Worldwide: Employment International Newsletter - December 2014

This quarter, we cover a variety of topics from the UK, including cyberbullying, holiday pay claims and class actions, and International Pension Plans. There are also updates from Australia, India, the Netherlands, Qatar and the US. We also continue our series of Employment "at a glance" guides, with a summary of employment law in the UK.

Employment "at a glance" guide - UK

For some time, the balance of employment rights in England & Wales has fallen squarely in favour of employees. Most recently however, the introduction of employment tribunal fees in July 2013 has resulted in a 70% drop in claims, meaning that employers would appear to be less at risk of claims for technical breaches of the law. Nevertheless, most businesses are still very conscientious about wanting to be seen to be "good employers", but if not, the bottom line remains that provided they are prepared to pay sufficient compensation, employers in England & Wales can usually achieve what they wish.

Australia: No implied term of mutual trust and confidence for employment contracts

Jenni Priestley, partner and Leah Hewish, associate at Clyde & Co's Australia office report on a recent decision of the High Court of Australia.

In Commonwealth Bank of Australia v Barker [2013] FCAFC 83, the High Court of Australia has reversed the decision of the Full Federal Court, and declined to imply a mutual obligation of trust and confidence into Australian employment contracts.

India: The Prime Minister unveils new labour reforms

Vineet Aneja, partner and Vikram Bhargava, senior associate in Clyde & Co Clasis India office report on proposed Indian employment reforms.

On 16 October 2014 Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister, proposed a number of labour reforms. These aim to create a more favourable environment for industrial development by making it easier for businesses to operate in India and at the same time, to provide benefits for employees.

The Netherlands: New dismissal and unemployment legislation

Christiaan Oberman, partner and Karol Hillebrandt, senior associate at Palthe Oberman, L&E Global, the Netherlands summarise the changes to the Dutch dismissal system and unemployment legislation.

The forthcoming changes to Dutch dismissal law have been discussed in politics and the media. The government intends that these changes will strengthen the position of flexible workers and that the Unemployment Insurance Act will make it easier for people to find work. The most significant elements of the new Act are discussed below.

Qatar: The new national health insurance scheme

Emma Higham, legal director based in Clyde & Co's Doha office outlines the implications for employers of Qatar's new healthcare system, which is in the process of being implemented.

Qatar's National Vision 2030 sets out the Qatari government's goal of improving the health of Qatar's population by developing a world class and integrated healthcare system. As part of this goal, a national health insurance scheme named 'Seha' is currently being implemented which will be accessible to all citizens, residents and visitors. Employers in Qatar are eagerly awaiting further guidance on the value of premiums which will be payable on behalf of employees for participation in the mandatory universal health insurance scheme.

UK: Cyberbullying – what should employers be doing about it?

James Major, partner and Corinna Harris, professional support lawyer in Clyde & Co's London office explain how employers should respond to incidents of work-related cyberbullying.

Many employers have been faced with a situation where an employee has made derogatory comments about a colleague on Facebook, which were posted outside working hours, or a situation where derogatory comments have been made about the company on Facebook or another social media site. It is often difficult to know what steps you can, and should, take.

UK: Holiday pay claims – will we see US-style wage and hour class actions?

Nick Dent, partner and Corinna Harris, professional support lawyer at Clyde & Co's London office consider whether, following the Employment Appeal Tribunal's (EAT) decision in the holiday pay claims, the number of group actions in the UK will increase significantly.

Traditionally viewed as a US phenomenon, class actions allow groups of people to bring a claim jointly, usually against their employer or a corporation. The benefit of group actions is principally reduced legal costs for the claimants, but these claims are also more likely to draw publicity, and put the employer under greater pressure to settle.

UK: International Pension Plans

Mark Howard, partner and Ian Mylrea, senior associate, both pensions specialists based in Clyde & Co's London and Manchester offices respectively, give an overview of International Pension Plans (IPPs).

An IPP is a single plan that can be offered to the employees of global organisations, irrespective of where they are based, allowing for regular and consistent contributions, and which may be simpler and potentially more cost effective to administer and monitor than running several separate plans across different jurisdictions.

US: Considerations for addressing Ebola in the workplace

Specialists in disability, leave and safety & health at Jackson Lewis, L&E Global, North America discuss the potential employment and health and safety considerations raised by the Ebola outbreak.

The spread of Ebola hemorrhagic fever (EHF) and the incidence of Ebola cases in the United States have raised issues for employers and employees on the appropriate workplace responses as the public health community at large has mobilized to prevent the spread of the virus.

Meet the India employment team

Clyde & Co has had an association with Clasis Law since April 2011, having established offices in Mumbai and Delhi.

Please click on the link to view the full newsletter.

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