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.
SRI LANKA: Terrorist bombings have killed over 300 people in Sri Lankan churches and hotels on the 21st of April 2019. An indefinite national curfew has been declared. Social media networks such as Facebook and WhatsApp have also been blocked by the government.
FRANCE: Norwegian Air’s largest cabin crew union in France has called for a strike from April the 24th to April the 26th 2019 over pay and working conditions.
BRAZIL: Avianca Brasil has cancelled more than 1,300 flights until the 28th of April due to a financial crisis in the company.
CANADA: Expect road closure in New Brunswick due to rising floodwaters.
SPAIN: The 2019 Spanish general election is scheduled for Sunday, the 28th of April 2019. Expect delays and some demonstrations.
Sudan: President Omar al-Bashir has been removed from office and arrested. The transitional military council has also arrested members of the former government. You are advised not to travel to the country due to political and social disorder, crime, terrorism, kidnapping and armed conflict.
INDIA/NEPAL: The Indian airline company, Jet Airways, has cancelled all its regular flights to Kathmandu, Nepal until May the 5th 2019.
USA: There is a measles outbreak in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn in New York City. You are advised to be vaccinated against measles before visiting the city.
SUDAN: Khartoum International Airport has been closed down. Reconsider travel to the country due to terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping.
ECUADOR: Exercise increased caution in the country due to crime.
YEMEN: Do not travel to the country due to terrorism, civil unrest, health risks, kidnapping, and armed conflict.
BURUNDI: Avoid all travel to Burundi, due to ongoing political tensions, civil unrest and armed violence.
USA Midwest: Widescale floods have affected several Midwest states, damaged crops and disrupted communications. The Midwest should also expect some tornadoes this week.
ATLANTIC: The Atlantic hurricane season is not yet upon us, but at least 12 are forecast this year. The first of these have already been named – Arlene, followed by Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand and Gabrielle.
ISRAEL: There is a heightened risk of terrorism following the arrest of 21 suspects by Israeli Defence forces earlier today. The arms cache found indicates plans to carry out numerous attacks in the country.
ICELAND: Expect bus and coach services disruptions between Keflavik International Airport and Reykjavik due to planned industrial action throughout Spring 2019.
KAZAKHSTAN: The capital of Kazakhstan, Astana, has formally renamed to Nur-Sultan.
INDIA: General elections are due to take place until the 19th of May 2019. Stay vigilant and avoid large gatherings.
ICELAND: Icelandic low-cost carrier WOW Air has temporarily suspended all flights due to financial crisis.
MALI: Avoid all travel to Mali (including the capital, Bamako), due to the threat of terrorism and banditry.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Do not travel to the country in any circumstances due to widespread violent crime and serious civil unrest.
GUINEA-BISSAU: Reconsider travel to the country due to high levels of crime, and civil unrest.
NIGERIA: Avoid non-essential travel to the country due to the unpredictable security situation. There is a significant risk of terrorism, crime, inter-communal clashes, armed attacks and kidnappings throughout the country.
AFGHANISTAN: Avoid all travel to the country due to the unstable security situation, terrorist attacks, risk of kidnapping and a high crime rate.
NIGER: You are advised to avoid non-essential travel to Niamey because of crime and the risk of kidnapping.
JAMAICA: Exercise great caution in the country due to criminal activity, especially in towns.
SUDAN: The state of emergency has now been reduced from twelve to six months.
INDIA: The Mumbai Pune Expressway will be partially shut until March the 21st 2019. Expect significant business and transportation disruptions.
PHILIPPINES: A measles outbreak has left 203 dead across the country since February the 23rd this year. You are advised to be vaccinated before traveling to the country as measles is a highly contagious disease.
INDIA: Avoid non-essential travel to Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland due to political instability and threats of violence.
UAE: Dubai International Airport (DXB) will be closed from the 16th of April until the 30th of May 2019 due to runway refurbishment. Passengers may take a shuttle bus between DXB and the Dubai World Central (DWC) at no cost during the closure period.
PHILIPPINES: National and local elections will be held across the country on the 13th of May 2019, and the official election period runs until the 12th of June. Please avoid any demonstrations.
INDIA: Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before visiting India as Zika continues to be a risk throughout the country.
MADAGASCAR: Visitors to Madagascar should ensure they are vaccinated against measles with the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine as there is a large measles outbreak on this island country.
UGANDA: Please exercise great caution in the country due to muggings and theft, especially in urban centres.
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.
M&A in Europe
In a European HR context we usually have to face M&As head on when dealing with the protection of employees during a business transfer (or change of service provider). In the UK alone there are over 30,000 such transfers each year. In the European Union, back in the early days of the Acquired Rights Directive (ARD), it did not matter what kind of M&A was taking place, employers were effectively banned from making any redundancies at the time of the deal and were always required to inform and consult employees. Gradually, however, the chains loosened. Canny lawyers discovered the ETO loophole. This states that an ARD-related dismissal will be automatically unfair unless there is an economic, technical or oganisational (ETO) reason for making a redundancy. Under this banner employers have committed a multitude of sins, virtually making the ARD a toothless instrument.
Yet there is still more. Now it is becoming easier than ever in the EU to classify a business transfer as not subject to information and consultation at all. Although ARD looks like it is all encompassing – and can even be applied to transfers within the same corporate Group – the only companies that apply it are those who fail to take effective prior legal advice, are saddled with a highly restrictive collective agreement or a works council able to exercise codetermination rights. Ironically, although for the ARD to apply, the resulting entity after the M&A must be effectively the same as before – it is also necessary for the identity of the employer to change. Thus, an ARD transfer will not take place where there is just a transfer of shares.
The “only shares transfer” exemption arose in the early days of ARD where there was an attempt to remove the necessity to consider a transfer had taken place every time a significant amount of shares changed hands on the stock market. Eventually, however, all takeovers of one entity by another involving a share purchase, swap or other transfer mechanism were classified as exempt, provided the operations of the business being taken over remained unchanged up to the point of the transfer. This exemption has proven, however, to be directly against the spirit of the ARD – as the new controlling entity will be in a position to do what it wants with the new acquisition once the transfer day has passed.
Africa / Middle East
RWANDA: Last year, 22.5% of working age people with disabilities were labour force participants. Moreover, during the course of the year the proportion of people with disabilities registered as unemployed fell to 14.1% – one percent below the general unemployment rate.
SOUTH AFRICA: During Q2 2018, employment costs in South Africa – which include salaries and wages, bonuses, medical aid, life insurance benefits, pension benefits, and other employee-related costs – accounted for 14% (or R340 billion) of the total expenditure in the formal business sector.
UGANDA: Regular earnings levels across the country continue to barely exceed subsistence levels, and men continue to earn more than twice the wages of women. The latest available data is for the period from November 2016 and July 2017, when the median gross monthly pay of men was 240,000 shillings (US$65) and 120,000 shillings (US$32) for women. The median gross monthly pay for both men and women in “elementary occupations” was just 96,000 shillings (US$25.9).
EO and HRIS
Brussels & Rome Rules
The Enemy Within
Although industrial espionage is the stuff of Hollywood thrillers, it is also a fairly common phenomenon in everyday life. The reason we seldom know about it is because most employers are unaware it is happening to them and, if they do, it is hardly something they wish to allow into the public domain.
After the second world war the attention of intelligence agencies widened to assist the development of domestic companies in both manufacturing and services – as they could penetrate walls of secrecy that enterprises could not breach. Such activities have been widely documented in such fascinating accounts as “Friendly Spies” by the US investigative journalist Peter Schweizer – who also charts the more disturbing trend of corporate theft by agents of individual foreign rival firms.
A competitor company can so easily access a rival’s secrets by ensuring that it hires senior staff whose loyalties lie with their old (or an associated) firm. So, the company that feels they have made a coup by enticing an employee away from a rival (often through an expensive head hunter) may actually just be paying for an enemy in its midst. Ironically too the EU Directive on the Protection of Trade Secrets contains a wonderful exception clause that exempts from its limitations any data given to employee representatives under statutory information and consultation obligations. Hence, the easiest way to penetrate a company’s privacy shield is simply to find a disgruntled works council member willing to asks some penetrating and sensitive questions.
ARGENTINA: The national minimum monthly wage has now increased to 12,500 pesos (US$288). The government has hiked the minimum wage earlier than planned due to persistent levels of price inflation.
COLOMBIA/UAE: An agreement has recently been signed between Colombia and the UAE, which mutually removes visa requirements for ordinary passport holders who undertake short-term visits to each others’ countries.
MEXICO: Private immigration and customs agents are under investigation by the Mexican authorities following allegations of corruption and migrant extortion. President Andrés Manuel López has stated that agents have been found to demand thousands of (US) dollars from migrants who want to access ports of entry and apply for asylum in the US. There are also reports that indicate the agents use deportation threats against migrants if they do not pay.
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: In Q4 2018, 30,700 working days were lost due to industrial disputes involving 28,400 employees. The highest number of working days lost was in the Construction industry (13,200), which accounted for 43% of total working days lost. Victoria (9,100) had the highest number of working days lost of any state or territory (30%).
CHINA: A new foreign investment law has been passed by China’s state parliament. It aims to create a transparent and equal environment for foreign companies that are operating in China, whilst protecting the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors. Under the law, forced technology transfer and government “interference” in foreign business practices will be banned. The law will come into effect on the 1st of January 2020.
JAPAN: Detailed guidance is now available from the government about the employment of foreign workers under the new “status one” and “status two” visa system that starts next month. The stipulations include a necessity to pay such workers via bank accounts, the maintenance of pay records, avoidance of labour brokers, the conduct of a pre-employment health check, and company financing of return trips to the country of origin. To qualify as an approved employer a company must not have had any labour or immigration violations in the last five years. They must also allocate staff to help foreign workers secure accommodation and the company must assist the workers to study Japanese.
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.
The prgramme is designed specifically for busy HR people, with a facility to take modules when time allows. There are 25 modules in the entire programme, broken down into 4 courses. Each course represents a credit that, once completed, can be carried over to obtain a Diploma or Advanced Diploma in Multijurisdictional Employment Law.
DENMARK: Employers are advised to be aware of the newly-released Positive List – a list of professions where Denmark is currently experiencing a shortage of skilled labour. If you are applying for work permits for your employees, you will need to make sure the profession is on the new Positive List. This list will be valid until the 30th of June 2019.
FINLAND: Levels of pay are often correlated with the size of the urban area where a worker is employed, although seldom measured in pay statistics. Recent Finnish official statistics published for 2017, however, reveal that median hourly pay was 19.1 euros (US$21.7) in municipalities with over 200,000 inhabitants compared to 15.8 euros (US$18) in municipalities with under 10,000 inhabitants.
GERMANY: According to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), in 2018, the average gross hourly pay for female workers was 17.09 euros (US$19.5), whilst it stood at 21.60 euros for male workers (US$24).
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 200 employees in two or more countries, has its own in-house HR department, 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 €895 a year – but with our “Global” grade Membership you may have up to 25 individual users of our services anywhere in your global operations, and 15 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…