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15 February 2021
Germany: governing coalition to propose law on supply chain due diligence by end of March 2021
On Friday 12 February, Germany’s economy, labour and cooperation minsters reached an agreement on the major points of a new ‘supply chain law’, which will increase the due diligence obligations of German companies when it comes to human rights and environmental issues at foreign subcontractors and suppliers. The legislation will apply to companies that employ at least 3,000 staff from 2023 and to firms with more than 1,000 staff from 2024. The text is due to be presented to the cabinet at the end of March,...
15 February 2021
Spain: four-day week pilot project launched
At the start of February, Spanish left-wing party Más País announced that the government had agreed to launch a pilot project, led by the minister of industry, to reduce the working week to four days, in line with a measure that was included in its electoral programme. Inigo Errejón, leader of Más País, says the pilot will be launched in companies that request to take part. He specified that to make sure the shift has no financial impact on the company or workers concerned, the state will cover the salary cost of the working time reduction. The government will also support reorganisation of production and digital changes at companies in...
12 February 2021
India: government tables apprenticeship reform
The Indian government is looking for three to fourfold increase in the number of apprentices in the country. Mahendra Nath Pandey, the minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, has proposed a series of amendments to the Apprenticeship Act, which dates back to 1961, with a view to encouraging firms to hand out apprenticeship contracts. Once they come into force, they will be able to subcontract the recruitment of apprentices to employment agencies so as to avoid the administrative burden. Apprenticeship...
12 February 2021
Argentina: government grants parents right to paid leave on days when children have virtual lessons or on days with fewer classes
Ahead of the start of the academic year after the annual summer break (which varies according to the province in question), the Argentine government has adopted a measure that grants the right of justified absence (inasistencia justificada) to a mother, father or another individual responsible for a minor who cannot leave the child or adolescent in the care of someone else on the days they are following classes from home or on days with fewer lessons. When such a measure was introduced for the first time (during...
10 February 2021
France: ‘ecological transition’ enters the nation’s labor code, in particular via new roles for works councils
On 10 February the French government adopted draft legislation ‘to fight climate change and strengthen resilience in the face of it effects’, and which ‘aims to accelerate the transition from (the) development model towards a carbon neutral society, that is more resilient, fairer, and more inclusive’, as is called for by the Paris Climate Accord. The bill covers a variety of fields including consumption, production, travel, housing, food, as well as legal protection for the environment. In terms of labor...
9 February 2021
United Kingdom: retail sector bosses urge government to legislate to protect staff from abuse
Amid a sharp increase in violence against shop staff during the Covid-19 pandemic, 65 bosses from the UK retail sector have penned a letter to the country’s prime minister to demand the creation of a new statutory offence – that of assaulting, threatening or abusing a retail worker. The business leaders write in the letter, which was sent on 4 February, that creating a specific statutory offence would allow this increasingly recurring issue to be dealt with more seriously. As the letter highlights, such...
8 February 2021
Austria: companies to become key testing venues
In line with the general collective agreement on in-company testing, penned by social partners on 15 January (see article n°12313), the Austrian government has set about making companies a venue for extensive coronavirus testing and not only for employees of the companies concerned. Under plans announced by the government on Friday to gradually loosen the lockdown in place in the country – which include a range of technical and financial measures – companies will be compensated to the tune of €10 per...
4 February 2021
China: ILO report notes both the working conditions and lack of regulation related to platform work
In January 2021 the International Labour Organization (ILO) published Working Paper 24 entitled: Online digital labour platforms in China – Working conditions, policy issues and prospects. This reports provides an overview of current online platform usage in China based on a vast survey conducted in 2019 of 1,071 self-employed workers who were using the three largest operators in the online platform sector, namely ZBJ (Chongqing/ southwest China), EPWK (Xiamen/southeast China) and 680 (originally based in...
4 February 2021
India: Government seeks to extend social protection to ‘gig economy’ workers
On 01 February, while presenting the national budget for fiscal year 2021-2022, India’s Minister of Finance announced the government’s will to extend social protection to those living in the ‘gig economy, namely freelance workers, online platform workers, sub-contracting workers and agency workers.’
3 February 2021
United States: Google ordered to pay $3.8 million (€3.16 mm) for pay and hiring discrimination
On 01 February, the U.S. Federal Department of Labor issued a press release announcing it had reached a settlement agreement with Google LLC to pay $2.6 million (€2.16 million) in compensation to 2,565 female employees for pay discrimination between 2014 and 2017. The Tech giant also agreed to pay $1.2 million (€1.0 million) to unsuccessful software engineering candidates for hiring discrimination, including 1,700 female applicants and 1,200 applicants of Asian origin. This now settles a number of lawsuits...