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.
NEW ZEALAND: 40 people have been killed and more than 20 seriously wounded in shootings at two mosques in Christchurch on the 15th of March 2019. If you are travelling in the area, you should remain vigilant. Please also expect increased security and flights cancellation at Christchurch Airport.
SUDAN/QATAR: All Qatar Airways flights to/from Khartoum, Sudan will be temporarily suspended effective 31st of March 2019 and until further notice.
INDIA: Air India will be suspending its flights on the Delhi-Madrid and Delhi-Birmingham routes from March the 16th 2019 until further notice.
BOLIVIA: A powerful earthquake, with a magnitude of 6.5, struck near the city of Cochabamba in southeastern Bolivia on the 15th of March 2019. There is a strong possibility of after shocks.
NIGERIA: A dusk-to-dawn curfew has been imposed in the Kajuru Local Government Area in central northern Nigeria. This follows a massacre by a group of, as yet, unknown gunmen.
USA: Expect travel disruptions and power outages in western and central States due to blizzard conditions. A 5.5-magnitude earthquake hit Hawaii’s largest Island near the famed Kileaua volcano on the 13th of March 2019, be aware of the possibility of after shocks.
LIBYA: The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli has declared a state of emergency in the north-central city of Sirte.
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.
HAITI: Avoid all travel to the country due to widespread civil unrest.
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.
GLOBAL: Many countries in the world, including China, Fiji, UAE, Kuwait, India, Norway and Oman have temporarily grounded Boeing 737 MAX Aircrafts until further notice. The European Aviation Safety Agency has also banned Boeing 737 MAX 8 flights within European airspace.
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.
GERMANY: Train services have been cancelled on the high-speed line between Cologne and Frankfurt am Main because of an intense storm.
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.
BRAZIL: Over the year to January the 1st to February the 2nd of 2019, the number of registered suspected dengue cases increased by 149% to 54,777. It means that 2.63 out of every 10,000 inhabitants have been infected by the mosquito-borne tropical disease.
ALBANIA: Supporters of the opposition parties in Albania have announced that protests will take place outside parliament every Thursday. A major protest will be held in central capital city Tirana on Saturday the 16th of March 2019. Only essential visits should be made to the country and visitors should stay vigilant as the situation could deteriorate quickly.
CHILE: Expect flooding and landslides in northern Chile due to heavy rains since the beginning of February.
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.
JORDAN: You are advised to exercise great caution in the Anjara and Ajlun areas due to an ongoing incident.
BURUNDI: Avoid all travel to Burundi, due to ongoing political tensions, civil unrest and armed violence.
ECUADOR: Guayaquil Jose Joaquin de Olmedo Airport has been closed due to emergency runway lights repairs.
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.
TUNISIA: Exercise a high degree of caution in all parts of the country due to the nationwide risk of civil unrest and terrorist attacks.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Avoid all travel to the country due to unstable security conditions and violent crime.
DR CONGO: Do not travel to Eastern DRC and the three Kasai provinces due to armed conflict.
NEPAL: The Nepal government has banned the use of Indian currency notes of higher than Rs 100.
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.
GHANA: Exercise great caution as localised outbreaks of civil unrest can occur at short notice, particularly in the north.
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.
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.
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
AFRICA: Although the recent news of Angola’s de-criminalisation of homosexual activity – following Mozambique and the Seychelles – is a great leap towards social progress in Africa, there remain laws in more than half of the continent’s countries that still criminalise homosexuality. Countries such as Mauritania, Sudan, Somalia, and the northernmost state of Nigeria retain the death penalty for homosexual acts.
ANGOLA: The Angolan Parliament has approved draft resolutions on the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of income tax evasion in relation to three countries where new DTAs are anticipated – Portugal, China, and the United Arab Emirates.
BAHRAIN: Under proposed amendments to the Unemployment Insurance Law the unemployment pay for nationals who are University graduates will rise from BD150 (US$395) to BD200 (US$526) a month. The monthly compensation payable to those nationals terminated from a job will rise from BD500 (US$1315) to BD1000 (US$2631) and the period of payment extended from six to nine months.
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
BRAZIL: President Jair Bolsonaro has proposed a new pension reform plan, with the aim of reducing government expenses and saving more than R$1 trillion (approx. US$270bn) during the next decade. Amongst the proposed changes is the establishment of a minimum retirement age – 62 for women and 65 for men. For the proposal to pass, approval from both Houses of Congress is required.
COLOMBIA: The government has published a new draft immigration law that seeks to more tightly restrict the rights of foreign nationals. This reduces the maximum validity of visitor visas to a 10-year period (previously indefinite) and restricts migrant visas to those with University degrees. The period a foreign resident may be out of the country is being reduced to 90 days at a time and visa processing times will become longer.
CUBA: The government has implemented new regulations to make self-employment lawful and open up the possibility of engagement in two or more projects at the same time.
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: Over the year to November 2018, the average weekly ordinary time earnings for full-time adults in the private sector rose to $1,563.50 (US$1,122). The highest average weekly ordinary time earnings for full-time adults was recorded in the Australian Capital Territory (AU$1,813.30/US$1,301), whilst mining remained the leading industry at $2,611.70 (US$1,874.40).
INDIA: A special panel set up by the government to review the national minimum wage has recommended that it be increased from Rs176 (US$2.27) a day to Rs375 (US$5.27) per day. The panel also proposes that the wage be set differently for each region, with the highest rate of Rs447 (US$6.28) per day being in Delhi, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.
JAPAN: Next year, three public holidays will be moved to ease the Olympics Ceremony traffic. Marine Day will be moved to the 23rd of July 2020, the eve of the opening ceremony of the Games. Sports Day will be held on the 24th of July, the day the Olympics’ opening ceremony is scheduled to be held. Mountain Day will also be moved to the 10th of August 2020, which is the day following the Games’ closing ceremony. These changes are effective only for 2020. In addition, the Emperor’s birthday, currently on the 23rd of December, will be changed to the 23rd of February 2020, following Crown Prince Naruhito’s accession to the throne on the 1st of May this year. For full details of the public holidays of Japan in 2020, please check FedEE Knowledgebase.
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: Member states of the European Union formally forego the right to form their own trade agreements with other countries. However, even before the UK has left the EU, it is beginning to conclude agreements in contravention of that obligation. The latest one is with Israel. This kind of action will make it very difficult to convince the EU that transitional arrangements should be put in place when the UK leaves the EU on March 29th.
NETHERLANDS: When an employee’s job is terminated after 2 years’ sick leave because of long-term incapacity to work, their employer must compensate them through a transition payment. It still needs to be announced by the government how they will reimburse employers for this payment (up to certain limits), but when reimbursement does take effect it will allow back-payments to the 1st of July 2015 and include transition payments concluded when the termination has been mutual. For this reason, employers should ensure that they maintain appropriately detailed records.
JERSEY (CHANNEL ISLANDS): A draft law has been drawn up requiring that employees receive improved parental benefits with effect from the 1st of September 2019. These include the right for each parent (including adoptive and surrogate parents) to enjoy 12 months’ parental leave, which may be taken in up to four blocks over a 3-year period. The first 6 weeks of leave will be paid in full by the employer. Moreover, there will be no period of employment necessary to qualify for the right. Employers will also be required to provide appropriate work breaks for breastfeeding mothers and, where possible, facilities to prepare baby milk products and refrigeration to store milk.
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…