Employee Welfare

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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

Changes in Polish employment laws bring new costs:benefits equation

This Autumn brings quite a few changes for Polish employers. Not only do new pension plans called PPK (Pracownicze Plany Kapitałowe) became a reality for the biggest Polish employers in the fourth quarter of 2019, but the Labour Code and Code of Civil Procedure see changes too. Some of them result in a need to … Continue Reading

Belgian social partners reach agreement on employment conditions for the next two years. Or do they?

Group of 10 reaches agreement on employment conditions In the very early morning of 26 February, the Belgian social partners in the so-called Group of 10 (the main representatives of employers’ federations and trade unions) reached the bones of an agreement on employment conditions for 2019-2020. In this draft agreement, the margin for increases in … Continue Reading

The earth is doomed, and other reasons not to send an employee on leave (UK)

The New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal in Australia last year awarded an employee AU$20,000 in compensation for pain and suffering where her employer forced her onto “personal leave” for assumed mental illness based on her discussion of conspiracy theories in the workplace. Though an Australian case, it contains valid lessons for UK employers … Continue Reading
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