Overview

In this month's edition of Be Global, we bring you a summary of the most significant international employment law developments from the the past 12 months, together with a look ahead at the key trends and changes expected to emerge in 2016.

Contents

ASIA PACIFIC

China: Labor dispatch and other reforms  The grace period for adjusting labor dispatch arrangements ends in February 2016;  plus regulations on employment contracts and redundancies are anticipated for 2016.   

China: end of the one-child policy - impact on family rights in the workplace?  The Chinese government's announcement that it will reverse its one-child policy during 2016 has implications for workplace family policies and protections.

Hong Kong: Contracts and rights of third parties  The Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Ordinance will come into force from 1 January 2016. Under the Ordinance, it is possible to contract out of the new law. Employers should therefore review contracts, handbooks and other employment documentation and consider inserting clauses to either maximize the enforceability of an agreement by a third party where this is preferred or expressly exclude the law where it is not.

Hong Kong: Personal data privacy A new Ordinance expected to come into force in early 2016 will restrict cross-border transfer of personal data.

India: Proposed labor law reforms  The Central Government has proposed to streamline the provisions of various labor laws in the country. 

Indonesia: First data privacy law  Indonesia's data protection regime is about to be transformed with a new Draft Bill on the Protection of Private Personal Data.

Japan: Amendments to Labor Standards Act A bill was introduced in 2015 to amend certain provisions of the Labor Standards Act and other labor laws relating to working time including overtime, flex-time and encouraging employee to take annual leave. It is expected that the LSA and other relevant laws will be amended from 1 April 2016.

Singapore: New requirements to keep records and provide written terms  The Employment (Amendment) Act, passed in 2015, will require employers to make and keep records of Employment Act employees and give a written record of key employment terms to such employees.

South Korea: Statutory retirement age  From 1 January 2016, employers with 300 or more employees must implement a statutory retirement age for employees who are 60 years or older.

South Korea: Changes to personal information regime  Recent changes to the personal information protection legislation will significantly affect the obligations and responsibilities of data handlers.  These are scheduled to take effect from January 2016.

Taiwan: Reduction in official holidays   The number of official holidays will be reduced from 19 days to 12 days starting in 2016 as part of the government's plans to implement a universal 40-hour work week.

EMEA

EU Wide: Data Protection Regulation approved for 2018 implementation  In December 2015,  European policy makers reached agreement on the terms of the new General Data Protection Regulation.  The Regulation will put an end to the current patchwork of data protection rules across the EU and is intended to enable people to better control their personal data and stimulate economic growth by cutting costs and red tape for European business.

Austria: All-in agreements and non-compete provisions A number of employment law changes have been proposed by the Austrian government.  The changes are due to come into force in January 2016, but as the full legal provisions have not yet been published the timetable may change. 

Belgium: Social elections 2016 The next elections for works council and prevention and protection at work committees will take place between 9 and 22 May 2016.

Denmark: Changes to regulation of restrictive covenants The Danish Act on Employment Clauses has been adopted and changes the regulation of restrictive covenants significantly. The Act applies to employment clauses agreed on or after 1 January 2016.

France: Labor code reform expected in 2016   In November 2015,  the French Government announced a major reform of labor law based on the Combrexelle report.

France: Macron law II - Neo  Hot on the heels of the first Macron law, a second law sponsored by the Minister of the Economy has been tabled.  "Macron law II", which will aim to promote "new economic opportunities" (NEO),  is currently in preparation and will be unveiled in January 2016.

Germany: Gender quota in boardrooms from 2016  German lawmakers have passed a law requiring companies to give 30 per cent of seats on a supervisory board to women from 2016.

Germany: Limitation of leased personnel services   The government intends further limitations to labor leasing and circulated a legislative proposal in November 2015.   The proposal is for the changes to come into force on 1 January 2017.

Germany: National minimum wage exemption  The exemption for the long-term unemployed is scheduled for review.

Netherlands: Clampdown on contractor arrangements   New legislation relating to taxation of contractor arrangements are likely to come into effect in April 2016. The Dutch Government is concerned that the majority of contractor arrangements in the country are in fact employment arrangements.

Netherlands: New flexible working law On 1 January 2016 new legislation will come into force so all employees who have worked for the employer for 6 months or longer can request to work from home or request to work less or more hours or request to shift their working hours. 

Poland: Fixed term contracts  Significant changes to the fixed-term contract regime will come into effect in February 2016.

Poland: Parental benefits  Harmonizing changes to the system of parental leave come into effect on 2 January 2016.

Portugal: Parental leave  An increase in a father’s exclusive parental leave is due to come into force with next state budget which is expected in 2016.

Romania: Paternity and parental leave  Increases in paternity leave duration and parental leave indemnities are anticipated in 2016.

Russia: New rules on labor leasing in force from 1 January 2016  On 1 January 2016 a new law comes into force that introduces the concept of labor leasing or outstaffing (as it is known in Russia) into the Russian Labor Code for the first time.

Spain: Labor reforms  The Spanish general election is being held on 20 December 2015.   It is anticipated that the outcome of the election will impact on Spanish labor law reforms but what the impact will be depends upon which party is elected to power.  

UAE: New labor law rules Changes to rules on standard work contracts, termination of limited and unlimited contracts and granting of new work permits will come into effect on 1 January 2016.

UK: Gender pay gap reporting; industrial action reform; zero hours contracts  During the course of 2016 the UK expects to see (i) obligations imposed on employers to publish information comparing the pay of their male and female employees; (ii) reforms to various aspects of the law on industrial action; and (iii) more stringent protection for the rights on individuals who work on "zero hours contracts".  

AMERICAS

Brazil: Anticipated developments in 2016  As the economic and political situation remains very fragile in Brazil, we expect that 2016 will see employers negotiating with labor unions to take measures to address economic difficulties. Any other labor and employment developments are unlikely until the current political uncertainty is resolved.   The debate on outsourcing remains outstanding, and there is no timetable currently for this issue to be revived.  

Canada: Accessibility for the disabled in Ontario  By January 2016,  "small providers" must be in compliance with the  Ontarians with Disabilities Act.    

US: What is coming from the Supreme Court in 2016?  Cases on wage-hour class actions;  background checks and affirmative action.

US: What is coming from the Code of Federal Regulations in 2016?  Definitions of who is overtime exempt;  fiduciary duty regulations;  and discrimination in wellness plans.

US: Predicted trends for 2016 Continued erosion of the national unity of employment laws;  difficulties enforcing non-compete and non-solicitation clauses; difficult individuals terminations such as those involving allegations of whistleblowing or retaliation.

Venezuela: Bar against dismissal   The Presidential Decree on Bar Against Dismissal is to be extended for a further 3 years beginning in 2016.

Venezuela: Amendment of Labor Laws  New Members of the National Assembly were elected in late 2015 and will take up office for the new term on 5 January  2016. As the opposition coalition won the elections, amendments to Labor Laws to adjust them to the current economic situation of the country are expected.