The Organisation for Multinational HRM
The Federation was Founded in June 1988 at a meeting of HR Directors in British Petroleum’s London Head Office. Our purpose then has virtually remained unchanged today – to establish an international database of employment law, pay and labour relations as a shared resource for multinationals in order to ensure both compliance and competitiveness in a fast, efficient and economical way.
Running a multinational HR Department is still getting tougher by the day. Speed is of the essence and there is a big premium on reducing uncertainty. Unfortunately, conventional ways to stay in control are lagging behind. Corporate counsel is not always around when you need them, and if you call your law firm you will have to join their call back list. Then there is the constant nagging doubt that the information provided is not really spot on, or up to date. Come quarter end there is the law firm bill on your desk – with every minute expensive and accounted for.
Our track record over 30 years means we have won the test of time. Our knowledgebase is larger than ever, with practical summaries of the legal obligations you may meet – from working time – to business transfers – to data protection. Free guides abound, but do you really trust their contents and are they updated daily like FedEE? We also have a fast, friendly legal helpline covering over 100 countries that can be accessed by member companies through a single call.
Unlike law firms too, our objective is to educate HR professionals to achieve a greater degree of self-help. To cut through the needless mystification of the legal world and come to their own views on how to act. A conventional lawyer is bound up in just one jurisdiction, but we are constantly dealing with multiple jurisdictions. We are also amongst the first in the world to spot trends and alert our members about the legal developments that may soon confront them and how seemingly innocent decisions can expose them to liability.
In most multinational HR departments there is someone in a senior position who is concerned with updating policies, reviewing employment contracts and giving internal advice on how to handle day to day legal problems. We know from member surveys that this function is not fully recognised or adequately trained – and therefore FedEE has set up its own advanced legal training course for HR professionals and even given this role a name – “HR Counsel”.
Legal compliance is becoming more important as multinational company’s seek to minimise litigation, more closely protect reputations and demonstrate their integrity in the face of challenges from government, anti-globalisation campaigners and the sheer intensity of competition itself. Our aim is to keep you out of court, reduce needless time wasted waiting for a lawyer to get back to you and provide practical answers that will allow you to move onto other priorities.
A brief history of the Federation up to the present day.
Differing employment rights and obligations around the world.
Remuneration and IR
Key reward and people management issues.
Ensuring policies and practices are lawful and rooted in good HR standards.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the significant risk of abduction and deception by taxi or even private hire services, the best practice for companies sending executives or professionals to countries where they do not have representatives is to arrange for a registered guide to meet visitors at airports or rail stations. This will add to the visit cost, but in some locations the daily cost of a guide can be relatively low. To secure a guide, we suggest that only those registered with a national association affiliated to the WFTGA be used. Official guide costs can range from US$18 in Indonesia, US$32 in India and US$52 in Columbia to US$137 in Prague, US$363 in Munich and US$369 in Tokyo. Airport pick-ups are a normal part of a guide’s service and many will also offer interpretation and secretarial assistance.
CAMEROON: Expect an increased security presence in Bamenda, the capital of the North-West region, due to a school kidnap on the 5th of November.
ETHIOPIA: Exercise increased caution when traveling to the country due to sporadic civil unrest and communications disruptions.
NIGERIA: Avoid non-essential travel to the country due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and piracy – particularly in the delta and northern areas.
TURKEY: Exercise a high degree of caution in the country due to the threat of terrorist attacks and the possibility of violent demonstrations throughout the country.
GUATEMALA: Fuego volcano is erupting again only 5 months after it killed 165 people. The Volcano is situated just 40km south of the capital Guatemala city.
JAPAN: Another strong earthquake has hit the northern island of Hokkaido. Although little damage was reported a magnitude 6.6 quake that hit the island in September killed 40 people.
UK: British citizens applying for Chinese visas who are aged between 14 to 70 inclusive are required to submit the application in person so that their fingerprints may be taken at the Visa Application Centre. Workers on Arriva Rail North will walk out for 24 hours on November the 17th and 24th, and on December the 1st, 8th and 15th in the long-running dispute over guards. Expect train disruptions from December the 22nd to January the 2nd as trains to Paddington, Euston and Victoria will be cancelled due to engineering works.
SRI LANKA: Please exercise vigilance and avoid all demonstrations or large political gatherings due to the politically uncertain situation.
INDONESIA: Avoid non-essential travel to Central Sulawesi, including the city of Palu, Donggala District, Sigi District and Parigi Moutong District due to serious damage from a recent earthquake.
RWANDA: Exercise a high degree of caution in the country due to the ongoing insecurity in some neighbouring countries.
COMOROS: Reconsider travel to the island of Anjouan due to civil unrest.
NIGERIA: Do not travel to Borno and Yobe States and northern Adamawa State due to terrorism.
CôTE D’IVOIRE: Visitors are advised to exercise a high degree of caution in the country due to crime and the prevalent insecurity of certain regions, such as the area bordering Liberia.
SOUTH AFRICA: Please stay vigilant due to the significant level of serious crime throughout the country.
MOZAMBIQUE: Reconsider your travel to the districts of Palma, Mocímboa da Praia, Muidumbe, Macomia and Quissanga due to clashes between armed groups, security forces and residents.
NIGER: Reconsider travel to the country due to crime and terrorism.
NAMIBIA: AIR Namibia has cancelled flights to Harare, capital city of Zimbabwe due to a dispute about an impounded plane.
ITALY: Milan Linate airport is closing for three months during the Summer of 2019 due to runway construction.
UKRAINE: Dishonesty is rife across the country. It’s been reported that some British nationals have been charged inflated prices in bills from bars, cafes, restaurants and numerous other suppliers. Visitors are advised to confirm the price before ordering and check the bill and receipt against the price of ordered items from the menu.
UAE: Emirates airline has begun canceling flights for next year as it prepares for runway reconstruction at Dubai International Airport.
ECUADOR: Avoid non-essential travel to Montañita due to violent attacks and sexual assaults against foreign women travellers. Avoid all travel to the province of Carchi (except the city of Tulcán), the province of Sucumbíos, the town of San Lorenzo, located in the north of the province of Esmeraldas due to the presence of drug traffickers and criminal organizations.
ZIMBABWE: Exercise a high degree of caution in the country due to a high level of crime.
VIETNAM: The holders of UK issued International Driver’s Permits or UK domestic driving licences will be allowed to drive cars or ride motorbikes in Vietnam between September 2018 and March 2019.
MALDIVES: Stay vigilant due to petty crime and the possibility of civil unrest in the country following the Presidential election.
ICELAND: There are adverse weather conditions across the north of Iceland and driving conditions are very difficult. There is also a strong alert on Mount Katla, a huge volcano that is likely to erupt shortly.
MAURITANIA: Due to the threat of terrorism, visitors are advised to avoid all non-essential travel to this country.
MALI: Please avoid all travel to Mali (including the capital, Bamako), due to the threat of terrorism and banditry.
NICARAGUA: Reconsider travel to the country due to crime and civil unrest.
NEW CALEDONIA: An independence referendum will be held on November the 4th. Please avoid crowds and all public places during this time.
SOUTH AFRICA: Please exercise increased caution in the country due to crime, civil unrest, and drought.
THAILAND: Avoid all travel to and through Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla (including the city of Hat Yai), Yala due to criminally and politically motivated violent incidents.
BURUNDI: Please reconsider travel to Burundi due to crime and armed conflict.
EUROPE: Scandinavian Airlines has cut 1,500 flights for the winter season.
CUBA: Attacks have occurred on U.S. diplomatic residences (including a long-term apartment at the Atlantic) and at Hotel Nacional and Hotel Capri in Havana. Please exercise increased caution, especially if you are a US citizen.
KUWAIT: Old Kuwaiti passports became invalid as of July the 1st 2018. Kuwaiti nationals must hold new e-passports before leaving the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to avoid travel difficulties.
BURKINA FASO: A constitutional referendum is scheduled during March 2019 and could be associated with public violence.
EGYPT: Security forces have killed 5 militants in the Akhmim district in Sohag province, 390 kilometers south of the capital Cairo. The country has been under a state of emergency since April of last year.
PAKISTAN: The government has stopped the VIP protocol given by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to influential people including politicians, judges, leading businessmen and military officials at airports across the country. We strongly recommend that private security arrangements are made for any personnel visiting the country as abductions are a constant threat and the threat of violence on foreign visitors who are not of Pakistani origin is high.
VENEZUELA: As of August 20, 2018, Venezuela reported 3,545 confirmed cases of measles, including 62 deaths. Additionally, 10 other countries in South America have reported a total of 1,459 cases, with 6 deaths.
GEORGIA(CAUCASUS): Visitors are advised to have a valid travel insurance policy – as airlines at check-in or immigration authorities may ask to provide evidence of this upon arrival in the country.
A Very Modern Dilemma
Employers across the USA continue to struggle with the rights and obligations dilemma about whether – and how much – they can control the use of marijuana before and during working time.
Although 31 US states permit its medical use, its recreational use is permitted in ten states (plus DC) and decriminalised in 13 others, it remains a schedule one substance and it is still technically unlawful to trade or consume it under federal law. But since 2014 the Rohrabacher–Blumenauer amendment has prevented federal authorities from fiscal interference with the application of state cannabis laws. The amendment must be reaffirmed each year and a DOJ memorandum on state freedoms in the matter was withdrawn earlier this year.
So where does this leave employers? Many still include the drug on their list of banned substances, but labour shortages are encouraging many to drop marijuana from the drug tests they require at the hiring stage. This is partly also because of successful prosecutions of employers in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island for withdrawing job offers due to positive tests for cannabis. Maine has also led the way in making it unlawful for employers to dismiss a worker for cannabis use outside the workplace.
Employers should, however, not forget that what applies to alcohol, also at least applies to marijuana – which is a far more dangerous and unpredictable intoxicant. Under OSH rules they must operate a workplace free from serious recognized hazards and one of the most serious hazards is the mental state of fellow employees. It will be unfashionable to take a hard line on residual marijuana levels in an employee’s bloodstream – but duty of care must come before popularity.
Africa / Middle East
NIGERIA/SINGAPORE: Nigeria and Singapore have concluded a bilateral double taxation agreement. The agreement will come into effect on the 1st of January 2019. Under the agreement, individuals and legal entities will be able to take advantage of the most beneficial tax provisions in either countries’ applicable domestic laws.
OMAN: Employers should be aware that it is a must to have an employee’s employment visa cancelled properly as soon as they are about to leave the country. If the employers wish to bring back their former employees who left the country, non-cancellation of visa will not only block the re-entry of the person on any kind of visa, including one for a simple visit, but also could cause unnecessary delays and formalities.
QATAR: It now appears that the government will be introducing its new exit law by next month. Currently the country’s 2 million foreign workers all require permission from their employer to leave the country. After the reform only the top 5% of workers will require such consent.
EO and HRIS
Brussels & Rome Rules
The Long Road to Ethical Compliance
Although the UK has had a powerful code of corporate governance since the early 1990s these have taken longer to establish in the rest of the world, especially the USA. However, in 2017 along came two competing US codes. The “Commonsense Principles of Corporate Governance(CPCG)” and “Corporate Governance Principles for US listed Companies (CGPLC)”. These differ significantly – especially over executive pay which is barely covered by the CGPLC. Yet the main thing they have in common is the absence of any external mechanism for enforcement.
This contrasts with the UK where, back in1992 there was introduced by the Cadbury Committee the principle that companies should “comply or explain” – a principle that was backed by the UK Stock Exchange and latterly the Financial Reporting Council (FRC).
Where a code of corporate ethics exists it normally covers a range of purely governance issues such as the rights of shareholders, the operation of the Board, the role of the CEO and audit procedures. However, increasingly they include issues that are of direct concern to the HR function. Take, for instance, the Brazilian Institute of Corporate Governance Code. This includes references to CEO and Board remuneration, the management of employees and their representatives and a range of ethical principles about such matters as bribery, receiving and giving gifts, discrimination, sexual harassment, workplace safety, employee privacy, substance abuse and child labour.
Ethical codes are increasingly embracing employment-related fields and applying to those below Board level. But how many HR professionals take into account corporate codes when they review their company policies? read more
CANADA: GDP growth over the last quarter of 2018 is forecast by the OECD to rise to an annual rate of 2.9%. This is 0.9% higher than it would otherwise stand because of the sudden injection of $7–9bn (US$5.4–7bn) into the economy through the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use on the 17th of October 2018. There has already been a huge demand for cannabis stocks on the Canadian and US market, and there is even a “North American Marijuana Index” measuring a basket of North American publicly listed life sciences companies poised to increase business activities in the marijuana industry. The fact that marijuana use will have a huge negative impact on labour productivity has not yet dawned on either investors or governments.
USA: Employers are now required to follow new procedures on filling job vacancies. Instead of using previous forms for requesting a consumer check on a job candidate, they should use one published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Before making an application for any background report relating to driving history, criminal records, or consumer credit from any agency, an employer must inform the candidate that it is being sought for employment purposes and gain their written authorisation. They must also inform candidates that there is a national security freeze to protect them from identity theft.
JAMAICA: In a recent speech, the Minister of Labour and Social Security has warned that National Insurance Scheme inspectors are now undertaking an intensive sweep of employers and shall be seeking to impose maximum penalties on those not operating the schemes fairly and honestly.
Move to FT Work
PT Leave Rights
Year 1 Leave
The Fluid Workforce
The Shape of Things to Come
There will be several important trends in the field of employment law over the next 3-5 years – and they will have a profound impact on employment levels and employability.
Litigation will be going underground as an increasing number of employment contracts contain mandatory arbitration clauses. There will therefore be less case law upon which to base legal opinion. It will also become lawful to include clauses prohibiting participation in “class action” law suits – this is already the case in the USA because of the recent case Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis – although there will be more laws preventing “gagging orders”.
There is already a great concern, particularly in Europe, for gender pay gap reporting. However, a new equal pay law in New Jersey has extended equal pay requirements to other protected characteristics – such as race, religion, sexual orientation and disability, as well as gender. This has huge consequences, particularly if the concept is taken up more generally by other jurisdictions. Another feature of both the New Jersey and recent Massachusetts Acts is the requirement for all companies to rate their jobs using a factor-based job evaluation scheme.
Company codes of practice already have a major part to play in corporate governance, but they are gradually taking over from HR policies as the basis for containing whistleblowing actions and terminating senior company executives.
How far travelling to a client is working time is still not settled law, even in the European Union where the European Court of Justice ruling in Tyco (C-266/14) seemed to have resolved the question. But two more recent French court cases have run counter to the ruling and the possibility that other work-related time – like commuting or staying away from home on a business trip – might have to be fully remunerated and counted against weekly working time limits could massively endanger company profitability.
Asia / Pacific
AUSTRALIA: A dire warning about the dangers of keeping the handling of sexual harassment cases to internal disciplinary procedures is well illustrated in the recent highly publicised case concerning the politician Barnaby Joyce. The conclusion of the internal review board that they were “unable to make a determination” because of too little evidence leaves all parties in limbo. There is not only the absence of closure, but accusations that the case was not investigated properly. That is why in such cases either a formal arbitration process using a professional external arbitrator or even open court hearing will at least produce a more certain final outcome.
CHINA: Under the newly issued “Female Workers’ Labour Protection Special Provisions”, employers in Henan province must not reduce the wages and welfare benefits of female workers because of marriage, pregnancy, maternity leave, or breastfeeding. If a female worker is subjected to sexual harassment, or other acts endangering her workplace personal safety, employers must deal with the problem promptly and also protect the privacy of the victim. In addition, employers must pay a monthly “health fee” costing no less than 35 yuan (US$5) per female worker. These provisions take effect on the 1st of November 2018.
INDIA: The next few weeks will be broken up by a number of important gazetted public holidays. Such days are mandatory in India, even for those who are not of the faith that celebrates the anniversary. The most important day is the 7th of November, which is Diwali – a Hindu festival of lights that is also celebrated elsewhere around the world. Other dates are the 19th of October (Dussehra), the 21st of November (Id-e-Milad – Prophet Muhammad’s birthday), and the 23rd of November (Guru Nanak’s birthday). The 6th of November is also often given off in Southern India to celebrate Deepavali.
Working During Maternity
Mandatory Arbitration Clauses
Professionally Qualified HR Counsel®
Can you practice law as an HR Professional?
Yes, now you can train and be recognised for being your corporate in-house expert on the application of employment laws across several jurisdictions worldwide. The Advanced Diploma Programme only available through FedEE’s Academy provides a comprehensive grounding in virtually every aspect of employment law in 10 key jurisdictions worldwide. Once obtained, the graduate may also use the designation Qualified Professional HR Counsel (QP-HR Counsel®) or simply HR Counsel®.
The programme operates on a distance learning basis, although every participant has at their service the support of a personal tutor. Those commencing from October 15th may also join the first intake of course participants by attending two days of seminars and lectures in London, UK.
The prgramme is designed specifically for busy HR people, with a facility to take modules when time allows. There are 30 modules in the entire programme, broken down into six courses. Each course represents a credit that, once completed, can be carried over to obtain a Diploma or Advanced Diploma in Multijurisdictional Employment Law.
UNITED KINGDOM: The question everyone is asking themselves about Brexit is whether any deal that is negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May will actually be voted through by Parliament. The answer is that the position is too close to call. Assuming the Labour Opposition will vote against any deal as a matter of principle and they are joined by the current 44 hardline pro-Brexit group from the Conservative government then that leaves Mrs May with just 271 loyal/semiloyal party members and the core opposition with 301. She may be able to count on 22 DUP and Liberal Democratic votes to bring her up to 293 – but that is still 9 short of a winning vote. Thus all will depend on the other minor parties, especially the 39 Scottish (SDP) and Welsh nationalists. The 35 SDP MEPs are largely pro-European, so if the deal looks like it will include a transition period and a fair solution for the Irish border question they might support the deal. But we believe they are most likely to vote with Labour to oust the current government – even though this would be a disaster for the UK economy.
GERMANY: Employers should take urgent steps to examine the wording of any forfeiture clauses in their employees’ employment contracts. This is because of a recent Federal Labour Court ruling that found the correct wording of these clauses to be essential in order to be considered valid. In the case in question, the clause was not clearly worded and did not explicitly exclude claims under the Minimum Wage Act. A forfeiture clause is a common element in employment contracts as they limit the time period when either party may make claims against each other – usually to 3 months. In their absence, the default period set by law is 3 years.
IRISH REPUBLIC: The Workplace Relations Commission has published an updated version of its Guide to Employment, Labour and Equality Law. This free, 76-page document is an essential reference document for all employers operating in Ireland. Possibly its most valued section is ‘Appendix One’ where a detailed table sets out all the adjudication redress provisions against each legal provision. This allows an employer to determine the seriousness of an infraction when it occurs.
Q&A in Brief
Join FedEE® Today
Sense out of uncertainty: HR without borders
Many of the world’s largest multinational companies already belong to The Federation of International Employers (FedEE®). We have a Worldwide membership – with particular concentrations in North America, Western Europe, India, Japan and China. A high proportion of our members have been part of FedEE for many years and tell us we provide a both unique and excellent service with great value for money. In fact, in a membership survey, 96% of members informed us they would not hesitate in recommending us to other multinational enterprises.
If your company has over 150 employees in two or more countries and has been operating for two or more years then you really cannot afford to operate without being part of the Federation. The approval process takes less than a day and for immediate access to our services we have an online credit card payment facility. Membership costs as little as €495 (US$565) a year – but with our Platinum Membership you may have up to 15 individual users of our services anywhere in your global operations, a FREE place on our HR Counsel accreditation course and 25 helpline enquiries – with direct access to our in-house team of barristers, statisticians, HR specialists and labour relations experts. Sign up now.
Why not take a short tour of our knowledge-base before joining FedEE® to see the nature and extent of the employment law and HR data that we offer? Please contact our Membership Secretary to arrange for a one-to-one webinar for you and your colleagues, arranged entirely at your own convenience.
Corresponding Law Firms
We have signed agreements with corresponding law firms around the world. The Federation shall be working in cooperation with this growing network of expertise to bring corporate members a fast, global service.
Engaging and practical pieces produced by FedEE® staff covering issues of concern for multinational HR professionals. These papers are illustrative of guidance notes we provide in our knowledge-base. They principally provide a European perspective – although the material available to corporate member organisations is largely pan-global.
Training & Events
Book your place for FedEE®’s advanced professional course for HR practitioners in multi-jurisdictional employment law. Join other HR professionals for the World’s first, advanced professional transnational law training course in employment law.
FedEE® Secretary General Robin Chater’s comments on HR-related developments around the world. Robin has an unequalled understanding of developments in employment law, particularly in the European Union. He was formerly an advisor to the European Commission for ten years and has counselled numerous multinationals on a wide range of HR issues.
Getting Involved With FedEE®
FedEE® Senior Management Team
Payments & Administration
FedEE® Perspectives on Global Regions
Customised & Individual Services Just for You
We now provide a wide range of customised employment law and HR-related services to member and non-member organisations. These are offered at highly competitive rates and can draw on FedEE’s vast range of in-house expertise, data and services.
FedEE-Consult helps HR departments around the world become and remain successfully multinational. Although we specialise in assisting ….read more…
The Employment Standards Institute (E–SI)
The Institute has been established by The Federation to undertake research into, and training about, a wide variety of employment-related topics – including the implementation of ISO HR standards, the growth of ADR mechanisms in the light of mandatory arbitration clauses (Epic Systems), the extension of equal pay to cover all protected categories (the New Jersey Law)… read more…