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20 January 2020
Germany: the left and trade unions relaunch push for €12/hour minimum wage
On 14 January, the president of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), Reiner Hoffman, launched an initiative to increase the country’s minimum wage to 12 euros per hour (up from €9.35 at present). This day was chosen for the launch of the initiative, as at the same time a second pay negotiation meeting was taking place between social partners in the fast food sector, a sector that is rather resistant to wage increases. For her part, the new co-chair of the SPD, Saskia Esken, also argued for a clear-cut...
16 January 2020
Spain: national securities supervisory authority calls for greater gender parity on company management boards
Spain’s National Securities Market Commission (CMNV) in charge of supervising Spain’s stock markets wants listed companies to have at least 40% female representation on their boards of directors. This is just one of new measures being introduced in the overhauled good governance code that has to be approved by the relevant companies within the next few months. Although the new rules are not binding they do set out a common agreed framework and any non-compliant companies will have to report the reasons for...
16 January 2020
Great Britain: one out of every five employees its banned from discussing their salary with co-workers
On 15 January a survey by the trade union confederation the TUC revealed that 18% of UK employees have to uphold  salary confidentiality clauses. Called ‘pay secrecy’ or ‘gagging’ clauses, they ban workers from openly discussing their pay with co-workers ,and if found do so run he risk of employment termination. TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady argued, “Pay secrecy clauses are a get out of jail free card for bad bosses. They stop workers from challenging unfair pay, allow top executives to hoard...
15 January 2020
Italy: mixed results in 2019 for the citizens’ income policy
A flagship introduced by the first coalition government led by Giuseppe Conte, the so-called citizens’ income (see article n°10970), which was officially launched in April last year, has only partially kept its promises. The INPS (Istituto nazionale della previdenza sociale), the main entity of the Italian public retirement system, received 1.63 million requests for both the citizens’ income and pension, as of 6 December 2019. Around 1 million of those requests were accepted, while almost 445,000 were turned...
14 January 2020
United States: Labor Department restricts the notion of ‘joint-employer’
On 12 January 2020, the US Department of Labor (DOL) revealed fresh regulations that set out four factors to be used to determine joint-employer status as regards the responsibilities and obligations intended in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The new joint-employer status qualification scale, which comes into force on 16 March 2020, seeks to limit the likelihood of co-employment status. This new scale is a response to previous efforts (especially by the Obama administration) to broaden the notion and to...
10 January 2020
Japan: ‘technical trainees’, a euphemism for exploited foreign manpower
In a country that has lost 11% of its active population in the space of 20 years, Japan remains reticent over the idea of opening its borders to long-term immigrant workers. Companies in need of manpower instead turn to ‘technical trainees’ to fill the gaps. ‘Technical trainees’ is a term for young Asian unskilled workers. Increasingly prevalent (367,000 in June 2019) and rising at an annual 25%, ‘technical trainees’ tend to come from Vietnam and China. They are employed in small factories and farming...
9 January 2020
Finland: a new agreement for the technology, electronics, mechanical, and metallurgy industry sets the tone for negotiations across the other sectors
Following an agreement between the industry union (Teollisuusliitonet) and technology sector employers (Teknologiateollisuuteen), employees have secured a 3.3% salary increase distributed over 25 months. The agreement that runs from 04 January 2020 to 30 November 2021 signals an end to the sector’s competitiveness pact that the previous government had implemented, and which notably...
9 January 2020
Great Britain: government seeks to calm concerns before the IR35 off-payroll reforms on disguised employment come into force
As of 06 April 2020, UK private sector medium and large businesses will be required to declare if their service providers have to pay the income taxes and social contributions that correspond to employee status, and they will also be responsible for any errors arising in these statements (c.f. article No. 11227). With both employers and independent workers wary of the new IR35 reforms the government is hoping to facilitate the new rules by carrying out a rapid consultation process that should be over by...
9 January 2020
Hungary: grandparental leave introduced as of 01 January 2020
As of 01 January 2020 Hungary’s working grandparents can access parental leave periods. Grandparents still in employment and looking after grandchildren in place of parents can take parental leave until a grandchild reaches its third anniversary. To be eligible, grandparents have had to be members of the social insurance system for at least 365 days during the two years prior to the birth of a grandchild. The maximum amount grandparents can receive is capped at HUF 225,288 (€700). Alongside and as part of a...
8 January 2020
France: after 34 days of strike action talks resume between the government and social partners over France’s pension reform
On 07 January 2020, talks between the government and social partners over France’s pension reform resumed after 34 days of industrial action and the longest such period in French industrial relations history. In order to find a pathway towards a solution the relevant parties will pursue talks over the upcoming weeks that will focus on the issues of pension scheme funding as well on arduous work careers and older workers, and which could produce a compromise sufficient to secure the backing of the trade unions...