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.
EUROPE: Austria, Southern Germany and parts of the French Alps have all seen record snowfall. A high risk of avalanches exists in parts of Austria. Expect travel disruptions.
GERMANY: Hundreds of flights will be cancelled at the airports of Frankfurt, Munich, Hanover, Bremen, Hamburg, Leipzig, Dresden and Erfurt on the 15th of January 2019 due to security staff industrial action.
BRAZIL: Brazilian carrier Avianca Brasil announced it will reduce its operating fleet and services for fifteen more days whilst renegotiating delinquent lease payments.
SOUTH AFRICA: Fastjet Zimbabwe has announced the cancellation of all its domestic and regional flights due to political unrest.
UAE: Emirates will cut 25% of its flights operated between April the 16th – May the 30th, 2019 due to Dubai runway closure.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Avoid all travel to the country due to unstable security conditions and violent crime.
SINGAPORE: It is reported that Dengue cases in first week of 2019 are higher than at any time in the last two years. Symptoms of dengue, which is transmitted through bites from the Aedes aegypti mosquito, include the sudden onset of fever for two to seven days, severe headaches with pain behind the eyes, joint and muscle pain, skin rashes, nausea, vomiting, bleeding from the nose or gums, and easy bruising. Those who exhibit dengue symptoms should see a doctor as soon as possible.
PHILIPPINES: Exercise increased caution when traveling to or from Ninoy Aquino International Airport as the US Department of Homeland Security issued a travel advisory recently saying its security was not “consistent” with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards.
TURKEY: Turkish authorities extended their flight ban on the Kurdistan Region’s Sulaymaniyah International Airport for another 3 months until March the 24th 2019.
DR CONGO: Do not travel to Eastern DRC and the three Kasai provinces due to armed conflict.
MOROCCO: Two Scandinavian women have been found dead Morocco’s High Atlas mountain range. Responsibility for the deaths has been claimed by a terrorist group and there are concerns that all foreigners could be at risk across the country. You should be vigilant at all times whilst visiting this country.
SOUTH AFRICA: More than 16,000 malaria cases with 110 deaths were reported by the late Autumn. Make sure you take the anti-malarial tablets whilst visiting the country, especially in the northern areas.
DR CONGO: Do not travel to Eastern DRC and the three Kasai provinces due to armed conflict. The Ebola outbreak in the country is now the second largest in history, with 489 people diagnosed with the disease and 280 deaths.
NEPAL: The Nepal government has banned the use of Indian currency notes of higher than Rs 100.
SOUTH SUDAN: Do not travel to the country due to crime and widespread armed conflict.
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.
BRAZIL: Exercise a high degree of caution in the country due to high crime rates and regular incidents of gang-related (and other) violence in urban areas.
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.
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.
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.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Avoid non-essential travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) due to the ongoing unstable political and security situation.
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.
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
UGANDA: The NGO “CARE International” – which operates in Uganda – has called for stricter policies regarding gender-based violence in the workplace. The current provision requires protective workplace measures only in companies with more than 25 employees.
NIGERIA: The 12th of June each year has now been called “democracy day” and from next year will be a new Nigerian public holiday. In addition, the 29th of May will be celebrated every fourth year to mark the inauguration of a new president.
TURKEY: US-led trade sanctions are having a significant effect on the economy. Even the politically massaged figures from the Turkish Statistical Institute indicate that over the year to Q3 2018, the calendar-adjusted hours-worked index in the industrial, construction, and trade services sectors decreased by 2.0%, 10.0%, and 3.5% respectively.
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
USA: The US Senate’s decision to withhold approval from several state budgets has led to the closure of around a quarter of federal public services and the suspension without pay for 800,000 public employees. This, together with the mental health of the President (who is increasingly locked into the oval office shaping policy by watching Fox News), the loss of his last two generally respected aides and hikes in interest rates by the Federal Reserve have all led to a huge fall in interest rates. In fact, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has suffered its largest December fall since 1987.
CHILE: The state President has signed into law the right of any citizen aged 14 years or over to change their name and assumed gender on official records, although those under 18 must first obtain permission from parents or a guardian. The transgender law defines gender as a personal conviction rather than in physical terms.
COLOMBIA: Negotiations have commenced between trade union, business, and government leaders on readjusting the minimum wage for 2019. The first phase of the negotiation will close on the 30th of December, after which, if no agreement is reached, the decision will be made by the country’s Presidency. Currently, the monthly minimum wage is 781,242 pesos (US$247).
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: New data recently released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that in August 2018, 15% of employees reported being a member of a trade union in their main job. According to the Chief Economist at ABS, “Employees who are members of a trade union are more likely to be over 40, female, and working full-time.”
JAPAN: Over the year to October 2018, total monthly gross pay per person, including regular and overtime pay (as well as bonuses), went up 1.5% to 271,333 yen (US$2,407). Regular pay rose 1.3% to 244,509 yen (US$2,169) and nonregular pay, such as overtime, increased 1.9% to 20,088 yen (US$178.2).
NEPAL: A new official “Global Compact on Migration” has been launched to ensure – via bilateral agreements and partnerships – that Nepali migrant workers are subject to international labour standards. Nepal’s economy is highly dependent on labour migration as the payments that are repatriated by Nepali migrant workers account for around 30% of the country’s GDP.
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.
BELGIUM: According to the Belgian Statistical Office, in 2017, 9% of the population aged between 15 and 64 had a disability or health problem that severely limited their daily activities. 23% of them were employed and for 51% of them, their jobs were adapted to their specific needs.
CROATIA: With effect from the 1st of January 2019, the net minimum wage will be increased by 248 kuna or by 9% from 2,752 kuna (US$421.8) to 3,000 kuna (US$460). The gross amount, that now totals 3,439 kuna (US$527.5), will be increased to 3,750 kuna (US$575).
FINLAND: According to the latest figures from Statistics Finland, slightly under 132,000 occupational accidents took place in Finland in 2016; 17% of work-related accidents occurred whilst an employee was commuting.
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 €995 a year – but with our Valtava 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…