22 April 2021
Work/Life – 2 of 30 Insights
Welcome to the latest edition of our international employment news update.
Recent reports claim that Tesla intends to opt out of employers' association IG Metall. Although employers' association membership is not required by law, it's customary for carmakers in Germany to join. If Tesla were to break with tradition, heavy labour debates are expected, given the key role the automotive industry plays in Germany’s economy.
The procedure harmonising how damages are awarded to French employees in the event of unfair dismissal has been reformed in a recent ruling by the Paris Court of Appeal. Since September 2017, employers have paid set damages to employees based on a scale which takes into account their length of service, age, the circumstances of their dismissal, and the number of employees employed by the company. The Court of Appeal's ruling has found that this "scale of damages" does not provide adequate and appropriate compensation for the injury suffered. As a result, employers will now pay damages according to the specific facts of the case, unconstrained by a maximum or minimum amount.
According to Dutch think tank SCP, the Netherlands' participation law aimed at helping people with a mental or physical disability secure regular employment has failed. Under this law, fewer jobs were created and those relying on the additional protection were instead depending on state benefits. MPs are now proposing that "sheltered work" projects be revived and made available to people who need assistance with returning to a regular job.
The Court of Appeal has ruled that foster carers in the UK are "workers", giving them the right to unionise. The judgment follows Lord Justice Underhill's judgement that the definition of workers "extends to persons who are parties to a foster care agreement" and focuses mainly on the right under Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights. For the first time, foster carers will be able to join and form a trade union and collectively bargain. Judges have proposed to Parliament and the Supreme Court that the existing legislation be updated to protect the new position of foster carers.
British challenger bank Revolut has told its 2,000 employees that they will be able to spend up to two months a year working abroad when travel restrictions are lifted. An internal Revolut survey revealed that only 2% of employees would prefer to work from the office every day, while 36% favoured an 100% remote working structure. In line with tax and immigration regulations, US chief executive Ron Oliveira announced that this new flexible working policy is part of a wider strategy aimed to attract better tech talent. The policy, currently in pilot phase, is set to be fully implemented by 2022.
With some companies going fully remote even as we emerge from lockdown, the FT reports that new VR tools are being designed to encourage more natural work environments and facilitate those no longer able to travel for business. Add-ons to apps such as Microsoft Teams and Slack are aiming to enhance the experience of collaborative meetings by incorporating 3D presentations, whiteboards, virtual post-it notes, and even a digitised blue sky!
Reslash are providing virtual spaces where virtual groups can gather while a "spatial audio" function allows them to hear each other only when in close proximity. Those in the industry predict the lines between real and virtual interactions are blurring as VR tools are "getting rid of isolation and facilitate those water cooler moments".
Target, one of the largest US retailers with over 1,900 stores, has pledged to spend more than $2 billion with Black-owned businesses by 2025. This move will see new brands from over 500 businesses added to shelves and the hiring of Black-owned firms throughout Target's retail operations and shopping experience. This ongoing commitment to social justice and racial inequality is driven by the launch of a start-up program, Forward Founders, helping Black-owned vendors grow and scale their operations, which will be supported by an in-house Target team.