Work/Life – 24 / 57 观点
Welcome to the latest edition of our international employment news update.
Despite remote working reducing worker satisfaction, a poll of 520 business leaders reveals that once COVID-19 passes, almost half of London-based employers expect staff to work from home up to five days a week. Smaller businesses appear more likely to consider frequent home working. "It’s about what business has judged best for the bottom line or productivity of their company," said London Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Richard Burge. 6 million UK white-collar jobs also risk being outsourced to cheaper but equally skilled workers abroad, warns a report by the Tony Blair Institute. These figures are the latest to fuel concerns for businesses that will suffer as they miss out on commuter footfall and lunchtime trade.
The German law that forces companies to allow their employees to work from home will not be extended beyond the end of June 2021, says Angela Merkel's chief of staff. First introduced in January, the home office no longer considers the emergency legislation necessary as Germany's coronavirus infection numbers reduce and restrictions relax. From July, employers may decide if they want to continue offering employers the right to remote working.
The EU is set to update its guidelines for workplace safety in response to the new culture of remote working and a shift from the traditional work environment. "For many, the concept of a traditional workplace is disappearing fast. While that brings opportunities, it also brings challenges and risks – health, psychological and social," Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said. The EC has pledged to focus on mental health, with reduced social interaction and hyperconnectivity posing new challenges for workers, and stress causing of half of all lost working days in the EU. The new framework seeks to anticipate and manage changes brought by home working and its digital transition, prevent work-related illnesses and deaths, and increase preparedness for future health threats.
The Trade Union Congress has urged for long COVID to be recognised as a disability and for COVID to be classified as an occupational disease. The move would provide legislative protections and access to compensation for workers who contract the virus while working. The latest figures reveal 376,000 people in the UK continue to report symptoms a year after initial infection. A survey of 3,500 exposed how frontline workers have been disproportionately affected by long COVID, with 5% of respondents forced out of their job.
In a June 2021 decision, the French Supreme Court ruled that the five-year limitation period for psychological harassment starts with the most recent act of harassment. The landmark judgement involved an employee who brought a case to the Labour Courts on 10 November 2014, more than five years after reporting the acts of harassment to the Labour Inspector. The Supreme Court confirmed that the dismissal of the employee on 17 November 2009 constituted the last act of harassment and fell within the limitation period. Judges may soon face an influx of psychological harassment claims as victims are granted more time to bring actions.
The city of San Francisco has announced COVID vaccinations will be required for all 37,000 of its city workers. Employees will have 10 weeks to receive their jabs once a vaccine is approved by the FDA. The vaccination policy states that "failure to comply with this policy may result in discipline up to and including termination of employment." Under the new policy – and as the Delta variant reignites concerns – workers have until the end of July to report their vaccination status, as city officials attempt to promote safety in municipal workplaces, prevent transmission and limit COVID hospitalisations. The city reported that around 80% of its residents aged 12 and older have received one dose of the vaccine, while 70% are fully vaccinated.
From 1 January 2023, extensive due diligence and reporting obligations regarding human, worker and environmental rights in the supply chain will apply to companies with 3,000 or more employees based or operating in Germany. The legislation will extend to companies with 1,000 employees from 2024. Firms will be required to report annually on their compliance and will need to set up internal complaint procedures for those affected by supply chain activities to formally register their concerns. Appropriate and proportionate measures to identify, address, prevent and remedy abuses will be expected from companies, and violations of these obligations will result in fines of up to 2% of annual global turnover.