How to manage vacation when there is nowhere to go

Vacation may not be top of mind for employees in Ontario right now: March Break is postponed, public health officials continue to advise against non-essential travel, and the Government of Canada imposed greater international travel restrictions. But even though employees may want to save their time off for warmer weather and, hopefully, an improved public health situation, employers in Ontario must nonetheless ensure that employees are taking at least the minimum annual vacation time prescribed under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the ESA).

How many weeks of vacation are employees entitled to under the ESA?

An employee who has … Continue Reading

“Stale” and “ineffective” training is insufficient to establish the reasonable steps defence

A recent decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in Allay (UK) Limited v Mr S Gehlen provides useful guidance to employers seeking to rely on the “reasonable steps” defence to a claim of discrimination, harassment or victimisation.

An employer can be liable for acts of discrimination, harassment and victimisation carried out by its employees in the course of employment, even if the employer was not aware of those acts (section 109(1) of the Equality Act 2010). However, there is a potential defence available to an employer under section 109(4) of the Equality Act 2010 if it can show that … Continue Reading

Fausses déclarations sur le questionnaire des symptômes de la COVID 19 : peine capitale confirmée en arbitrage

Dans une décision rendue le 21 décembre 2020, l’une des premières en la matière au Québec, un arbitre confirme le congédiement d’une salariée pour avoir fait défaut de répondre honnêtement au questionnaire des symptômes de la COVID‑19 imposé par l’employeur au début de chaque journée de travail.

Les faits de cette affaire

L’employeur, une entreprise qualifiée comme un service essentiel au sens des décrets émis par le gouvernement en mars 2020, a pu continuer ses opérations, malgré l’impossibilité de respecter les consignes de la Santé publique sur la distanciation physique. Il mettait alors en place une procédure visant à atténuer … Continue Reading

Supreme Court decision in Uber v Aslam

The Supreme Court has today handed down its decision in Uber BV and others v Aslam and others, upholding the Employment Tribunal decision that the drivers are ‘workers’ within the meaning of S.230(3)(b) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996) and the equivalent definitions in the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 (NMWA 1998) and the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR 1998).

There are three levels of employment status in the UK: self-employed, worker and employee. Self-employed individuals are not entitled to the same employment protections as workers and employees, and so, for example, are not entitled to protection … Continue Reading

US: Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposal to update Hazard Communication Standard

On February 5, 2021, federal OSHA issued a proposed rule to update the US Department of Labor’s Hazard Communication Standard (HCS or HazCom) to align with the seventh revision of the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS).  In support of its proposed rule, OSHA asserts the update will increase worker protection and reduce occupational illness and injury by continuing to improve the information on product labels and Safety Data Sheets. In particular, the new modifications are intended to align with standards implemented by other federal agencies and Canada.  For more information, read our legal … Continue Reading

What options do working parents have when trying to balance their work and home responsibilities during the pandemic?

The current national lockdown in the UK has imposed school and childcare closures for all but those children of essential key workers. Even prior to lockdown measures, many children were being sent home regularly to isolate, due to a positive case of Covid-19 in their class or school bubble. This has inevitably left many working parents struggling to balance their work with caring responsibilities, whether this is balancing duties while working from home, or managing childcare in order to go into the workplace if working from home is impossible.

To date, there are currently no emergency provisions in place for … Continue Reading

The COVID-19 vaccine @ work: a Dutch employment law perspective

At a time when the world is suffering from the COVID pandemic, hope rests in the advent of Covid-19 vaccines. In addition, employers are trying to anticipate the ever-changing situation in the workplace. In doing so, they must adhere to existing laws and regulations, which were not written with a situation like this in mind. The vaccination program is slowly but surely getting underway in the Netherlands. The question becomes: as the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available to everyone in the near future, is it possible to require employees to get the vaccine before returning to the workplace?

Can employers require Continue Reading

Germany: COVID-19-vaccination and employment law

In Germany, employers are obliged to take all necessary measures, including those to protect against infection (such as offering working from home, increased hygiene protections, social distancing and behavior) and offering voluntary company vaccination programs, in order to protect the health and safety of the workers in the company and to fulfil their obligations under occupational health and safety law. The newly developed vaccines are offering some hope in turning the tide in the fight against COVID-19. The Federal Labor Court (Bundesarbeitsgericht – BAG) had already provided guidance to employers on their obligations and liability in connection with employer-initiated … Continue Reading

US: Latest California Labor & Employment Developments from January 2021

This past month saw the inauguration of President Biden, who promptly took steps that will have an immediate impact on California employers. Plus, new COVID-related laws took effect, some expired (but may be re-enacted), and a federal appeals court eased the meal/rest break burden on the transportation industry. For a brief summary of these an other California labor and employment law developments from January 2021, read our California wrap-up: The top five employment and labor developments for California employers in January 2021.… Continue Reading

Avis aux employeurs – changements aux congés pour les parents

Étiez-vous informés des modifications récentes à la Loi sur l’assurance parentale et à La loi sur les normes du travail (LNT) concernant les congés de maternité, de paternité et parental? Les employeurs devront revoir leur politique d’entreprise et/ou convention collective pour tenir compte de  ces changements.

Ces lois ont été récemment modifiées par le projet de loi 51, sanctionné le 29 octobre 2020. Comme son titre l’indique, ce projet de loi intitulé « Loi visant principalement à améliorer la flexibilité du régime d’assurance parentale afin de favoriser la conciliation famille-travail » est venu ajouter de la flexibilité au programme d’assurance … Continue Reading

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