China: Government clamps down on taxi service providers, mandates payment of social insurance for workers
30 November, 2021: The government has outlined new rules for its giant ride-hailing and food delivery industry, requiring operators to provide social security, rest time, paid leave and medical leave to its workers. Earlier, the transport ministry had advised the companies to better their income distribution mechanism to fight off rising income inequality. In 2020 ride hailing and food delivery companies hit an overall transaction volume of $39.22billion.
Indonesia: Court orders government to amend controversial omnibus law
25 November 2021: Indonesia’s Constitutional Court has ordered the government to amend parts of the new job creation law within two years, citing procedural flaws in how the controversial legislation was handled. The law, which was passed last year and saw the revision of more than 70 existing laws, sparked protests across Indonesia and complaints that it undermined labour rights and environmental safeguards. Further, the judgement states that if the government fails to comply with the order the law would be deemed ‘permanently unconstitutional’.
Turkey: Court holds termination of 7 workers for union activities unlawful, orders re-instatement
24 November 2021: The Istanbul 33rd Labour Court hearing the plea of 7 courier workers employed through a sub-contractor by Yurtiçi Kargo courier has held that the company unlawfully terminated their services for joining All Freight Workers Union. The Court has ordered the company to re-instate the workers and pay the workers damages for unionization in the amount of their annual gross salary and the wages that should have been paid to them for 4 months when they were unemployed.
Japan: Labour inspector holds suicide of worker workplace accident due to excessive overtime
22 November 2021: A local labor standards inspection office has recognized the suicide of Tomoo Oizumi, a then 43-year-old employee of machine tool manufacturer Sodick Co. in 2017 as a workplace accident caused by depression due to long working hours. He had put in 123 hours of overtime work in the month prior to his death. The threshold for ruling a case as death from overwork is 80 hours of overtime per month.
USA: Government notifies $15 minimum wage for new federal contract workers
22 November 2021: Workers employed on federal contracts will be guaranteed an hourly minimum wage of at least $15 in all new contracts with government agencies beginning 30 January 2022. The change is expected to impact some 327,000 workers, including food-service employees and nursing assistants who currently make less than $15 an hour. The increased wage is a requirement only in new contracts, and therefore won’t apply to workers on existing federal agreements, which can be three years or five years long.
UAE: New labour law promotes contract work and fixed term employment in the name of Ease of Doing Business
15 November 2021: United Arab Emirates government has issued the Federal Decree Law No.33 of 2021 which deals with labour relations in the private sector. The law allows employers to meet their labour requirements and benefit from their energies and productivity at the lowest operational cost through part-time work, temporary work and flexy work, as well as allow employers to hire those whose work contracts have expired, but who are still in the country, through easy and flexible procedures. It will come into force on 2 February 2022.
Portugal: Government passes Right to Disconnect Act to regulate home-working and work-life balance
09 November 2021: Portuguese government has passed the Right to Disconnect Act making it illegal for employers to contact workers outside their contracted working hours. Employers will face fine for violating the Act and would have to pay household expenses incurred while their employees work from home, including internet and electricity bills. The Act also allows for workers to work from home without having to secure approval from the management till their children turn 8 years or older. And, employers are required to organise face-to-face meetings at least once every two months to tackle loneliness among teams.
Sri Lanka: Domestic inquiry not mandatory for terminating worker, Supreme Court
5 November 2021: The Supreme Court while delivering its judgement into an appeal filed by Union Apparel (Pvt) Ltd observed that it is not mandatory to hold a domestic inquiry, when there is no collective agreement or a clause in the contract of employment that a domestic inquiry should be held in the event of termination.
This goes against the established practice of holding a domestic inquiry thereby providing the worker an opportunity to exculpate themselves and against the principles of natural justice. The bench, however, opined that there are no provisions under existing labour laws which mandate domestic inquiry before termination of services.