Australia: Global Workplace Report - December 2016

Last Updated: 29 December 2016

Leading commentary and perspectives on employment and labor law

The Global Workplace Report is a monthly summary of our most popular blog articles from our Global Workplace Insider blog. This report provides concise commentary and insight essential for employers that want to stay current on the legal and business developments and trends impacting employment and labor matters globally.

Global employment and labor trend

Adopting whistleblowing laws in the employment context is important in light of the increased regulatory scrutiny affecting many corporations operating internationally. Whistleblowing laws provide comfort to employees that they will not suffer retaliation or reprimand in the event they make a complaint in good faith, regardless of whether or not the complaint results in the discovery of any wrongdoing. Despite the global trend for adopting whistleblowing laws in the employment context, some jurisdictions have been slower to follow suit. For corporations running business in those jurisdictions, it is still recommended that they put in place whistleblowing policies in the workplace for employees to make complaints about possible wrongdoings concerning the corporation in confidence.

Global employment and labor developments

Canada

Courts continue to chip away at restrictive covenants by William J. Armstrong

Powell River Industrial Sheet Metal Contracting Inc. (P.R.I.S.M.) v Kramchynski, 2016 BCSC 883, is a decision from the Supreme Court of British Columbia that dealt with the enforcement of a restrictive covenant in the context of a commercial transaction. The decision stands for the proposition that a court may refuse to enforce a restrictive covenant where an employer fails to satisfy its obligations to the employee.

Europe

What rights and protections are there for part-time workers? By Stefanie Radina and Dimitri Schaff

Currently, about one quarter of all employment relationships in Germany are based on part-time models, the proportion of part-time to full-time employees having increased by about 12 percent since 2001. Furthermore, as a result of the implementation of the EU Part-time Workers Directive 97/81/EC into German law in 2001, an enforceable right for current full-time employees to switch to part-time work exists in Germany. Besides this, employees with children (under the age of eight) may additionally claim the right to part-time parental leave.

South Africa

Protecting the vulnerable: Rights and protections for part-time employees by Karen Ainslie and Jonathan Arumugam

Managing a workplace and employees is a lot different nowadays than it used to be two decades ago. Today, many employers struggle to recruit and retain employees by offering a strict nine to five work day. Your typical staff is multigenerational and has access to technology allowing them to work outside the office. Couple this with the bigger focus on work/life balance and many employees are attracted to non-traditional employment arrangements such as working part-time or flexi-time.

United States

Don't let the dust settle: Time to update your employee handbook by Dennis Jackson

For many employers, the arduous task of reviewing and revising an employee handbook may occur as infrequently as every leap year, or worse, only after a law suit has been filed. However, recent decisions by the National Labor Relations Board (Board) should cause employers to take a much closer look at their employee policies and the frequency with which they update them. Technological advances and changes have created new arenas for protected "concerted activity" under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (Act) and have caused the Board to take a closer look at employer policies that may violate the Act.

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