The UK government recently announced changes in pensions, childcare, universal support scheme, and employee share plans, among others, as part of the Spring Budget 2023 to remove obstacles to participation in the workforce.
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 has sparked new logistical and structural legal challenges that have warranted many countries to pass teleworking legislation, some of which are summarized in this article.
The Irish government recently approved the Work Life Balance and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2023 which introduces a right to request flexible working arrangements, five days of government-paid domestic violence leave, and five days of unpaid carer’s leave (called “serious medical care leave”).
The Bill is currently in its third reading before the Irish parliament and is expected to enter into force in the near term (the exact date is yet to be determined).
The Australian government recently introduced a bill to expand unpaid parental leave entitlements and to ease leave restrictions on employee couples. The Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Protecting Worker Entitlements) Bill 2023 (“the Bill”) was introduced by the Federal Government on 29 March 2023. The Bill is in the initial legislative stages and has not yet been enacted.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government recently introduced – for the first time – a mandatory unemployment insurance scheme. The scheme aims to protect employees who lose their jobs for reasons out of their control, by ensuring the availability of unemployment income for up to three months. The new Involuntary Loss of Employment (ILOE) insurance scheme, which was announced by the Minister of Human Resources and Emiratization in May 2022, came into effect 1 January 2023.
Less than six months before the Turkish presidential election, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan recently announced in a press conference that the minimum age requirement for retirement (age 58 for women and age 60 for men) will be eliminated. This change allows more than 2 million workers to retire immediately.
The Turkish government plans to introduce and approve legislation on early retirement without meeting the age requirement in the coming weeks.
The Polish Government introduced a bill that expands parental leave entitlements and introduces a right to flexible work arrangements for parents of young children and carers, as well as
carers leave and emergency leave for all employees.
The amendments aim to align Poland with the European Union Directive No. 2019/1158 on work-life balance for parents and carers.
The Bill is in the initial legislative stages and still needs to be passed by both houses of the Polish parliament and signed by the President before it becomes law. The exact implementation date is not yet known.
The Spanish parliament recently passed new legislation introducing multiple changes to menstrual and reproductive health legislation including a government-paid temporary sick leave for female employees who suffer severe menstrual pain. The new leave (also called “menstrual leave”) may be taken for as long as needed so long as the temporary medical incapacity is approved by a doctor.
The legislation will enter into effect three months after its publication in the Official Gazette (the exact publication date is still yet to be determined).
On 30 March 2023, the European Parliament adopted the Pay Transparency Directive (the “Directive”) to increase pay transparency and to close the gender pay gap across European Union (“EU”) member states. The Directive imposes, among other things, gender pay gap reporting obligations for larger employers, transparency obligations regarding pay setting, the right for employees to request pay information, as well as protective measures and access to justice for victims of pay discrimination.
In due course, the Directive will be submitted to the European Council to be formally approved and published in the EU Official Journal. The Directive will come into force 20 days after its publication date, and member states will be required to pass national legislation meeting the new minimum requirements established by the Directive within three years.