UK: Whistleblowing – Court of Appeal rules on meaning of ‘public interest’

Employers should not assume that the disclosure of an alleged breach of employment contract will necessarily be outside the scope of whistleblowing protection. The Court of Appeal has confirmed in Chesterton Global Ltd v Nurmohamed that disclosure of private workplace disputes can be protected by whistleblowing law in certain circumstances, for example if the disclosure relates to serious, deliberate wrongdoing by a large employer and materially affects a significant number of workers.

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Filed under Jurisdiction: UK, Whistleblowing

UK: Statutory holiday pay must take account of voluntary overtime

The EAT has upheld first instance tribunal decisions that the calculation of statutory holiday pay (for the 4 weeks’ EU-derived holiday) should reflect voluntary overtime, voluntary standby and voluntary call out payments, provided that the work has been undertaken with sufficient regularity to have become part of the employee’s normal pay. The Working Time Regulations must be construed purposively to this effect.

Previous case law established that commission and certain supplementary payments had to be included in the calculation of “normal remuneration” because they were amounts for work which was “linked intrinsically to the performance of tasks which the worker is required to carry out under his contract of employment”.

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Filed under Jurisdiction: UK, Remuneration (including bonus and incentive plans), Working hours (including holiday, sick leave, overtime, rest breaks)

Asia: Post-employment covenants

Although often included in employment contracts, the enforceability of post-employment non-competition obligations can vary greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

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Filed under Jurisdiction: Asia, Protection of business interests (including restrictive covenants and confidential information), Termination of employment

Philippines: Compliance Check – Contracting and subcontracting

The Philippines Department of Labor and Employment (“DOLE”) introduced guidelines earlier this year on the prohibition of “labor-only” contracting (ie labour hire). These changes show the continued tightening on the use of third party labor in the Philippines. Is your company compliant?

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Filed under Employment status (including agency workers, casual workers, use of contractors and 'dispatch' arrangements), Jurisdiction: Asia

Hong Kong: Legislative Council to consider reinstatement remedy for unfair dismissal claims

On 25 April 2017, the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2017 was introduced for first reading in the Legislative Council. This Bill follows a similar Bill proposed in 2016 and if passed, will strengthen the Labour Tribunal’s power to make an order of reinstatement or re-engagement in cases where an employee has been unlawfully dismissed. While this remedy is already available to the Labour Tribunal, its exercise is currently permitted only where both parties consent.

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Filed under Jurisdiction: Asia, Termination of employment

Japan: 45 hour overtime cap proposed

On 5 June 2017, the committee deliberating on the proposal to cap overtime made a written submission to the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare proposing to cap overtime to 45 hours a month, with an annual cap of 360 overtime hours. The proposal recommends sanctions against employers who breach this rule however, it sets out a number of exceptions.

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Filed under Jurisdiction: Asia, Workplace flexibility and family-friendly rights, Workplace Health and Safety

China: Guidance on what a “major change in objective circumstances” means

A recent judicial interpretation (Interpretation) issued jointly by the Supreme People’s Court and the Labour Dispute Arbitration Committee in Beijing provides timely clarification (among other things) of what is meant by the term “major change of objective circumstances” in the context of redundancy for corporations with operations in Beijing (and, potentially, other parts of China).

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Filed under Jurisdiction: Asia, Redundancy

UK: Queen’s Speech and Brexit developments

The Queen’s Speech on 21 June 2017 set out the government’s programme for the next two years and was inevitably dominated by Brexit-related legislation. The principal bill will be the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill, subsequently published on 13 July 2017, which will repeal the European Communities Act 1972 and bring about Britain’s exit from the European Union. A series of factsheets has been published to accompany the Bill, including one setting out the Government’s previously announced position on protecting workers’ rights (see here).  Other measures included: Continue reading

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Filed under Data protection and privacy, Employment status (including agency workers, casual workers, use of contractors and 'dispatch' arrangements), International mobility (including secondments, migrant workers, territorial jurisdiction), Jurisdiction: UK, Workplace culture, diversity and discrimination (including bullying and harassment), Workplace flexibility and family-friendly rights

UK: Supreme Court rules tribunal fee regime is unlawful

The Supreme Court has this morning handed down its judgment that the fee regime introduced for Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal claims in July 2013 is unlawful under both domestic and EU law as it has the effect of preventing access to justice.  The relevant Fees Order is quashed and fees will cease to be payable from today, meaning that the tribunal rules and online claim forms will need immediate amendment.  In accordance with an undertaking given by the Lord Chancellor at an earlier stage of the proceedings, all fees paid in the past will have to be refunded (whether paid by the respondent employer, as is usual where the claim is successful, or by the claimant).  The judgment in R (on the application of UNISON) v Lord Chancellor is here; the summary for the press is here.

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Filed under Employment-related claims- procedure and form, Jurisdiction: UK

Australia: Casting a Wide Net – Proposed Labour Hire Licensing Scheme in Queensland

The Queensland Parliament is currently considering significant changes to the labour hire industry by way of the Labour Hire Licensing Bill 2017 (Qld) (Bill). The Bill was introduced and read for the first time on 25 May 2017 and was subsequently reported on by the Finance and Administration Committee (Finance Committee).

The Bill:

  • introduces a licensing scheme for labour hire providers (Providers); and
  • creates various offences relating to that scheme.

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Filed under Employment status (including agency workers, casual workers, use of contractors and 'dispatch' arrangements), Jurisdiction: Australia