United Airlines fires employees over vaccine refusal

On Wednesday 29 September, United Airlines announced that it would dismiss nearly 600 employees who had opted not to get the Covid-19 vaccine. The airline had set Monday 27 September as the deadline for its vaccine mandate. Excluding those with a religious or medical exemption, 99% of staff complied. The 593 employees who didn't face termination of their contracts. By Friday 1 October, United Airlines had reduced the number of employees who are facing dismissal as the carrier announced that only 320 US-based staff were now not in compliance with their vaccination policy: a 46% drop in two days.

Dutch employers who ask for COVID-19 pass cannot face government legal action

A social affairs ministry spokesperson has said that it will not take action against employers who demand proof of Covid-19 vaccination from their workers because the situation has no precedent in law. The spokesperson continued to say that only a change in the constitution could give the government itself the legal standing to carry out such controls.

Read our article we wrote in September which discusses the ability of UK employers to do the same.

PWC offers its US employees full-time remote working

PWC has offered all 40,000 US client services employees to work virtually and live anywhere they want in perpetuity, according to Reuters, which notes that this represents a departure for a sector known for encouraging people to put in late nights at the office. PWC's support staff already have the option to work virtually full-time. Staff who opt into this would have to come into the office a maximum of three days a month for in-person appointments such as critical team meetings, client visits and learning sessions.

Germany leads the way in incorporating remote work in labour laws

Remote or hybrid working has become a key feature of the 'new normal' working world of many Europeans. Plans to cement remote working as a legal right vary among European countries. Currently, Germany is the only country in Europe to have made it mandatory for workplaces to offer staff the opportunity to work from home as long as there are 'no compelling operational reasons for not doing so'. Other countries such as Spain, Ireland and Greece, are at the planning stage of revising employment laws.

UK's furlough scheme ends

The UK's furlough scheme, which was introduced in March 2020 and helped to pay the wages of 11.6 million works, ended on 30 September 2021. Some badly hit sectors called for the support to continue and many forecasters, including the Bank of England, have predicted that there will be a small rise in unemployment as a result of the scheme ending. Dan Tomlinson, the senior economist at Resolution Foundation, commented that the Foundation's recent research indicates that unemployment was a 'real risk' for those still on the scheme, particularly older workers or those in the travel sector. The Telegraph also reported that half a million older workers are at risk of losing their jobs. Our Employee Restructuring Navigator allows international employers to map the processes required where redundancies may arise as COVID-19 support winds down.

The shift to electric vehicles will require substantial 'reskilling' for Europe

A new report says that the shift to electric vehicles in Europe will require the EU to support 'reskilling' programs to help workers prepare for a zero-emissions future. The study by the Boston Consulting Group forecasts that overall, the European auto industry employment will decrease by less than 1% by 2030, but that jobs at the manufacturers and traditional suppliers of combustion engines will fall 20% and 42% respectively. In contrast, there will be a 10% increase in jobs at suppliers of zero-emission technologies. The Platform for Electromobility said that there needed to be a drive in education, training, 'upskilling' and 'reskilling' of workers to ensure that workers progress as the industry progresses.

Calls for a reduction in Dutch sick pay

The Dutch central bank has recommended that the next Dutch government lessens regulations covering people on permanent contracts, namely cutting the two-year statutory sick pay requirement, in a bid to encourage more employers to take staff off temporary contracts. A number of advisory bodies, including the Social Economic Council (SER), have also made suggestions aimed at reducing temporary contracts, but they fell short of calling for a reduction in sick pay entitlement. They instead focused on abolishing zero hour contracts making sure that people should only be able to work for three or less years for the same employer on a temporary contract.