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Belgium to introduce a four-day workweek option and the right to disconnect [Updated]

The Belgium government recently agreed on introducing a series of reforms aimed at boosting private sector employees’ work-life balance. The most notable changes include the option for employees to ask their employers for a four-day workweek as well as the right to disconnect. Once a draft bill outlining and explaining the new measures is introduced, it will enter into effect after it is passed by the Belgium parliament. This process will likely take months and may alter current provisions.


Ireland to introduce sick pay for 2022 [Updated]

The Irish government recently passed the Sick Leave Act 2022 to provide all employees with up to 10 days of employer-paid sick leave. The Act enters into effect on 1 January 2023, and its implementation is phased over a four-year period from 2023 to 2026.


Australia introduces paid family and domestic violence leave

The Australian government recently introduced an amendment bill to provide employees with 10 days of employer-paid family and domestic violence leave. The Fair Work Amendment Bill 2022 was introduced on 28 July 2022, by the Australian Labor Party following the May 2022 federal election. The Bill has not passed yet. It is still unclear when the bill will pass.


Israel to introduce a health insurance reform

The government of Israel recently introduced a health insurance reform establishing a comprehensive Private Medical Insurance framework that creates a uniform structure for basic health policy. The new circular is expected to come into effect on 1 February 2023.


New remote working legislation around the world [Updated]

With the rise of technology, work from home has been a steadily growing trend for many years. Remote working has exploded since spring 2020 with quarantines, workplace closures and lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, at least for jobs and industries that do not always require workers to be on-site.

This abrupt worldwide shift to remote work sparked new logistical and structural legal challenges that warranted many countries to pass teleworking legislation, some of which is summarized in this article.
New teleworking legislation varies widely across the countries. While some countries introduced their first teleworking general legal framework, other countries passed more detailed measures. This article will only cover permanent teleworking legislation that has entered into effect since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. Temporary COVID-19 related measures, as well as proposed legislation not yet passed as of the publication of this article, will not be addressed.


Malaysia to expand family leave entitlements [Updated]

On 30 March 2022, the Malaysian Parliament passed the Employment Bill 2021 introducing several amendments to the Employment Act of 1955, including the extension of the maternity leave from 60 days to 98 days and the introduction of a seven-day employer-paid paternity leave. The new Bill will enter into effect on 1 January 2023.


Netherlands releases pension reform framework [Updated]

Update: The Dutch government recently announced that the pension reform will be delayed again. The new pension system, will now not come into effect until at least July 2023 (exact date still yet to be determined), more than one year later than originally planned. However, the early retirement provision allowing employees to retire up to three years before the normal retirement age, subject to the agreement of the employer, has passed and has been effective since 1 January 2021.


UAE to pass amendments to Emiratization framework

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government recently introduced new amendments intended to increase the number of UAE nationals who are working in the private sector by increasing quotas under its existing Emiratization framework. All private sector employers with at least 50 employees will be required to increase Emiratis’ proportion in the workforce to at least 10% of the workforce by 2026. The new Emiratization requirements are expected to enter into effect on 1 January 2023 meaning that obligated employers will need to increase from a 2% to a 4% Emiratization quota by that date or face fines and other punitive actions.


Bahrain introduces social insurance pension reforms

The government of Bahrain introduced Law No. (14) of 2022, which amends several provisions of the social insurance program including raising social security contribution rates, revising the old-age pension benefit formula, increasing the normal retirement age for women, and revising the payment method of the end-of-service benefits. The new Social Insurance Law was passed and published in the Bahraini Official Gazette on 18 April 2022. However, implementing regulations are still expected to be issued at a later date (still yet to be determined).


UAE to introduce unemployment insurance scheme

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government recently announced the introduction of a new mandatory unemployment insurance scheme. The scheme aims to protect Emirati and expatriate resident workers who lose their jobs by ensuring the availability of unemployment income until the worker finds another job.
The new unemployment insurance scheme, which was announced by the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratization in May 2022, is expected to enter into force in January 2023.