The impact of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act 2017 (known as 'Bill 148') has been overshadowed, to some extent, by the controversy surrounding the sweeping changes to the Employment Standards Act 2000, including the changes to the minimum wage. However, the bill has also made significant changes to the Labour Relations Act 1995.
One of the government's primary goals when enacting the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act 2017 (known as 'Bill 148') was to provide additional protections for vulnerable employees, including individuals employed by temporary help agencies. As such, the changes will have a significant effect on both temporary help agencies and the companies that use their services.
The Ontario Court of Appeal recently overturned a Superior Court decision and ruled that a purchaser's employment offer, in and of itself, constitutes sufficient consideration to establish a valid employment contract. Further, asset purchasers are neither bound by the terms of the seller's employment agreements nor required to offer the seller's employees contracts on terms identical to their original agreements.
Most employers have a procedure for investigating accidents in the workplace. However, less likely to be investigated are near misses that may have gone unreported because of the workplace culture or because they were not viewed as important. While it may seem that investigating a near miss is not worth the time and energy, in the long run, it is likely to uncover unknown hazards or conditions which may result in a serious injury or fatality.
Included among the many changes to the Employment Standards Act 2000 brought about by the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act 2017 (known as 'Bill 148') is the prohibition on paying certain employees less than others based on their employment status. This means that employers can no longer pay part-time employees less than full-time employees if they perform substantially the same kind of work in the same establishment.
The Labour Reform Law 20,940, which was introduced in April 2017, focuses on reforming union rights. A centrepiece of the reform is the removal of an employer's right to replace personnel who go on strike with other workers. This amendment means that Chile is one of the only countries within the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development to remove this rule.
Labour Reform Law 20,940 primarily concerns collective bargaining and the power of unions. A key issue introduced by the law was the elimination of employers' right to hire replacement workers during labour strikes. This restriction will have a paralysing effect on companies, as unions have seen their negotiating position strengthened. Further, there is no clear penalty for illegal strikes. These changes could damage the culture of dialogue in the context of industrial disputes.
New legislation recently established a schedule for adjusting the value of minimum wage and family allowance rates every six months from 2016 to 2018. The changes will affect the general minimum wage, the minimum wage for employees over 65 or under 18, the minimum wage rate for non-remuneration purposes and the family allowance granted to eligible employees.
The Constitutional Court recently published its decision on a constitutional complaint filed by a group of Congress members regarding the Labour Reform Bill. The court ruled that two of the bill's core provisions (union entitlement and the extension of benefits of collective bargaining agreements) were unconstitutional because they violated the constitutional provisions on freedom of association, among other things.
The Labour Code provides that companies with 20 or more female employees must have daycare facilities in the workplace, which must be separate from the work area. This benefit is extended to male and female employees that, by court order, have obtained custody of a child. A recent ruling found that the rule also applies to employees who have obtained temporary custody of a child under a court order.
The Social Insurance (Amendment) Law was revised in June 2017 to introduce definitions of 'undeclared work' and 'undeclared earnings'. 'Undeclared work' is defined as the insurable employment of an employee or a self-employed person which has not been declared to the Ministry of Labour, Welfare and Social Insurances, while 'undeclared earnings' are defined as the insurable earnings for which an employer has not submitted a statement of earnings and contributions within the required deadline.
A number of new employment-related laws have been adopted in 2017, including the long-awaited Protection of Paternity Law and the Protection of Maternity (Amendment) Law, which introduced the concept of surrogacy. Amendments to existing laws regarding redundancy and smoking in the workplace have also been made.
Parliament recently voted to introduce the Protection of Paternity Law. The law came into force on August 1 2017 and gives fathers in Cyprus the right to two consecutive weeks' paid paternity leave. The law has introduced statutory family-friendly rights to Cyprus for the first time, giving employers the opportunity to incentivise and support parents in their workforce.
The Court of Appeal recently overturned a decision of the Industrial Disputes Tribunal, stating that an employee's termination was not unlawful, but rather due to redundancy in accordance with the Termination of Employment Law. The employee had been served with a notice of termination which stated that her position would be abolished due to changes in the methods of production and modernisation of the organisation.
In a recent Industrial Disputes Court case, four individuals sought the full payment of a provident fund which had been affected by the 2013 bank bailout. In making its decision, the court examined when the applicants' right to receive the provident fund had arisen and whether said amount had been affected by the 2013 bank bailout. It also considered whether the applicants had accepted the consequences of the 2013 bank bailout in writing.
In a recent decision, the Supreme Court considered whether the Ministry of Employment was liable for damages regarding replacement holiday. The court found that the Danish authorities had set aside EU law and were liable for damages. However, as the employee's holiday had taken place in 2010 – before the Holiday Act should have been amended – the employee was not entitled to compensation.
The government recently presented its legislative programme for the parliamentary year 2016/2017. The programme contains a number of upcoming proposals for amendments within the area of employment and labour law, including proposed amendments to the Holiday Act, the Childbirth Act, the Public Servants Act, the Working Environment Act and the Vocational Training Act.
A recent Board of Equal Treatment case involved a municipality's alleged discrimination against a disabled employee who was relocated to another flexible job with a reduced salary and later dismissed on the grounds of improving efficiency. The board found that the employee had accepted employment in a new flexible role and that the salary reduction was not an expression of discrimination, but rather a question of applying new rules for flexible jobs.
The Maritime and Commercial Court considered whether a senior employee's claim for a bonus payment under a bonus plan constituted 'salary' as defined in Section 17a of the Salaried Employees Act. The court attached significance to the contents of the bonus plan, the purpose of Section 17a and the wish to counter the risk of circumvention. Consequently, the senior employee was entitled to a direct proportional share of the agreed bonus.
A recent judgment shows that obesity alone does not constitute a disability under the Anti-discrimination Act, but that it may do so in certain special circumstances. Obesity may constitute a disability only if it has been sufficiently documented that physical, mental or psychological impairments or discomfort caused by it prevent the affected employee from fully and effectively carrying out his or her work on an equal basis with others.
The decisive factor in determining whether the Acquired Rights Directive results in a 'relevant transfer' of employees on a contracting-out is whether there is a stable economic entity which retains its identity. In considering whether an entity retains its identity, a distinction is made between 'asset-reliant' and 'labour-intensive' entities.
The EU Pensions Directive, first proposed over 10 years ago, finally came into effect in September 2003. The directive aims to pave the way for pension schemes to operate, and be managed, across EU borders - an attractive proposition to multinational companies due to the potential for cost savings and simplified administration.
In June 2003 the EU-level social partners agreed a joint text on socially intelligent restructuring, which provides companies with a set of guidelines to follow in order to ensure successful change management. Key recommendations include good-quality, timely and open communications, and developing workers' skills and qualifications.
The European Court of Justice has ruled that all on-call duty performed by a doctor required to be present in a hospital constitutes 'working time' for the purposes of the Working Time Directive. This will be the case even where the doctor sleeps at the hospital when his services are not required, and periods of sleep or inactivity do not amount to rest periods.
The European Commission is planning a draft directive on data protection in the workplace in 2004 or 2005. Its proposals include a general European framework on the processing of medical data, and limits on the use of data resulting from drug and genetic testing.