12 August 2021
Work/Life – 4 of 39 Insights
Welcome to the latest edition of our international employment news update.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has proposed new diversity rules to improve transparency on the diversity of listed company boards and their executive management teams. Listed companies will be encouraged to have at least 40% of board seats women, and have at least one non-white director at board level. Firms would also be obliged to publish diversity data. Under the proposed new rules, companies will need to either “comply or explain'' why they failed to miss their new benchmarks. The FCA consultation on its diversity plans will run until 22 October 2021 and changes are due to be implemented in January 2022. Nasdaq-listed companies will also have binding gender and diversity targets following the US Securities and Exchange Commissions approval of a similar proposal.
The French National Institute of Statistical and Economic Studies (INSEE) reported that between April and June 2021, 239,500 jobs were created in France. Employment levels in France are almost back to their pre-pandemic level. There were also record recruitment levels of recruitment, with 785,000 new hires in May 2021 and 837,000 in June 2021, of which 400,000 were on permanent contracts. Temporary work, often considered an indicator of a country's economic situation, increased by 2.4% between April and June 2021.
As vaccination against COVID becomes more accessible, businesses are increasingly asking for proof of vaccination from their employees. The Dutch government has refrained from giving their opinion of the legal implications of this decision and said, "we are not going to say: this is not allowed."
Businesses are anticipating a surge in discrimination claims from employees who were overlooked for promotions when working from home. The UK Office for National Statistics found that those working remotely were 38% less likely to receive a bonus. Employers have been advised to set clear promotion criteria so that they can demonstrate how one candidate advances over another. Litigation is also expected around unfair dismissal and discrimination claims from employees who are fired after refusing to return to the office find themselves more likely to work from home because of their age, gender, or disability.
As of 1 August 2021, the government will only contribute 60% of salaries for furloughed staff, prompting employers to pay a minimum of 20%, plus national insurance and pension contributions. The scheme is due to end by September. A British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) poll found that 18% of businesses were likely to make staff redundant, and 25% say they will reduce working hours or move staff to part-time arrangements. Jane Gratton of the BCC warned this increased burden on employers "will likely result in many thousands of people being released back into the labour market."
Rainer Dulger, Chairman of the Confederation of German Employers' Association (BDA), has warned that the German pension system may be at risk of collapse when those born in the 1960s retire. In response, employers in Germany are proposing more incentives for those extending their working life to safeguard adequate pensions for future generations and long-term intergenerational equality in the long run.
In Hungary's bid to attract international investment, the government has adopted a set of proposals in an effort to restart the economy. Foreign businesses in Hungary will now be allowed to have 20% of their headcount made up by foreign workers, such as assignees, up from the previous 10% limit.