With our increasingly interconnected world, it is possible to have either global teams or employees working outside of the UK. There are many implications of this around from taxation, immigration to data security (to name but a few); however, what employment legislation could catch an employer out, in more ways than one? Jenny Bacon, Paralegal and Emma O’Connor, Legal Director report.
If you are thinking about hiring employees overseas, it is a good idea to consider the legislation and policies on labour belonging to other countries, as these will (often) differ from those in the UK. There are also immigration rules to consider. What examples of employment law in other countries should employers consider, and how are these similar and different to UK legislation? Here are some countries and laws to think about.
Note - If you are employing people outside of the UK and especially if you have (or discover) your UK employees are working abroad then please get in touch as there are issues which need to be considered which could affect your business. Please take some time to look at Jessica Clough’s article on remote working from overseas.
Under the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022, employers, as of June 2023, have increased obligations to accommodate flexible working arrangements. The type of flexibility that can be requested depends on the work the employee performs but could include changes to start and finish times, the ability to work remotely, part-time work or job sharing, splitting shifts, and more.
News just in - In the UK watch out as the government has just announced that the right to request flexible working arrangements will move to a “day one right” from April 2024 – more on this to follow!
In the UK, employers pay their employees for months which they have worked, so 12 months’ work means 12 months’ pay. In the Philippines, however, employees receive an additional 13th-month salary, which should be equal to one-twelfth of the basic salary earned by the employee within the calendar year. This is a mandatory benefit, although not all employees in the Philippines are entitled to this bonus; for example, those paid solely on a commission basis are exempt. Also, for lower rate taxpayers, month 13 is paid tax free! The idea behind the “13-month rule” was to protect lower income earners.
Working overtime (beyond eight hours per day and 40 hours per week) in Luxembourg is only permitted if one obtains prior authorisation from the Ministre du Travail (Minister of Labour). The total daily working time cannot exceed ten hours per day (two hours of overtime per day). Waivers to the regulations on working hours are available for certain sectors, including agriculture, hospitality, and healthcare.
There is no statutory minimum wage in Norway. Instead, wages can be determined through collective bargaining agreements between employer associations and labour unions across sectors of the economy. They usually fall within a negotiated national scale. According to research, a regular Norwegian worker who works around 1,700 hours every year, has an average hourly income is 323,5 NOK per hour (or £26).
Employees can take a ‘career break’ for a determined time period (generally up to one year), during which they receive a paid state allowance. They can return to their previous position after this break.
And finally, in Japan, there is a law (“metabo”), which allows employers to measure the waistline of their employees. Yes, since 2008, every Japanese citizen between 40 and 74 years of age is required to meet specified waistline measurements each year. Those who fail to meet the target are offered counselling and incentives. Plus, businesses can be fined if their workforce does not meet the waistline grade!
Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.