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Upcoming Employment Law Changes in 2020

As we start the new year with a new Government in the UK, we consider the important employment law changes that will, or may, come into effect in 2020.

New right to a written statement of terms

Currently, employees who have been continuously employed for more than one month must be provided with a written statement of terms within two months of employment commencing. From 6 April 2020, this right is being extended to include workers as well as employees. In addition, the right to the written statement will be a day one right, meaning that workers will be entitled … Continue Reading

De nouvelles obligations pour les plateformes de mise en relation

Les plateformes de mise en relation (comme Uber ou Deliveroo), qui sont de plus en plus utilisées en France, font pourtant l’objet de nombreuses critiques, principalement fondées sur les conditions de travail des travailleurs indépendants qu’elles utilisent dans le cadre de leur activité.

Le Gouvernement français s’est donné pour mission d’encadrer l’activité de ces plateformes, en particulier en ce qui concerne leur responsabilité vis-à-vis de ces travailleurs indépendants.

La loi Travail du 8 août 2016 a créé, au sein du Code du travail, une partie dédiée aux travailleurs utilisant ces plateformes, et a mis à la charge des plateformes une … Continue Reading

Crowd workers do not qualify as employees

As the end of the year approaches, the German courts have published a decision providing employers with further clarity on the issue of crowd working.

What is crowd working?

Crowd working is a highly flexible form of working. According to the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS), around 4.8 percent of the German electorate earn their money through “mini-jobs” or tasks sourced through the internet. These crowd workers take on work from companies that is offered to all, for example via apps or on general or specialised network platforms. These tasks generally have to be completed within a … Continue Reading

Update on electronic medical certificates

Medical certificates may not be ordered online

A recent decision of the Hamburg Regional Court (LG Hamburg 3.9.2019 – 406 HK O 56/19) has ruled that issuing medical certificates of incapacity by remote diagnosis is a violation of medical diligence. This means that employees will not be able to apply online for a medical certificate confirming their inability to work (as previously discussed in our blog article, Facilitating HR Management: Electronic medical certificates on 23rd September 2019).

According to the Professional Code of Conduct for Physicians, doctors must proceed with the necessary care when issuing medical reports and … Continue Reading

Gender pay gap: a new measuring tool

Since 1972, there have been numerous laws on professional equality between men and women but the gender pay gap remains a crucial issue which has not been resolved yet.

The parliament voted a new law on 5th September 2018 creating an index to be used to measure the gender pay gap in companies.

Since 1st January 2019, there has been an obligation to assess the gender pay gap in each company with at least 50 employees through the use of the index. The methodology adopted is to allocate a certain number of points based on the following criteria:

  • Comparison of
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Taking it a day at a time

Section 96 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the Act) provides that “for each year of service with his or her employer, an employee [excluding casual employees] is entitled to 10 days of paid personal/carer’s leave”.  This entitlement accrues progressively during a year of service according to the employee’s ordinary hours of work and it accumulates from year to year.

What is a day?

In a recent case the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia had to consider the meaning of “day” in section 96 of the Act.

The case related to a group of employees … Continue Reading

Supreme Court awards employee compensation amounting to 5% of the revenue of outstandingly profitable patent in Shanks v Unilever

The ownership of a company’s intellectual property is a sensitive subject for many companies. A recent case considered the compensation an employee may be entitled to under the Patents Act 1977 where the patents are held to be of outstanding benefit to the employer.

As it is often a company’s employees who create intellectual property, it is vital that the company’s interests are safeguarded in this respect. The general position in the UK is that intellectual property created by employees in the course of their normal duties of employment is automatically owned by their employer, and that this applies also … Continue Reading

Wrong interpretation of industrial agreement leads to successful underpayment claim for 150 workers

The Federal Court of Australia recently decided in favour of a representative proceeding (more commonly known as a ‘class action’) brought on behalf of approximately 150 workers, and backed by the Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Maritime Employees Union against Thiess Pty Ltd, on the question of payment for travel time at the end of a worker’s shift.[1] The case is part of the growing trend of class actions in the employment sphere.… Continue Reading

New South Wales responds to Marie Boland Review recommendations

New South Wales has introduced a WHS Amendment Bill (Bill) in response to the recommendations of the Marie Boland report issued in February 2019 (see our blog article here regarding the Marie Boland review). The changes, if passed, will commence on the day they receive royal assent.

The Bill proposes to:

  • increase maximum penalties (with the maximum penalty for category 1 offences to increase from $3 million to $3.46 million);
  • create a penalty unit system to ensure maximum penalties increase every year to reflect changes to the consumer price index;
  • prohibit insurance against safety fines for offences under
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Workplace manslaughter legislation introduced in Victoria (Part 3)

Bill update

As reported in earlier articles on this blog, the Victorian Legislative Assembly has heard the second reading speech of the Workplace Safety Legislation Amendment (Workplace Manslaughter and Other Matters) Bill 2019 (Vic) (the Bill) and passed the Bill on 14 November 2019.

The Bill was sent to the Legislative Council on 14 November 2019 at which time it received its first and second reading.  The Legislative Council heard that the Bill seeks to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) to provide for offences for workplace manslaughter and will provide … Continue Reading

Workplace manslaughter legislation introduced in Victoria (Part 2)

Yesterday, 30 October 2019, the Workplace Safety Legislation Amendment (Workplace Manslaughter and Other Matters) Bill 2019 (Vic) (the Bill) received its second reading speech in the Victorian Legislative Assembly. The Bill, if passed, provides for the new offence of ‘workplace manslaughter’ to come into operation on a day to be proclaimed or on 1 July 2020 at the latest.

The Bill and explanatory memorandum are now also available. According to the explanatory memorandum, the purpose of introducing the offence of workplace manslaughter is to “…hold those with the power and resources to improve safety to account, such Continue Reading

Industrial Manslaughter laws introduced to Victorian parliament today

As reported in our earlier article (found here), the Victorian government announced in 2018 that it would introduce an industrial manslaughter offence. The Minister for Workplace Safety, The Hon Jill Hennessy, today announced that new ‘workplace manslaughter’ laws were introduced in Parliament.

The Workplace Safety Legislation Amendment (Workplace Manslaughter and other matters) Bill 2019 has been introduced to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) although a copy of the Bill is not yet available.

The media release states that the proposed laws will apply to employers, self-employed persons and ‘officers’, who negligently cause a workplace … Continue Reading

First Industrial Manslaughter prosecution in Queensland

On Friday the Minister for Industrial Relations announced the first prosecution in Queensland for industrial manslaughter under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) (the Act). The industrial manslaughter prosecution has been brought against Brisbane Auto Recycling Pty Ltd (Brisbane Auto) arising from the fatality of a worker killed by a reversing forklift on 17 May 2019. Two of Brisbane Auto’s directors have been charged for engaging in reckless conduct resulting in the death of a worker.

The industrial manslaughter provisions commenced on 23 October 2017 as a result of the Work Health and Safety Continue Reading

Legal advice privilege in employment

A recent decision in the UK Court of Appeal has provided guidance in the area of privilege in employment claims.

In Curless v Shell International Ltd, the Court of Appeal had to consider whether legal advice privilege should be disapplied to an email on the basis that the advice fell within the “iniquity principle”.

Legal advice privilege applies to confidential communications between lawyers and their clients. However, legal advice privilege does not apply where the advice is iniquitous, i.e. where the communication or document came into being for the purpose of furthering a criminal or fraudulent design. In this case … Continue Reading

New single enforcement body for employment rights

As part of the UK’s Government’s “Good Work Plan” to ensure fair and decent work for all, transparency and clarity of workers’ rights and effective enforcement of those rights, proposals for a single enforcement body were published for consultation in July this year.

Currently in the UK, the majority of employment rights are enforced by the individual through an employment tribunal. However, there are some exceptions where various enforcement bodies take a role to protect particularly vulnerable workers. Examples of this are enforcement of the right to the national minimum wage by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), enforcement of the … Continue Reading

Shining the spotlight on dust lung disease in Queensland: a regulatory response for the resources industry

Since 2015, Queensland’s resources industry has been shaken by the re-emergence of dust lung diseases, largely among the State’s large coal mining workforce.  So far, more than 130 workers have been diagnosed with incurable forms of lung disease across Australia, resulting in 6 Queensland deaths in the past 12 months.[1] The State Government has responded to the outbreak with a raft of reforms designed to identify the risk, support affected workers and enhance prevention, detection and reporting.

With a range of reforms implemented, Queensland has now turned to ongoing regulation of the industry with the introduction of the new … Continue Reading

Service Provider or Labour Broker? How to tell the difference

In January 2019 the Labour Court decided a contractor,that was appointed in terms of a service level agreement, operated as an independent service provider not as a labour broker. The distinction is critical because the deeming provisions in section 198A of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (LRA), applies to labour brokers but not to independent service providers. In circumstances where the service is rendered by a labour broker, the employees involved in rendering the service may be deemed to be in the client’s employ if the employees earn less than R205 433.30 a year and rendered services to … Continue Reading

The WHS Response to psychological health and a PCBU’s obligations

Psychosocial hazards and work-related stresses are amongst the most challenging workplace health and safety issues. In recent times, there has been an increased focus by WHS regulators on ‘mentally healthy’ workplaces. Organisations are expected to have appropriate systems in place to eliminate or reduce psychosocial hazards, such as bullying and harassment, to effectively respond to issues and provide safe and healthy workplaces.… Continue Reading

Launch of the Federal Employment Guide for Employers: September 1 Amendments to Part III of the Canada Labour Code

A suite of changes to Part III of the Canada Labour Code (the Code) are coming into force on September 1, 2019, that will confer new rights to employees. For many federally regulated employers, these amendments, brought under Bills C-86 and C-63, will have a significant impact on their workplaces and businesses.

To assist employers prepare for and navigate these new legislative changes and additions, the employment and labour group at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP has created the “Federal Employment and Labour Guide”. The guide includes information and takeaways for employers on the following:

  • Overtime: Employees now have
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The End of Free Movement in the UK?

The UK Government’s announcement, that free movement will end the day after a no deal Brexit on 31 October 2019, has left many wondering how the rights of EU citizens will be impacted in the days that follow.

Whilst some have speculated that it is unlikely that this means anything different than the original ‘no deal’ plan that was published some months ago (under the previous Home Secretary), others, including the Home Office, indicate that there could be immediate practical implications with reference to a ‘new immigration system’ being ‘developed’ and that plans will be revealed in due course.

These … Continue Reading

Free Menstrual Products in Federally Regulated Workplaces Proposed

In May 2019, in the Canada Gazette, the Labour Program of the Department of Employment and Social Development (the “Labour Program”) announced a proposal to require all federally regulated employers to provide free menstrual products in the workplace for employees “due to the shame and stigma that often surrounds menstruation.” In addition, the Labour Program is looking to prevent the use of unhealthy alternatives to menstrual products, for example toilet paper, paper towels or expired products. If passed, this measure would apply to private-sector employers in the federal jurisdiction (e.g. banks, railways, airlines, marine ports, telecommunications, broadcasters … Continue Reading

UK Pensions: Regulator ramps up “green” investment guidance for revised SIPs

New guidance from the Pensions Regulator reflects recent legislative changes requiring trustees of occupational pension schemes to set out their policies on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues which may influence their investment decisions.

The new law

From 1 October 2019, changes apply governing the way pension schemes prepare and revise their investment disclosure documents, including their Statement of Investment Principles (SIP). There are also new requirements for an Implementation Statement to be prepared and published.

Further changes were implemented in 2019 following the transposition into UK law of the Shareholders’ Rights Directive II which … Continue Reading

Alcohol at work: can the employer apply a zero tolerance policy?

A decision of the Supreme Administrative Court (“Conseil d’Etat”) of 8th July 2019 has overruled the decision of a work inspector (“inspecteur du travail”) who had rejected a zero tolerance policy regarding the consumption of alcohol during working hours for certain classes of employees in a company.

The case concerned a company specializing in the manufacture of automotive equipment which decided to revise its internal employee regulations to include a clause totally prohibiting the consumption of alcohol for certain categories of employee such as machine operators, lift platform users, electricians and mechanics.

By law the internal … Continue Reading

Home Office update to guidance for companies with sponsor licences.

The Home Office has published an unexpected update in relation to the Tier 2 and 5 Guidance for Sponsors.

Where an employee wishes to enter the UK as a skilled worker (Tier 2) or temporary worker or under the youth mobility scheme (Tier 5), they will need to be “sponsored” before they can apply to enter or remain in the UK. Employers therefore need to obtain a sponsor licence which requires them to provide information about their organisation. They must also ensure that any system is maintained and that the government is updated regarding any changes to either the employee … Continue Reading

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