In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government commissioned the so-called 'social partners' (ie, the Chamber of Commerce representing employers and labour unions acting on behalf of employees) to negotiate and present a bill on working from home that Parliament can pass into law as the new standard on the matter. The new framework will cover various issues – from contractual provisions and co-determination by works councils to recommendations on occupational safety.
In a recent case, a court ruled that an employer's summary dismissal of a manager was justified, since the manager had entered into a contract with one of the employer's business partners without the employer's approval. The case highlights the difficult considerations regarding evidence that employers must make before making a choice of disciplinary action – especially in situations where the course of events can be proven only through witness statements.
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way in which businesses are run and to a certain extent normalised remote-working arrangements. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data recently issued three guidance notes relating to working-from-home arrangements. This article summarises the guidelines' key recommendations for employers and employees, particularly with regard to the use of videoconferencing software.
An amendment to the Federal Labour Law was recently published in the Federal Official Gazette, regulating employment relationships under the modality of remote working. This article answers employers' and employees' questions on the reform, including with regard to the definition of 'remote working', employers' special obligations with respect to remote workers and the introduction of flexible working hours for remote workers.
As part of the COVID-19 crisis package, the government has proposed to extend the schemes for sickness benefits, the jobseekers' work assessment allowance, unemployment benefits and employers' expenses relating to foreign nationals' entry quarantine and employees' quarantine hotel stays.