Auteurs

Sean Nesbitt

Associé

Read More

Marc André Gimmy

Associé

Read More

Emma Sims

Trainee Solicitor

Auteurs

Sean Nesbitt

Associé

Read More

Marc André Gimmy

Associé

Read More

Emma Sims

Trainee Solicitor

11 janvier 2024

Work/Life – 6 de 95 Publications

Work/Life: international employment news update

  • Quick read

Issue 90

Welcome to the latest edition of our international employment news update.

(you may require a subscription to view some of these articles).

Germany increases its minimum wage

As of 1 January 2024, Germany's minimum wage has been raised for the fourth time to EUR12.41 (gross) per hour. The move was approved via the Fourth Minimum Wage Adjustment Ordinance, adopted by Germany's Federal Cabinet on 15 November 2023. A further increase will be implemented next year, on 1 January 2025. 

Despite the raise, there have been calls for a larger increase in minimum wage, particularly considering Germany's relatively high inflation rate and increased unemployment payments. 

Breastfeeding leave in Spain can now be accumulated as full working days

On 21 December 2023, the regulation of breastfeeding leave in Spain became more flexible: the new regulation allows employees to accumulate breastfeeding leave for up to 28 working days during the year, regardless of whether it's established in a collective agreement.

In Spain, breastfeeding leave can be claimed until the child is nine months old (or until the child is 12 months old with a proportional reduction in salary from the ninth month onwards), allowing employees to be absent for one hour a day, or to reduce their working day by half an hour. Until now, accumulation was only allowed when established by collective agreement or by agreement between the parties. However, from now on, employees will be able to accumulate up to 28 days. Leave can also be taken in two bouts of 14 days.  

This means that employees who have become parents will have equal leave of 16 weeks plus the new option to accumulate breastfeeding leave for up to 28 working days over the course of the year. 

Dairy giant FrieslandCampina culls 1,800 jobs 

Dairy cooperative FrieslandCampina - owned by 15,000 dairy farmers across the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany - is enacting major cost-cutting measures. The cooperative will reduce its 22,000 - strong global workforce by 1,800, with 900 of those job losses taking place in the Netherlands.

CEO Jan Derck van Kanebeek deemed it a difficult day for the cooperative but announced: "These cost saving measures should contribute to FrieslandCampina's ability to compete and win in the market for the benefit of our employees and member dairy farmers." The Amersfoort-based company hopes the initiative will save EUR400-500 million per year by 2026.

London firms look to hour-shortening measures over redundancies 

Firms across the City of London are implementing a wave of cost-saving initiatives amid the ongoing deal-making slump. Rather than follow in the footsteps of the Big Four accounting firms, which made a spate of redundancies in the second half of 2023, many firms want to hold on to staff to avoid being caught short of talent when the market revives. 

To facilitate this, some firms have asked workers to drop down to a four-day or fewer-hours week with reduced pay while others consider deferring start dates for graduate schemes and apprenticeships, with redundancy exercises taking a backseat amid market optimism.  

UK demand escalates for four-day working week

Calls for a shorter working week in the UK - with no adverse impact on pay - have ramped up significantly. Over 150 companies are accredited to the 4 Day Week Campaign, which champions a shorter working week for staff. 

Meanwhile, demand is increasing among public sector workers: civil servants at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have thrown their hat in the ring, petitioning for a 20% reduction in working hours with no change to wages. UK workers clock up some of the longest working hours in Europe, and calls for a four-day working week aim to tackle the prospect of burnout and work/life (im)balance faced by staff. 

Germany: Higher fines for non-employment of disabled employees

Companies with 60 or more employees in Germany are obliged to fill 5% of their positions with disabled people, though special regulations deviating from this quota apply to micro-enterprises with between 20 and 60 employees.

Companies which do not fulfil the quota are now obliged to pay higher equalisation charges in 2024. For employers with at least 60 employees, the equalisation charge amounts to EUR140 – EUR60 per inadequately staffed workplace per month (depending on the ratio of disabled employees).

Plus, a new fine has been introduced in 2024: per unfilled workplace required by the quota, employers with more than 60 employees must pay EUR720 per month. Reduced amounts apply for companies with fewer employees. 

GBP15,000 damages for female employee denied adequate toilet facilities  

A UK Employment Tribunal has awarded a female security guard GBP15,000 damages for injury to feelings after her employer did not provide female toilet facilities (while men were given a washroom containing urinals) and delayed making appropriate adjustments to the site's accessible toilet, which she was encouraged to use in lieu of a female-only bathroom. 

Despite management designating the accessible toilet as a "Ladies" loo via makeshift signage, Ms Vaneeza Abbas alleged male colleagues continued to leave it in an unhygienic condition. There were further delays in management arranging for a functioning lock on the facilities, which meant the toilet could be opened from the outside. Complaints spanned three years in total, with Judge Ronald Mackay noting that managers were aware of the "inadequacy of the facilities". 

The Glasgow-based Tribunal found that Ms Abbas had been subjected to sex discrimination and sexual harassment, though a claim for unlawful deduction of wages was not successful. 

The Dutch inflation rate fell to 3.8% in 2023 - but wages struggle to keep apace

The Netherlands' annual inflation rate is estimated to have been 3.8% in 2023, according to calculations by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), a sizeable drop from the 10% annual inflation rate in 2022. Experts point to a fall in energy prices as a significant contributor to the decreased rate; the price of natural gas, for example, has climbed down from record highs in autumn 2022, brought on by the war in Ukraine. 

Nonetheless, the price of goods, and food in particular, remains high. While the Netherlands has seen rapid wage increase, this has failed to keep pace with inflation. 

Dutch employers concerned about short-termism in collectively bargained contract talks

Employers in the Netherlands are wary about short-termism, in particular that talks with labour unions regarding new collectively bargained contracts were too focused on short-term agreements. Employers' association AWVN opined in its final evaluation of 2023's contract deals that the trend showed a lack of forward thinking when it came to fortifying the economy: "The emphasis that the unions place on making salary agreements puts investments under pressure, including investment in employees. In particular, the lack of attention to labour productivity growth will ultimately harm the economy's strength." 

Last year saw 439 collective bargaining agreements settled, affecting 3.7 million employees. An average salary raise of 7.1% was agreed between employers and the economy, but agreed contract durations were significantly shorter than in 2022.

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19 November 2021

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4 November 2021

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20 October 2021

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7 October 2021

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Issue 39

24 September 2021

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Work/Life: international employment news update

9 September 2021

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Work/Life: international employment news update

12 August 2021

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29 July 2021

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Work/Life: international employment news update

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Work/Life: international employment news update

Issue 34

1 July 2021

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Issue 33

17 June 2021

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Issue 32

3 June 2021

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Work/Life: international employment news update

Issue 31

20 May 2021

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Issue 30

5 May 2021

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Issue 29

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Issue 28

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Issue 27

25 March 2021

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Issue 26

10 March 2021

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Issue 25

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Issue 24

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Issue 23

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Issue 22

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Issue 21

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Issue 20

3 December 2020

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Droit Social, pensions et mobilité

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Issue 19

19 November 2020

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Droit Social, pensions et mobilité

Work/Life: international employment news update

Issue 18

4 November 2020

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Droit Social, pensions et mobilité

Work/Life: international employment news update

Issue 17

23 October 2020

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Droit Social, pensions et mobilité

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Issue 16

8 October 2020

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Droit Social, pensions et mobilité

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Issue 15

24 September 2020

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Issue 14

10 September 2020

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Issue 13

6 August 2020

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Issue 12

16 July 2020

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Issue 11

25 June 2020

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Work/Life: international employment news update

Issue 10

11 June 2020

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Droit Social, pensions et mobilité

Work/Life: international employment news update

Issue 9

28 May 2020

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Work/Life: international employment news update

Issue 8

14 May 2020

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Work/Life: international employment news update

Issue 7

30 April 2020

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Issue 5

25 March 2020

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Work/Life: international employment law update

Issue 4

12 May 2020

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Work/Life: international employment news update

Issue 3

27 January 2020

par Sean Nesbitt, Marc André Gimmy

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Work/Life: international employment news update

Issue 2

13 February 2020

par Sean Nesbitt, Marc André Gimmy

Droit Social, pensions et mobilité

Work/Life: international employment news update

Issue 1

27 February 2020

par Sean Nesbitt, Marc André Gimmy

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