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18 September 2019
Poland: political parties looking to secure the female vote
The female vote is attracting a great deal of attention in the period leading up to the 13 October legislative elections. The major political bodies have devoted significant portions of their election programs to women’s’ rights. Female oriented proposals such as gender pay equality can be found in the...
Corporate social responsibility
11 September 2019
Germany: new ‘Green Button’ label created for textiles produced in line with social and environmental standards
In Berlin on 09 September, German Economic and Development Minister Gerd Müller (CSU), officially launched his key project creating the ‘Grüner Knopf’ (Green Button). The Federal Economic and Development Ministry will award the Green Button certificate to textile-based products that comply with a series of environmental and social production standards, thereby providing a layer of guarantees to consumers seeking equitable and sustainable production processes. The Green Button’s overriding characteristic is...
6 September 2019
Great Britain : SME punishes staff for bringing single-use plastic into the office in bid to reduce environmental impact
This unprecedented case was initially flagged by the HR-focused press in the UK. Intelligent Hand Dryers, based in Sheffield, in northern England, has attracted attention for having banned its dozen or so employees from bringing single-use plastic into the office. Whether it’s a coffee cup, plastic bottle or a sandwich pack, employees that bring in any single-use items containing plastic will get a warning from the company’s management. After three warnings, repeat offenders will be fired. The measure was...
4 September 2019
Australia: companies are encouraging staff to participate in the Global Climate Strike
Some forty companies across the tech, health, and finance sectors have joined the ‘Not Business as Usual’ alliance in a bid to voice their support for the global climate strike. In concrete terms the business leaders are encouraging their staff to participate in the global climate strike set for 20 September 2019 and they are also encouraging other Australian companies to join them because, “Businesses and individuals must also play their part and this responsibility is even more urgent when governments...
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Digital tools
28 May 2019
Singapore’s HR Tech boom
Start-ups are increasingly spawning that seek to use AI to revolutionize the world of work. In the densely populated city-State of Singapore (5.6 million living in 722km²), USD 1.4 billion is being invested in this domain that now counts no less than 200 businesses using AI to provide a range of HR solutions. In contrast with the US and Europe where the focus is on new hiring methods, companies in the ‘fully employed’ region of Asia concentrate more on problems related to staff turnover and training.
17 May 2019
China: DingDing, the collaborative platform that manages workers
Few workers in China will be unaware of the existence of DingDing, the application used for organisation and communication within companies. Launched in 2014, the application has grown to become the number one workplace social network in the world. It is mainly used in China, where it has been downloaded more than 400,000 times using the Huawei Store. Amid the 996 scandal (see article n°11113), which has shed a light on the intensive working hours in China’s technology industry, there are ethical questions...
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HR practices
13 September 2019
United Kingdom : parental leave of 20 weeks with full pay for all Hachette employees, to encourage new fathers to take time off
Hachette UK, subsidiary of Hachette Livre and the second-largest publishing group in the UK, is granting new mothers and fathers within its company identical rights to parental leave – 20 weeks of leave with 100% of pay, which they can take in one or multiple blocks. The decision follows on from the work of the Gender Balance Network, which was set up at the group. In the UK, the system of ‘shared parental leave’ allows parents to share a leave period of 50 weeks following the birth of a child (see article...
13 September 2019
Hungary: two studies confirm heightened rate of pay rises among manual workers and managers
According to a study conducted by recruitment company Trenkwalder, based on the pay data of some 7,000 job candidates, the average gross hourly wage of manual and trained manual workers increased by more than 16% in the second quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2018. In the second quarter of 2018, the rise was only 14% compared to 2017. The average gross hourly wage of manual and trained manual workers was HUF 1,165 (€3.50) in the second quarter. The average hourly wage is well above HUF 1,100...
10 September 2019
Kering puts 14-week paternity (and partner) leave in place for all staff globally
With this commitment the French luxury goods brand is standing as a legal ethical pioneer. In a press statement on 10 September, Kering stated that from 01 January 2020, ‘all Group employees globally (Ed. note, 35,000 staff), irrespective of the employee’s personal circumstances or geographic location and during the six months following birth or adoption will be able to take up a minimum of 14 weeks’ maternity, paternity, adoption or partner leave on full pay by way of its Baby Leave extension to its...
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Industrial relations
16 September 2019
Suez: European agreement on professional equality renewed
Today, on 16 September, Bertrand Camus, chief executive of French utility group Suez, the group’s European trade unions, and the European Union Federations have signed an agreement to reinforce the fostering of professional equality. Suez had previously made a commitment of this kind in 2015, as part of a European agreement on professional equality signed with the same bodies (see article n°8995). This latest agreement resumes that commitment, with an update to part of its contents and its quantified targets....
European Framework Agreement
16 September 2019
Sweden: employers seek confederation-level agreement to frame upcoming sector-level negotiations
The majority of collective agreements covering the Swedish economy are set to expire by the end of the first quarter of 2020. Consequently, negotiations to renew some 500 collective agreements that concern 2.8 million employees are set to commence in the coming weeks. Ahead of negotiations over these future agreements, Swedish employers plan to put forward the idea of an agreement negotiated at the confederation level, which could then be signed by Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv) and the...
12 September 2019
Spain: purchasing power guarantee clauses making a return to collective agreements
After years of salary restraint, Spain’s trade unions are starting to win their first salary related battles. Employees are effectively starting to win back some of the purchasing power they forfeited during the economic and financial crisis. Collective convention renewal agreements signed in recent months have started re-introducing salary revision clauses (i.e. clauses guaranteeing catch-up pay if effective inflation exceeds expected inflation), which had been done away with during the most difficult years of...
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Legal developments
16 September 2019
Great Britain: amid the Brexit crisis, the Labour Party promises an employment rights ministry and considers cuts to working hours
With an early general election expected in November or December, after the UK’s planned departure from the European Union on 31 October, the country’s Labour Party has made some statements that have the air of campaign pledges in recent days. The party says it will appoint a secretary of state for employment rights, ban the controversial zero-hour contract and even look at reducing working hours.
13 September 2019
United States : California simplifies procedure for reclassifying independent workers as employees
The State of California is close to finalising its adoption of Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), which will make the so-called ABC or Dynamex test, comprising three criteria, the standard used when it comes to approving or rejecting an independent worker’s request to be classified as a salaried employee. The California State Senate, where there is majority of Democrats, who’ve already been won over by the bill, still needs to validate the bill adopted on 11 September by the State Assembly.
13 September 2019
France: Court of Cassation recognizes the harm of anxiety in cases of exposure to noxious and toxic substances
In a ruling handed down on 11 September the French Court of Cassation has opened the door to the official recognition of anxiety-related damage, currently recognized for workers who were previously exposed to asbestos and who although have not yet developed any pathological symptoms related to asbestos exposure, live with the worry of potentially developing such symptoms.
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