically returning to the workplace. Victoria continues to require employees to work from home, unless employees cannot perform their role from home or another location; while Queensland and South Australia do not currently have any such directions in place

BELGIUM – Birth Leave Extended to 15 days in 2021 and 20 days in 2023

The new Belgian government prioritises the promotion of gender equality and the fight against discrimination based on gender. One of the first steps in this agenda is the extension of birth leave, which is the leave that fathers or co-parents can take at the birth of a child.

CANADA – CEWS Revisited: What Employers Need to Know

On 19 November 2020, Bill C-9, an Act to amend the Income Tax Act (Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy) received Royal Assent. Bill C-9 revises the eligibility criteria and the level of subsidisation that employers can access under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), and extends the overall program to 30 June 2021.

CHILE – Supreme Court accepts request for exequatur issued by French Labour Court

The highest Chilean court accepted a request for exequatur (authorisation of compliance) to enforce in Chile, a sentence issued by a labour court in France. 

CHINA – Shanghai – Employment Termination based on Negative Customer Comments on Internet is illegal

The employer received several negative comments left by customers on an Internet platform. The employer then unilaterally terminated the employee for negligence of duty. The employee subsequently contested the dismissal, with the labour arbitration commission ruling that the termination was wrongful.

Shenzhen released the new regulation that allows employers to implement a special working hours system through notification to and commitment by employees, after consultation. Employers will not be required to undergo administrative procedures for approval on special working hours systems.

COLOMBIA – The Sanitary Emergency has been Extended until 28 February 2021

Based on the necessity of being able to implement different public policies to keep tackling the COVID-19 outbreak, the national government extended the Sanitary Emergency that was supposed to end on 30 November, until 28 February 2021.

The government issued a mandate eliminating COVID-19 testing for international travellers, which subsequently triggered a constitutional action. Beginning 4 November 2020, Colombia has allowed international travellers to enter the country without a negative COVID-19 test result. On 3 December, a judge ordered the government to reinstate the COVID-19 testing and quarantine procedures (14 days after arrival). However, the government is struggling to comply with the judicial order.

EUROPEAN UNION – CJEU emphasises “sufficient connection to the territory of host Member State” as criterion to Qualify as Posted Worker in International Transport services

The ruling on 1 December 2020 by the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice of the European Union, affirms that a worker who provides very limited services in the territory of the Member State, to which that worker is sent, cannot be regarded as ‘posted’ because there is no sufficient connection to this Member State.

FRANCE – Legislation in response to the Pandemic: Staff Representation and Remote Work Framework

The second wave of the Covid19 pandemic has instigated legislation and regulatory action to help set-up a framework for businesses adapting to the crisis. The derogatory provisions authorising the use of remote meetings for staff representatives have been reinstated. In addition, the social partners have finalised a draft national cross-industry agreement on remote work that outlines employers’ duties and the rights of remote workers. GERMANY – Precautionary granting of Holidays in cases of Extraordinary Termination

GERMANY – Precautionary granting of Holidays in cases of Extraordinary Termination

Even in case of an extraordinary termination with immediate effect, the employer can still grant outstanding holidays to the employee as a precautionary measure. If the dismissal turns out to be invalid, the employee cannot claim payment of further remuneration for the time during which the holidays were granted.

ITALY – New Case Law regarding Supply of Work Contracts

The Supreme Court of Cassation has declared that the supply of work agency is not liable for the sufficiency of the condition given by the supply of work utiliser, within the framework of the fixed term supply of work contract signed with the employee.

LUXEMBOURG – Increase to Minimum Wage as from 1 January 2021

Draft bill No 7719 will increase the minimum wage by 2.8% from 1 January 2021, which means an increase to EUR 2,201.93 for unqualified workers and to EUR 2,642.32 for qualified workers (before taxes).

MEXICO – Senate approves Reforms on Teleworking Matters

The Senate has approved the decision sent by the House of Representatives that reforms Article 311 and adds Chapter XII BIS to the Federal Labour Law on Teleworking Matters.

THE NETHERLANDS – Intention of the Parties is no longer relevant for the Qualification of an Employment Contract

The Supreme Court ruling of 6 November 2020, held that the parties’ intention is no longer relevant for the qualification of an employment contract.

POLAND – New Amendments to the Labour Law

Recent legal acts that came into force due to the state of the COVID-19 pandemic, amend certain provisions of the Polish labour law.

ROMANIA – Romania will remain under State of Alert for at least 30 more days starting 14 December

The state of alert was extended by the Government for an additional 30 days starting 14 December. Restriction of movement between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. is still in place nationwide and stricter rules are in force in a number of cities that are under quarantine.

SPAIN – Is it lawful to condition Payment of Variable Remuneration on the Worker Remaining with the Company on 31 December?

A clause on variable remuneration, which is based on the objectives achieved on 31 December each year and that requires the worker to remain in the company on that date, is declared valid. This way, if the worker leaves the company voluntarily, the fact of denying the variable payment is not solely a decision of the company and neither does it produce unjust enrichment for the company. Furthermore, the worker’s right to receive the agreed remuneration is not infringed.

SWEDEN – Poor Performance and Cooperation Difficulties related to Employee’s Disability constituted Objective Grounds for Notice of Termination

Court ruling that the performance carried out by an employee diagnosed with autism, was significantly lower than what may be required of the employee, and due to serious cooperation difficulties, and the fact that the employer could not solve the problems through reasonable measures, objective grounds for notice of termination did exist and therefore, the termination was not in violation of the Employment Protection Act. 

UNITED KINGDOM –  COVID-19: What do the new tiered restrictions mean for office workers in England?

National UK restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 ended on 2 December 2020 and were replaced in England by regulations setting out a new regional, three tier approach applying from 2 December 2020. Government guidance has also been published advising everyone who can work from home should do so.

UNITED STATES – Change in President Likely to Bring Changes in Labour Law, Workplace Risks

A new president in the White House is likely to affect workplace risks for employers and their insurance providers. EPLI carriers and brokers have worked to develop risk management strategies to address workplace law claims, and potential changes they need to keep an eye out for include ones at the National Labour Relations Board (NLRB) and the Department of Labour (DOL).