16 July 2020
Welcome to the latest edition of our international employment news update.
Online fashion retailer Boohoo has had more than £1 billion wiped off its value as details emerge around how its clothes are manufactured at a Leicester garment factory.
Boohoo said the conditions – where workers were paid less than the minimum wage and were not adequately protected against the spread of COVID-19 – were "totally unacceptable and fall woefully short of any standards acceptable in any workplace".
The National Crime Agency will now investigate modern slavery in Leicester’s clothing factories, amid increasing concerns over the lack of accountability in supplier networks in the fashion industry.
Recently leaked proposals from the German Ministry of Labour Affairs are set to increase businesses' responsibility for overseeing the standards of firms in their supply chain. Under the new law, German companies will be liable for breaches relating to minimum wage, labour rights and environmental standards along the supply chain.
Amazon is set to pay $500 million in bonuses to workers as a "thank you" for their work during the pandemic.The bonuses will range from $150 for delivery drivers to $3,000 for owners of small delivery companies set-up to drive for Amazon. Full-time employees working in warehouses and Whole Foods Market stores will receive a $500 bonus.
Retail giant Walmart has also announced that it would be paying its Minnesota workers $5 million in bonuses to reward them for working through the coronavirus crisis.
A Deloitte survey of more than 27,500 millennials and Gen Zs has found that job loyalty in these groups has increased. For the first time since Deloitte asked this question in 2016, more millennials said they’d like to stay with their employers for at least five years than would prefer to leave within two years. The survey concluded that loyalty has risen because businesses have increased their focus on employee needs, from diversity and inclusion to sustainability and reskilling.
Increasing numbers of young people from Spain, Portugal and Italy are moving to Poland in search of better employment opportunities. Aleksandra Topolewska, a recruitment projects manager at ManpowerGroup, says that many initially come to spend part of their university program in Poland but choose to stay. The number of Western European immigrants has nearly tripled in the last 10 years, and Poland has recently seen the highest levels of immigration in the European Union.
The UK government has launched a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of "new, high-quality" jobs for young people. For each "kickstarter" job, the government will cover the cost of 25 hours' work a week at the National Minimum Wage. The scheme is expected to open in August 2020 and run until December 2021, with the first jobs starting in autumn.
This move comes after the government also announced measures to incentivise businesses to retain workers when the furlough scheme ends and a £111 million investment in traineeships as part of its post-COVID recovery plans. Businesses in England will be given £1,000 for each new work experience placement they offer, as fears of unemployment (particularly for young people) continue to grow.
Germany has adopted a national strategy for equality between women and men. The plan sets out nine gender equality goals which will be backed by targeted legislation in each of Germany's federal ministries. Objectives include a reduction of the pay and pension gap between men and women, and a goal of improving career opportunities for women to be equal with those of men. Despite being led by a female chancellor, Germany currently scores below the European average on gender equality, according to a 2019 index by the European Institute for Gender Equality.
by multiple authors