9 September 2021
Work/Life – 3 of 39 Insights
Welcome to the latest edition of our international employment news update.
Australian airline Qantas has announced that all of its employees must be vaccinated against Covid-19 by March 2022, with frontline employees, such as pilots, vaccinated by mid-November 2021. Those staff with a medical reason for not getting the vaccine will be given an exemption. Qantas' CEO, Alan Joyce, hopes that this will 'guard against the disruptions that can be caused by just one positive Covid-case'.
According to the jobs site Indeed, the share of US job vacancies that require the Covid-19 vaccine is up 34% in the first week of August 2021 compared to July. The sectors with the quickest growth in vaccine requirements are software development, education, sales and marketing.
The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has announced that employers must make reasonable adjustments for staff who refuse vaccination for medical reasons or because of 'sincerely held religious beliefs'. When investigating whether a worker has 'sincerely held religious beliefs', employers must be wary of invading employees' privacy or harassing them. They should also be mindful that religious beliefs can change over time.
Scotland's government has pledged £10 million for companies trialling four-day weeks following changes to working life caused by the pandemic. They have been encouraged to expand the trial following a report produced by the think tank IPPR Scotland which revealed that (unsurprisingly) 80% of people think they would prefer a shorter working week if their pay was protected. 65% of those surveyed also believed that it would be a positive move for productivity. UK trades unions are longstanding advocated of a four-day week.
Information on a company's environmental impact must now be accessible to the social and economic committee of companies (CSE) in a database, as the CSE must be consulted on the subject. To aid this, employee representatives will be able to take a training course of up to 5 days on the issues.
If the CSE appoints an expert chartered accountant to assist, the accountant will have to consider the environmental impact of the company in their report.
According to Detlef Scheele, chairperson of the Federal Employment Agency (BA), Germany will need to attract hundreds of thousands of immigrants in the coming years to compensate for a considerable shortage of skilled workers in several industries, including healthcare and construction. The Skilled Immigration Act, which came into force in March 2020, was designed to accelerate working permit applications for foreigners looking to enter the German labour market but it has not been effective so far. Politicians have criticised it and the wider German immigration system for not being competitive enough to attract global talent.
CBI, the UK's largest employers' group, has warned that worker supply problems affecting numerous UK industries such as construction, retail and hospitality, could last for up to two years. The CBI blamed shortages on Brexit and the pandemic which have limited numbers of EU workers. Officials have told companies they should employ British workers rather than hoping for rule changes which will temporarily allow in EU workers who have filled these positions previously. The CBI has warned that this will not solve the issues and called for the government to address the UK's short-term economic needs.
Analysis by the consultancy firm Georgeson reveals that the 2021 AGM season saw investors in Europe's seven biggest markets increase their hostility towards directors' pay and the re-election of the same directors. The report shows that votes where more than 10% of votes cast were dissenting has increased 37% year-on-year across the UK, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands. This is an 18% increase on 2020's AGM season.