Say It Ain’t So, I Will Not Go: Responding to Employee Requests to Not Return to the Workplace in British Columbia

Following the unveiling of BC’s Restart Plan, and as part of the province’s transition to the “new normal”, many British Columbian employers are welcoming their employees back to the traditional pre-pandemic workplace.  However, given the current climate of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers will inevitably be met with requests from employees wishing to not return to the physical workplace for fear of contracting COVID-19.  Some of these requests will be justified or reasonable but others will not, and this legitimacy will not always be immediately clear for the responding employer.

In order to determine whether a request not to report … Continue Reading

Nouveauté pour les employeurs québécois : Publication de la Charte d’engagement à combattre le coronavirus en milieu de travail

La Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST) a récemment publié en ligne la Charte d’engagement à combattre le coronavirus en milieu de travail (Charte). Celle-ci vise essentiellement à ce que les employeurs et les travailleurs coopèrent en matière de prévention pour diminuer les risques que pose la COVID-19 sur la santé et la sécurité en milieu de travail. Elle reconnaît l’importance de chaque acteur dans cet effort de prévention et souligne la nécessité de mettre en place des mesures concertées, fondées sur la protection des travailleurs.

À … Continue Reading

Increased partner leave in the Netherlands from 1 July 2020

If the partner of an employee gives birth, the employee is entitled to one week’s partner leave following the birth. This paid leave can be taken at any time in the first four weeks after the birth of the child. During this period of leave the employer must continue to pay 100% of the employee’s salary.

From 1 July 2020, partners can take up to five weeks’ additional leave (i.e. five times the number of working hours per week). During the additional leave the partner is not entitled to salary. Instead, the partner receives payment from the UWV. These payments … Continue Reading

Victoria’s wage theft legislation

On 16 June 2020, the Victorian Parliament passed the Wage Theft Bill 2020 in response to a series of high-profile underpayment cases.  The prevalence of these underpayments, according to Victorian Attorney-General Jill Hennessy, indicates that the civil penalty regime under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) is failing to provide a sufficient deterrent against wage theft.  Victoria’s answer to wage theft – meaning the dishonest underpayment of employees – is to introduce criminal liability as a deterrent and establish a new body to investigate and prosecute wage theft offences.… Continue Reading

Blog Update NOW 2.0

Employment Emergency Fund (NOW) – NOW 2.0

On March 31, 2020, the Dutch government first published the Employment Emergency Fund (Tijdelijke noodmaatregel overbrugging voor behoud van werkgelegenheid, NOW 1.0). Please read more about this here 

The initial period of the fund ended on 31 May, 2020 but allowed for a one time extension for an additional three month period. On 20 May, 2020 the Dutch government announced the extension of NOW and certain further amendments to NOW 1.0. The extension fund is called NOW 2.0. Below we discuss the key characteristics of NOW 2.0 and important changes made to … Continue Reading

Can injuries sustained working from home, including death, be considered to have occurred in the course of employment?

The Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of New South Wales considered this issue in Workers Compensation Nominal Insurer v Hill [2020] NSWCA 54,[1] confirming that a death which happened while working from home occurred as a result of injury arising out of and in the course of the deceased’s employment.… Continue Reading

New Guidance published for flexible furlough scheme

On 12 June the UK Government issued details of the flexible furlough arrangement which will operate from 1 July 2020. The new scheme will allow employees to work for their employer during some of the period and the employer will still be able to claim under the scheme in respect of the time where employees are on furlough.

Existing guidance has been updated and new guidance notes and examples have been published to cover the new flexibility.

What restrictions are there to an employer’s use of the scheme?

From 1 July employers can bring furloughed employees back to work for … Continue Reading

US: Return to work considerations for New York employers during COVID-19 pandemic

Businesses with operations in New York State and, particularly, in New York City, face unique obstacles with respect to reopening their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.  With over 380,000 confirmed cases across the state, and over 200,000 confirmed cases in New York City, most New York residents have been affected by the virus in some way, and many are apprehensive about reentering the workplace. New York City’s dense population of over 8 million residents and approximately 10 million commuters — many of whom rely on public transportation — undoubtedly exacerbates these concerns.  In light of these concerns, Governor Cuomo extended … Continue Reading

For your consideration: Varying BC employment agreements amid pandemic

As employers prepare for the cautious reopening of the economy and the gradual return to the physical workplace, questions on altering the terms of an existing employment agreement could certainly arise for a number of legitimate reasons.

Specifically, employers often ask under what circumstances they can make changes to existing employment agreements. Commonly, employers face two important sub-questions in that regard. First, must employers obtain employee consent before making any changes to terms of employment? Second, must employers provide consideration for such changes to make them enforceable at law?

A recent decision from the British Columbia Court of … Continue Reading

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