Executive Summary

Successfully navigating the complex and dynamic international employment landscape is more challenging than ever in today’s global marketplace. The latest edition of our guide, “Mapping the Trends: The Global Employer Update 2018,” provides succinct updates on major employment law developments across 53 jurisdictions to help guide our clients manage their global workforces in the year ahead. After all, local realities impact global strategies.

Top Trends to Follow

  1. Privacy and Data Protection

    The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into force in May 2018 will impact the data protection laws of the 28 EU member states and those non-EU based companies who hold or process data of EU citizens. Therefore, it is the standout compliance issue for employers for 2018 that is keeping GCs and the C-suite up at night. GDPR pervades the full spectrum of HR processes and policies throughout the employment lifecycle and with maximum fines of up to the greater of 4% of worldwide revenue or 20 million euros, it has the attention of the Board. But it would be wrong to consider privacy and data protection as an EU issue in 2018, China also has new laws in this area which has resulted in more employer obligations. Therefore, co-ordinated action is required for those operating in the global marketplace.

  2. Gender Issues (Treatment, Parity & Pay)

    The rights of women in the workplace, is a trend derived from developments in the areas of sexual harassment, pay equity and enhanced rights for parents in the workplace. Action in relation to sexual harassment is a theme called out as impacting employers in the US, the UK, Sweden, Portugal, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and India. In the area of pay equity, we see developing case law in the US and the UK, new laws in Luxembourg and mandatory disclosure laws in the UK, Austria, Belgium and Germany. Lastly, the latest changes to rights for parents in the workplace, sees new legislation in Bulgaria, Columbia, Israel, Denmark and South Africa. Therefore, gender, in all its permutations, is a continuing trend for 2018.

  3. Protectionism

    Reflected in changes to both employment laws and immigration requirements, we are seeing more protectionist measures in 2018 likely to impact the war for talent and global mobilisation programmes in the year ahead. For example, Brexit will potentially end the principle of free movement for EU and UK citizens and, at the end of 2017, there was a renewed travel ban for certain citizens travelling to the US. In the Middle East, Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia have both legal developments and policies in this area. While for Switzerland and Singapore, new measures for 2018 are immigration-related.

  4. We encourage you to explore our guide to learn more about how these trends are playing out across the 53 jurisdictions covered in this edition. To discuss any of these updates and how they may impact your company, please contact me or another member of our International Employment practice.

    Suzanne Horne, Partner Editor

    Hannah Harris, Associate Assistant Editor

    With special thanks to the many local counsel for their invaluable contributions to this survey.