Employment & Benefits updates

Albania

Secondments: rights and obligations
  • Albania
  • 19 February 2014

Albania has not yet introduced specific regulations dealing with temporary agency work, as per the EU Temporary Agency Work Directive. However, the Labour Code does make provision for secondments. The seconding employer may put an employee at the disposal of the host employer under a secondment agreement, after having obtained the employee's consent.

Examining the working time rules under the Labour Code
  • Albania
  • 01 February 2012

The Labour Code sets down various rules regarding working time (eg, daily and weekly working time, night work and shifts, overtime and rest periods). The code states that the normal daily working hours must not exceed eight hours, and any working hour performed between 10:00pm and 6:00am is considered to be night work.

Employment contributions and taxes - what employers should know
  • Albania
  • 02 November 2011

The standard cost of employment, based on the Albanian legal framework, comprises the employee's salary, social security and healthcare contributions and personal income tax. This update outlines the formal and practical requirements with regard to payroll calculations and declarations that each employer should take into account (special provisions may apply with regard to specific activities).

Termination of employment agreements
  • Albania
  • 15 June 2011

Under the Albanian Labour Code, an employment agreement is generally entered into for an indefinite term. However, for jobs of a temporary nature, an employment agreement can also be entered into for a fixed period. With regard to the termination of an employment agreement, the code distinguishes between the normal termination procedure and the immediate termination procedure.

Council announces new workplace health and safety measures
  • Albania
  • 13 April 2011

The legislature has recently approved additional obligations on employers for the protection of health and safety at work, with the publication of two decisions by the Council of Ministers in the Official Gazette. These decisions lay out special procedures to be observed by all employers for the protection of their employees' physical and mental health, with the aim of improving workplace conditions.


Argentina

New draft laws could affect employment contracts
  • Argentina
  • 25 May 2016

Two new draft laws were recently published which will directly affect employment contracts if passed. The first proposes introducing benefits for employees regarding the recruitment of workers aged between 16 and 24 and the regularisation of non-registered employees. The second proposes a temporary ban on dismissals in the public and private sectors without just cause.

Income tax under fire
  • Argentina
  • 30 March 2016

The government recently enacted Decree 394/16, which increases the tax-free minimum salary, favouring pensioners and unionised employees. However, the taxation of severance payments in cases of dismissal without cause is a contentious issue for the tax authorities and taxpayers and there has been significant increase in claims for income tax withheld from employees on the termination of employment.

Novel ruling grants large award to former executive based on share option plan
  • Argentina
  • 27 January 2016

Jurisdiction, the application of local law and the currency of benefits based on share option plans were key factors that resulted in a $6 million award by the National Labour Court of Appeals in favour of a former director general of a large telecommunications corporation. The case illustrates that the risks associated with share option plans increase in cases of termination of employment.

Impact of bonuses on severance payments
  • Argentina
  • 18 November 2015

Under the Labour Act, termination without just cause entitles an employee to a severance payment. When defining the basis of calculation of severance payments, the Labour Contract Act refers to the highest and average monthly salaries that an employee accrued during his or her last year of service. The inclusion of bonuses in this calculation is a highly contested issue in labour disputes.

Social security agreements applicable to expatriates working in Argentina
  • Argentina
  • 09 September 2015

Granting social security rights to migrant employees is of fundamental importance. Depending on the country that expatriates come from and taking into account the length of time that they have worked in Argentina, certain employees are entitled to request recognition of work carried out in Argentina under the relevant international social security agreement in order to receive social security benefits.


Australia

Exposure Draft of Model OHS Act Released for Public Comment
  • Australia
  • 14 October 2009

Safe Work Australia has released the exposure draft of the model occupational health and safety legislation for public comment. This update provides an overview of some of the key proposals in the model act, including provisions on the primary duty of care, incident notification, the regulator's enforcement and information-gathering powers, and offences and penalties.

Model OHS Laws - One Step Closer to Becoming a Reality
  • Australia
  • 17 June 2009

The Workplace Relations Ministers Council has agreed to a framework for model occupational health and safety (OHS) laws and has given instructions for the drafting of model OHS laws to commence. During a recent meeting the council provided its response to the recommendations of the Panel for the National Review into Model OHS Laws regarding the optimal structure and content of a model OHS act.

Workplace Relations Transitional Bill Introduced
  • Australia
  • 15 April 2009

The Fair Work Bill has passed through the Senate after an agreement was reached with Senator Steven Fielding on phasing in its definition of a 'small business' for the purpose of excluding unfair dismissal claims. The agreement means that the government can implement its timetable of amendments to unfair dismissal and enterprise bargaining laws from July 1 2009.

Harmonization of Occupational Health and Safety Laws - Second Report
  • Australia
  • 08 April 2009

The National Review Panel into Model Occupational Health and Safety Laws has delivered its second report. This update provides a preliminary summary of the key recommendations in the report, including recommendations regarding definitions of certain terms, the roles of inspectors and codes of practice.

Model Occupational Health and Safety Laws: Submissions to the National Review
  • Australia
  • 29 October 2008

The closing date for submissions to the national review into model occupational, health and safety legislation was July 11 2008. The panel received over 240 submissions from various parties, including public and private sector organizations, government, industry groups and the unions. This update outlines some of the key points arising from the submissions.


Austria

Can a Share Deal Constitute a Transfer of Business?
  • Austria
  • 12 January 2005

A recent Supreme Court decision has confirmed the opinion that a share deal in regard to an entity is not a transfer of business as the employer does not change. A change of all or parts of an entity's shareholders does not qualify as a transfer of business.

Domestic Legislation Catches Up with EU Policies
  • Austria
  • 06 October 2004

The Act on Equal Treatment has been amended in light of the EU directives which implement the principle of equal treatment between persons, irrespective of racial or ethnic origin, and establish a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation.

Supreme Court Throws Termination of Employment Contracts into Spin
  • Austria
  • 28 July 2004

A recent Supreme Court ruling indicates that a termination of employment by mutual agreement which coincides with a transfer of business is null and void unless concluded solely in the employee's interests (ie, to allow him or her to find another job).

Supreme Court Rules on Employer Liability in Business Transfers
  • Austria
  • 23 June 2004

The Supreme Court recently considered the issue of whether an employer that takes over a company is entitled to indemnification from the former employer in relation to employees' severance pay, holiday pay and compensation for leave not taken.

Draft Bill Governs Part-Time Leave
  • Austria
  • 04 February 2004

The Federal Ministry of Economics and Employment has issued a new draft bill governing part-time parental leave. The specific procedures in connection with the right of employees to work part time may well prove disadvantageous to employers since the onus is on them to file a complaint if they disagree.


Belgium

Social security contributions due on most end-of-employment allowances
  • Belgium
  • 06 November 2013

A recent royal decree has extended the scope of remuneration taken into account for the calculation of social security contributions. Almost all allowances paid to an employee after termination of his or her employment contract will now be subject to social security contributions (both the employer's contributions and the employee's contributions). However, two exceptions to the definition of 'remuneration' have been provided.

Council of Ministers approves draft bill on unified employment status
  • Belgium
  • 16 October 2013

The Council of Ministers recently approved a draft bill introducing a unified status for blue-collar and white-collar workers. The bill elaborates on provisions governing notice periods that were originally proposed by the minister of labour. Although the text has not been finalised, the draft bill constitutes another step forward in the re-shaping of Belgian dismissal law and the abolishment of the 'carenz' day (the first unpaid day of illness).

Compromise proposal: a step towards single employment status
  • Belgium
  • 24 July 2013

The minister for labour has presented a compromise proposal that would eliminate the differences between blue-collar and white-collar workers. The proposal would equalise notice periods and abolish the 'carenz' day (the first day of illness, which remains unpaid for many blue-collar workers) from January 1 2014.

Listening to sales calls is allowed, but do not forget the work rules
  • Belgium
  • 10 July 2013

The Privacy Commission recently shed light on the practice of employers listening in to employees' sales calls with a view to quality control. The commission ruled that this is possible in principle, provided that the system is mentioned in the work rules beforehand. The commission's advice provides significant guidance for employers that wish to introduce such a system.

Language use decree violates freedom of movement in cross-border agreements
  • Belgium
  • 08 May 2013

The European Court of Justice recently issued a landmark decision on the application of the Flemish Decree on Use of Languages. The court held that the provision requiring employers with an established place of business in the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium to draft employment agreements exclusively in Dutch, under penalty of nullity, infringed the free movement of workers in cross-border agreements.