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.
FINLAND: Political demonstrations are planned in the Töölö district of Helsinki on Thursday the 6th of December 2018. Visitors are advised to avoid any street gatherings and remain vigilant.
SPAIN: Security workers at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport have threatened to launch industrial action from the 21st of December 2018 through to the 8th of January 2018.
AUSTRALIA: Brisbane commuters are advised to plan ahead as the city’s ferry drivers have launched a two-day industrial action until the end of Friday, 7th December 2018.
CHINA: Chinese authorities have issued air pollution warnings across the north, northwest and east of the country. Expect heavy smog this weekend (8th-9th December 2018).
ROMANIA: Metro disruptions in Bucharest may occur during the coming days due to a wage dispute between the trades union and Metrorex, the metro system operator owned by the Ministry of Transport.
GERMANY: Ryanair (RYA.I) has reached an agreement with the main German pilots union that will ensure there is no repeat of strikes that disrupted flights in the country before last Christmas.
ARGENTINA: Lasa Lineas Aereas has temporarily suspended all flights until at least the 8th of December 2018.
LIBYA: Libyan Airlines has suspended services from Benina Airport in Benghazi due to aircraft maintenance.
UK: Because of staff shortages on trains, some services between Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh via Falkirk High have been cancelled. There are also a number of cancellations on the Glasgow to Alloa route, as well as Edinburgh to Glenrothes.
MAURITANIA: Reconsider your visit to the country due to crime and terrorism.
VANUATU: Avoid all travel to Ambae Island due to volcanic activity.
MALAYSIA: Avoid non-essential travel to the east coast of Sabah, from the northern city of Kudat southward to the city of Tawau, due to the risk of kidnapping and violence.
DR CONGO: The ministry of health announced on November 29th that the current Ebola outbreak the country is facing is the second largest and deadliest in the country’s history, with a total of 419 cases reported so far, and 240 deaths, predominantly in the North Kivu province. World Health Organisation (WHO) officials expect the epidemic to last at least six months and have also stated that there is high risk of the outbreak spreading in more provinces and neighbouring countries. In addition to the rising epidemic, the long-term armed conflicts in the North Kivu province raise safety concerns for medical personnel and civilians travelling in the area.
BULGARIA: Bulgaria Air has suspended flights to and from Odessa in Ukraine until the 16th of December due to military situation in Ukraine.
INDIA: At least 11 people were injured on the 1st of December in an explosion that took place in Rangia-Dekargaon Intercity Express train at Harisinga in Assam’s Udalguri. Expect train disruptions at Harisinga railway station.
USA: Alaska Railroad has shut down all operations due to damage caused by a series of earthquakes. Expect flights disruptions as well at the International Airport in Anchorage.
LITHUANIA: Expect flights cancellations as Small Planet Airlines has been permanently grounded by the Lithuanian Civil Aviation Administration (CAA).
SOUTH SUDAN: A Yellow Fever (YF) outbreak has been declared in Sakure, Nzara County, Gbudue state.
UGANDA: Please exercise great caution in the country due to muggings and theft, especially in urban centres.
UKRAINE: FC Vorskla Poltava’s UEFA Europa League group stage encounter against Arsenal FC is moved to Kyiv due to security concerns.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Visitors are advised against all but essential travel to Hela and Southern Highlands provinces following significantly increased levels of tribal fighting and the declaration of a state of emergency by the Papua New Guinea government. Security throughout the country remains problematic due to widespread crime, corruption and rebellion by the state police.
CHAD: Please avoid non-essential travel to the country, including the capital, N’Djamena, due to incidences of violent crime and the threat of terrorism.
NIGER: Avoid non-essential travel to Niamey, due to crime and the risk of kidnapping.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Avoid non-essential travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) due to the ongoing unstable political and security situation.
UK: Bank Hall station near Liverpool remains closed, while the Wirral Loop Line will close between Christmas and New Year as Merseyrail continues preparations for the introduction of new trains in 2020.
ISRAEL: Make sure you are vaccinated against measles with the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine when visiting the country because over 1,000 measles cases in the country have been reported since September 2018.
CAMEROON: Exercise great caution in the country due to the high level of violent crime and the tensions that exist in the Sahel region.
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.
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.
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
ISRAEL: With effect from the 1st of January 2019 all business transactions in excess of 11,000 shekels (around US$2,963) will have to be by “Ecard” or bank transfer, and cash transactions above that limit will be banned. This includes salaries, which, in future, must be paid monthly rather than weekly. The new Palestinian social security law will also benefit Palestinians working in the country as it will require deductions made from their pay by the National Insurance Institute of Israel (NII) to be handed over to the social insurance body in Palestine.
NIGERIA: According to a plan disclosed by the Norwegian Ambassador to Nigeria, more visa applications from Nigerians are likely to receive visa approval from the Norwegian Embassy soon. It has been noted that only 290 out of the 600 visa applicants actually received visas between January and August this year.
TANZANIA: A nationwide crackdown is taking place on LGBT people with the arrest and prosecution of anyone suspected of being gay. The Governor of the country’s largest city Dar es Salam has announced that all citizens who know of “gays” must report them to his office. Mass arrests have been ordered to commence this week and the penalty for conviction is up to 30 years’ imprisonment. Such is the brutality of many governments in the region, an LGBT offence is punishable by death in Mauritania, Sudan, and Somalia, as well as the northern part of Nigeria.
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
PANAMA: The Government of Panama has announced that it will issue 5-year visas with multiple entries to citizens of Venezuela, China, the Dominican Republic, India, and Cuba for up to 30 days, with a possible 60-day extension for each visit.
USA: The National Labor Relations Board has extended its consultation period to the 13th of December in respect to a proposed regulation concerning joint employer relationships under S2 (2) of the National Labor Relations Act. Under the Act, two employers may share the services of an employee that is formally employed by another organisation if their essential terms and conditions are the same and if the second employer has effective and non-trivial control over those essential terms. For further information and to submit comments online, please visit the NLRB posting on the regulations.gov site.
USA/BRAZIL: A bilateral social security agreement between the United States and Brazil entered into force on the 1st of October 2018. Under the agreement, US and Brazilian nationals sent to each other’s countries on a temporary assignment may continue to pay social security contributions to their home, rather than host, country.
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: The Australian national parliament has just voted to become the sixth signatory of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is due to come into force on the 1st of January next year and should quickly expand trade for all its participants. The five countries yet to complete the ratification process are Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, and Vietnam. Apart from Australia, other signatories are Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, and Singapore. Although the USA pulled out, several other countries have indicated a strong interest in joining the TPP, including the UK. Yet another pan-Asian deal is also in discussion; this latest initiative, called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, includes Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and ten other Asian states.
HONG KONG: The Hong Kong government has extended statutory maternity leave from 10 weeks to 14 weeks. Expenditures linked to the extra 4-weeks of maternity leave will be borne by the government. However, the government reimbursement will be subject to a cap of HK$36,822 (US$4,697).
JAPAN: With effect from April 2020, visitors will be able to use a new electronic visa to enter Japan. The visa data will be issued to, and checked by, individual airlines. Chinese visitors will be the first to enjoy the online system due to the fact they accounted for nearly 60% of all the visas issued each year.
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 British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has now decided to postpone the Parliamentary vote on her Brexit plan. The vote was due to take place on December 12th, but now may not take place until the New Year. As things stand the opposition to the plan is so great – even in her own Conservative party – that a “No deal Brexit” seems almost inevitable. UK employers should therefore brace themselves for what could be a rough ride through the Spring and Summer months of next year.
FINLAND: Staring from 2019, the different income ceilings per pay period on tax cards will be replaced by one overall income ceiling for the entire year. If a taxpayer earns more than that annual income limit, employers will be responsible for applying a higher tax rate on the employee. Additionally, there will no longer be a different tax rate for secondary income, as an individual will be taxed according to a single assessment. Employers will not be required to keep copies of tax cards – just take note of their contents at the start of the tax year.
IRISH REPUBLIC: The Economic Migration Policy Unit is currently reviewing the Highly Skilled Eligible Occupations List (HSEOL) and the Ineligible Categories of Employment List (ICEL) to determine what types of workers qualify for an employment permit. Meanwhile, negotiations continue with representatives of both House and Senate in the USA in an attempt to open up the US labour market to Irish citizens in return for letting those with Irish ancestry retire in the Irish Republic. The difficulty is that the last time any major concession was made under US immigration law was back in 1986.
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…