19. November 2021
Portugal has approved new employment laws which were developed in response to the increase in the number of people working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rules could see employers face penalties for contacting workers outside of office hours. They also provide that companies must help pay for remote working expenses such as higher electricity and internet bills and workers with children under eight years old have been given the right to work from home without having to arrange it with their employers in advance.
In the Netherlands, 1.2 million people currently suffer from burnout complaints like fatigue, headaches, insomnia, a feeling of unease, or concentration problems. One-third of all employee absentees give work pressure, or work stress as the reason for being absent. Burnout complaints and other stress-related absenteeism cost employers 3.2 billion euros each year.
On October 20 2021, the French Supreme Court ruled that the person who notifies an employee that they have been dismissed can only validly do so if they belong to the same company or group as the employee. In the latter case, the notifier must hold a valid power of attorney, such as occupying the position of Human Resources Director ('HRD') of the group company. Further, the HRD of subsidiary A cannot dismiss an employee of subsidiary B, unless:
As Denmark experiences a steady rise in daily COVID-19 infections, the Danish government is proposing to fast-track legislation which will allow workplaces to insist on a digital COVID-19 pass for staff. The new law has been agreed in principle between the government, trade unions and employer associations. The interim business minister, Mattias Tesfaye, commented that the law 'can provide greater security in the workplace and hopefully help Denmark get through the winter as well as possible'. He added that the government was considering the law 'for the sake of the Danish economy and to keep the jobs going'.
On November 15, the '3-G' rule came into effect in Austrian workplaces. It means that employees must now have proof of COVID-19 vaccination, a recent negative test, or evidence that they have recently recovered from COVID-19. Employers must conduct spot-checks on their employees for this information. Companies are monitored by health officials. There is one narrow exemption to the '3-G' vaccinated / recovered / negative test requirement. It covers employees who have contact with other employees for no more than 15 minutes, twice a day, outside.
The German labour market continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Job seekers dropped to around 2.377 million people in October 2021 which is 88,000 fewer claims than the month before and 383,000 fewer claims than a year ago.
The US labour market appears to be moving towards pre-pandemic levels as the downward trend in unemployment claims continues. The number of people claiming jobless benefits has declined since the recent peak of 424,000, in mid-July 2021, to 278,000 last month. The number of workers filing for unemployment insurance also continued to decrease last week.
EU member states have until 17 December 2021 to transpose the EU Whistleblowing Directive into national law. All employers with EU based operations will need to decide how to change their whistleblowing arrangements to comply with a potential patchwork of new rules. We will be running a webinar about this at 12pm GMT on Tuesday 7 December. Sign up to the webinar below.