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14 October 2021
Belgium: government proposes flexible working time measures
On 12 October the ruling coalition of conservatives and liberals (MR-Open VLD), socialists and greens, as well as the Flemish Christian Democrats, reached an agreement for the 2022 budget. The partners referred negotiations for a four-day working week and night-time work in e-commerce to the social partners....
30 September 2021
U.S.: California law protects apparel workers
Gavin Newsom, California’s Democrat Governor has just signed the Garment Worker Protection Act ( Senate Bill 62, SB 62), which is designed to protect the status of workers in the garment industry. Los Angeles, which is the most important textile hub in the United States, has more than 2,000 factories, with nearly 45,000 employees. While legislation passed in 1999 was supposed to ensure decent incomes and working conditions in the industry, shops and brands have been circumventing the legislation by outsourcing...
30 September 2021
Belgium: pension reform project targeting long careers and an intention to raise the minimum pension
In the months ahead Belgium’s ruling coalition is expected to address fresh reforms to the nation’s pension system. While the legal retirement age is not expected to be under review, the reforms do envisage changes to early retirement conditions so that people who started their careers early or who have worked part-time for a great number of years can retire earlier. Changes are also afoot for those looking to extend their working lives beyond the legal retirement age such that they could see their pension...
29 September 2021
Spain: government extends short-time working mechanisms and introduces an training incentive
On September 28 the government’s Council of Ministers approved an extension to the ERTE arrangements (Expediente de Regulación Temporal de Empleo extraordinary temporary employment regulations) for employees and to the reduction of charges on employers provided they ensure training for those who remain on ERTE arrangements. The reduction in social security contributions can reach up to 80% for companies that provide training courses to employees on short-time working. These new measures will apply from 01...
Managing the fallout of Covid-19
24 September 2021
United Kingdom: government proposes right to flexible working from first day of job
At present, companies in the UK are not required to offer flexible working arrangements to their staff until they have 26 weeks – or six months – of continuous service. By introducing the right to flexible working from day one, the UK government hopes to make life easier for 2.2 million people. To this end, the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy opened a consultation on 23 September – running until 1 December –  on proposals to reform regulations in the area.
24 September 2021
United States: California law to push Amazon to review pace of work
California State Governor Gavin Newsom this week signed into law the AB 701 bill, which aims to improve working conditions for warehouse workers. This law, which will come into force on 1 January, does not make specific mention of Amazon but sets its sights on the e-commerce giant’s algorithm and productivity targets. The bill requires businesses to disclose productivity targets set for each individual and, if these targets are untenable, employees can sue the company.
23 September 2021
Germany: from 01 November unvaccinated employees nationwide who have to quarantine will no longer receive salary compensation
On 22 September and during a videoconference, the Health Ministers for the Federal State and the 16 Länder decided the end salary compensation for employees who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 and who have to quarantine. This measure, which several Länders had already adopted will become effective nationwide from 01 November. While the employers’ federations have welcomed the decision, the trade union bodies are more critical, fearing the social impact the measure may have within companies.
23 September 2021
Great Britain: launch of first national strategy dedicated to Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Unveiled on 22 September, the UK’s national AI strategic plan aims to increase corporate use of this new technology, which has become essential in recent years. This ten-year plan includes the publication in 2022 of a white paper that will look at how the government intends to regulate AI. Consultations will also be launched on the topic. The government’s aim is to build confidence levels in AI technology among both employers and the general public. The plan also includes measures to train the talents of...
22 September 2021
Austria: unemployment benefit payments could be suspended for those refusing a job carrying a Covid-19 vaccination condition
According to the daily publication Der Standard, Austrian Labour Minister Martin Kocher (ÖVP) asked the Austrian Employment Agency (AMS), in a letter dated 25 August, to “block unemployment benefits for job seekers who refuse either to apply for a reasonable job on the sole pretext that a vaccination is required or to accept a job for the same reason.” In Austria, more and more companies, especially in the health and social sectors, are requiring new hires to be vaccinated against Covid-19, and the AMS...
Covid-19 Vaccination
21 September 2021
Belgium: a tool that can provide a company’s staff vaccination rate on an anonymous basis
Occupational physicians will soon be able to find out the vaccination rate of employees in companies with more than 50 staff. This is due to a tool currently being developed, which will cross-reference information from the National Social Security Office (NSSO) and Vaccinet, the database on vaccination status. According to the newspaper Le Soir, the employers’ organizations requested access to information on the percentage of vaccinated employees so that they could adapt their workplace health measures....