7 April 2022
Work/Life – 2 of 52 Insights
Welcome to the latest edition of our international employment news update. Given the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, we wanted to direct readers to our practical resources aimed at supporting those who wish to understand and help the circumstances of Ukrainian people who want to be able to live and work. Here is the link led by our CE offices:
The EU “Whistleblower Protection Directive” has been transcribed into French law via a law dated March 22, 2022.
This new law, which will come into force on September 1, 2022, notably aims at reinforcing the protection of whistleblowers against retaliation and other injustices and ensuring their reports are addressed. It clarifies and broadens the definition of whistleblowers (eg no need to have had personal awareness of the facts), simplifies the whistleblowing procedure (eg possibility to directly report to the judge without first reporting to the company’s management), guarantees strict confidentiality of their identity and improves the protection of whistleblowers through reinforced sanctions (eg obligation to fund the training account up to € 8,000, increase of the civil fine from €30,000 to €60,000) and broadening the definition of prohibited retaliation (eg reputation prejudice, financial lost, contract termination/cancellation). We help businesses comply with the directive, read more in our whistleblowing brochure.
The Hungarian government will provide support to employers giving jobs to Ukrainian refugees and providing them with long-term shelter and transport opportunities - half of the related costs may be reimbursed. Employers may receive up to HUF 60,000 (appr. EUR 160) per month for each Ukrainian refugee they employ and up to an additional HUF 12,000 (appr. EUR 32) for each of their children. See our guide for Ukrainian refugees seeking entry into the UK.
At the start of the year, economists predicted a strong year for wage growth in the EU. The war with Russia has instead pushed many industries into crisis modes with workers grappling with rising energy and food costs. The car industry is one of those feeling the effects of the conflict with truck maker MAN furloughing 11,000 staff on 80% pay. A survey published by the European Commission showed eurozone economic sentiment is at its lowest point in 12 months.
The number of industrial disputes is well above pre-pandemic levels as the cost-of-living crisis continues. The Trade Union Congress has recorded over 300 disputes across different industries. These disputes stem mostly from wages not rising with inflation. Most of the actions are localised given the 50% turnout threshold required for national action.
The UK's Equality and Human Right Commission has warned firms that miss the gender pay gap reporting deadline of 4 April 2022 for the second consecutive year will face formal consequences. The main power of the commission is naming and shaming, as it did in 2019 with the likes of Charlotte Tilbury Beauty and Northern Automotive. The UK gender pay gap widened last year and it is estimated that a woman earned 89p for every £1 a man earned.
Analysis recently published by the Slovak recruitment company Profesia showed that the gap between a men's and women's average gross monthly salary amounts to EUR 428 (nearly 25%). This gap is not only a result of discrimination, but also other factors such as work preferences, maternity leave, and the focus of the economy.
Employers are coming under increasing pressure to attract and retain staff. Almost a third of young people are actively looking for different work, and 70% of employees are open to a new job, according to employment agency Randstad whose research involved 35,000 employees worldwide.
In most German states, customers can shop without a mask again. Because of continued high COVID-19 numbers, there is concern about infection among supermarket employees. Retail chains are relying on voluntary action.
The new visa allows remote workers to move to Italy from outside the EU. Specific requirements such as income threshold and what is considered "highly qualified work activities" have not been defined yet. These visas will not count towards the restrictions on the number of work permits issued. Italy joins Germany and Portugal in offering this visa.
Formal civil and criminal investigations have been launched by the government into P&O on the grounds of non-consultation with the workers and unions and that they did not inform the Secretary of State before making the decision. A government spokesman called the actions of P&O "appalling."