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Proposals to amend working time protections denied – “public unconvinced” shock (UK)

On Friday last week the Financial Times reported on proposals from the Business Department to “rip up worker protections” under the current Working Time Regulations.  But simultaneously on BBC News online, look, it’s the Business Secretary himself denying on twitter any notion that his department is planning to dilute UK workers’ rights.  The very idea. … Continue Reading

Belgium’s social inspection services on a mission to check observance with working from home rules

In a previous blog we noted that as of November 2020, Belgium would again be in semi-lockdown and that one of the measures re-imposed was the obligation to work from home, unless this is realistically impossible. Employees whose work requires them to go the office need a confirmatory certificate from their employer attesting to this … Continue Reading

Important new developments in remote working rules in Russia

It became increasingly clear over 2020 that the existing legislation on remote working was not fully up to the challenges faced by the Russian economy during the Covid-19 pandemic, in particular the need of some businesses to place very large numbers of employees onto compulsory remote working arrangements at short notice. On 8 December, therefore, … Continue Reading

Employers needled by vaccine refusals, Part 2 – the role of reasonableness (UK)

Having established in the first of this series that a request to take the covid-19 vaccination is probably a reasonable management request, then what? Can you go straight from there to enforcing it as an issue of disobedience? Only if the refusal is unreasonable. Will refusal to take the vaccine be an unreasonable failure to … Continue Reading

Employers needled by vaccine refusals, Part 1 – your rights and obligations (UK)

So a government-approved vaccination becomes available and you really want your employees to take it.  Can you just insist, or does the development of the vaccine turn out to have been the easy bit? Here and in further posts to follow shortly are some headline thoughts on the point. Please note that these will be … Continue Reading

Second thoughts for employers facing new pandemic measures (UK)

Boris’ press conference on Saturday night addressed one key question and left another unanswered. In his late start, overturning of previous statements and an expression more hunted than Ronnie Biggs, the Prime Minister showed clearly that the pandemic holds the reins of power at present, not the Government.  On the other hand, after six months … Continue Reading

People at the Centre: hard decisions in hard times but some thoughts and reassurance for HR (UK)

A recent Acas survey has reported that over a third of employers (37%) are likely to make staff redundancies in the next 3 months (see here). That is a statistic which can be a surprise to no one, except possibly that it is not higher. Often in redundancy situations, the majority of the “sympathy” quite … Continue Reading

Spain’s new decree on remote working

A new decree (Royal Decree-law 28/2020) was passed on 22 September to regulate remote working in Spain. As for many countries worldwide, Spain has recently seen a marked increase in the number of employees working from home as part of its bid to decrease physical contact between individuals and curb the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to … Continue Reading

Post-lockdown working, Part 5 – doing your homework (UK)

The logical extension from the discovery that all or most or your staff can work from home without anything catastrophic happening is to ask yourself whether you actually need an office in the first place.  Obviously it has potential advantages in terms of staff cohesion and corporate identity, but decisions are being made across the … Continue Reading

Post-lockdown flexible working, Part 2 – making it official (UK)

By now, many employees working from home in the lockdown will have made quite firm decisions around how they wish to operate going forward.  Some will have decided that there is nothing in their lives quite like their family and, for that reason, that they wish to extend their WFH indefinitely.  Others, on probably very … Continue Reading

Post-lockdown flexible working, Part 1 – can you still say no? (UK)

The world of work has remained broadly the same for the last 100 to 200 years – offices might have lost the wood panelling, trains become less smoky (inside and out!), top hats turned into bowler hats then no hats, beards have gone in, out, then back into fashion,  but the central tenet remains – … Continue Reading

Belgian Ministry of Employment blows hot and cold on pre-return temperature checks

In an attempt to keep Covid-19 out of the workplace, many employers have been inquiring about the possibility of performing temperature checks before employees enter their premises each day. The Belgian Ministry of Employment’s position until last week was fairly relaxed: its FAQ document referred to the stance taken by the Belgian Data Protection Authority, … Continue Reading

Belgium – new “Corona leave” reduces young parents’ suffering

In a previous blog, we mentioned in mildly critical tones that the Belgian government still hadn’t issued a regulation on a proposed special “Corona leave” for young parents struggling to balance (home)work and the care of their children. It could just be coincidence, obviously, but the very next day the government reached agreement on the … Continue Reading

Dealing with health and safety fears of returning to the workplace (UK)

So now that the slow movement back to workplaces has started, the next hot question will be this: “If I don’t want to go back in because I fear infection if I do, can my employer make me?” The short and absolutely definitively answer to this is no.  And yes. It cannot compel you to … Continue Reading

Reducing personnel costs in the Corona crisis: how Germany supports employers

Germany supports employers by facilitating the payment of short-time work benefits (“KUG”). KUG is a service provided by the Federal Employment Agency to safeguard jobs and avoid redundancies when employees are temporarily unable to be employed. The previous regulations in this regard have been considerably improved. The new regulation is limited in time and is … Continue Reading

Welcome pragmatism from UK’s ICO on disclosure of employees’ virus exposure

Some new clarification from the Information Commissioner’s Office yesterday about that grey area between individual privacy rights on the one hand and the public interest on the other. Against the background of the Coronavirus crisis (and perhaps recognising that any other position would be politically terminal), the ICO has made it clear that even though … Continue Reading
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