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.
INDIA: Expect flight cancellations in IndiGo, an Indian budget carrier, due to pilot shortages.
PHILIPPINES: Expect local carrier Cebu Pacific (CEB) international and domestic flights cancellation and re-scheduling on the 23rd of February 2019 due to runway works at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
SOUTH AFRICA: SA Express has now resumed its operations between Johannesburg and Mthatha in the Eastern Cape.
KOSOVO: Expect flight cancellations or disruptions on February the 23rd and 24th 2019 because the union of air traffic controllers at Pristina Airport have threatened to launch industrial action due to a wage dispute.
JORDAN: You are advised to exercise great caution in the Anjara and Ajlun areas due to an ongoing incident.
SENEGAL: Presidential elections will be held in Senegal on the 24th of February 2019. Expect political rallies and demonstrations in Dakar and other cities.
BAHRAIN: The 8th anniversary of the 2011 uprising in Bahrain will take place on the 14th of February. Stay vigilant as there have been calls by various opposition political factions for protests, illegal road blocks and the shutting of shops until the 16th of February 2019 across the country.
MOLDOVA: Parliamentary elections will be held in Moldova on the 24th of February 2019. Be alert to the possibility of political protests and demonstrations.
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.
NEW CALEDONIA: Figures released show that the dengue outbreak is worsening.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
KENYA: KENYA: The Kenya Ship Contractors Association (KSCA) has received exemption from the Competition Authority to set up a common labour tariff to impose on all ship operators using the Port of Mombasa. Currently, day job workers are employed largely by subcontractors in teams of 8, jointly earning Sh2500 (US$25) per group, for an eight hour shift – equal to US$0.39 per hour. The Kenyan minimum wage is currently Sh109 (US$1.09) per hour. However, the KSCA is proposing to set a labour tariff of US$1.56 an hour.
SOUTH AFRICA: Labour minister Mildred Oliphant is currently reviewing the Basic Conditions of Employment Act to determine if the earnings threshold, under which overtime must be paid, should be updated. The last update was in July 2014 and it currently stands at R205,433.30 (US$15,425) a year.
IRAN: At a foreign ministers’ meeting in Romania recently, Germany, France, and the UK jointly signed an INSTEX accord that they believe will allow exports to commence with Iran and not break the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on nuclear arms sanctions endorsed by United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231. This new understanding seeks to allow such items as “foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals and consumer goods” into Iran. This includes working “with Iran to establish necessary counterpart structures”. In other words, it is an embargo-breaking move that the governments concerned are keen to dress up in a way that they hope the UN and USA will not notice. It also looks like a trade deal that none of the European countries concerned are constitutionally allowed to make – except through the EU. There is no clarity yet about whether INSTEX is likely to be extended to services and, indeed, recruitment between the new European Alliance and Iran. In the latter case, employers should guard against Iran using any new freedom to place personnel in commercially sensitive foreign positions.
EO and HRIS
Brussels & Rome Rules
The Long Road to Ethical Compliance
Although the UK has had a powerful code of corporate governance since the early 1990s these have taken longer to establish in the rest of the world, especially the USA. However, in 2017 along came two competing US codes. The “Commonsense Principles of Corporate Governance(CPCG)” and “Corporate Governance Principles for US listed Companies (CGPLC)”. These differ significantly – especially over executive pay which is barely covered by the CGPLC. Yet the main thing they have in common is the absence of any external mechanism for enforcement.
This contrasts with the UK where, back in1992 there was introduced by the Cadbury Committee the principle that companies should “comply or explain” – a principle that was backed by the UK Stock Exchange and latterly the Financial Reporting Council (FRC).
Where a code of corporate ethics exists it normally covers a range of purely governance issues such as the rights of shareholders, the operation of the Board, the role of the CEO and audit procedures. However, increasingly they include issues that are of direct concern to the HR function. Take, for instance, the Brazilian Institute of Corporate Governance Code. This includes references to CEO and Board remuneration, the management of employees and their representatives and a range of ethical principles about such matters as bribery, receiving and giving gifts, discrimination, sexual harassment, workplace safety, employee privacy, substance abuse and child labour.
Ethical codes are increasingly embracing employment-related fields and applying to those below Board level. But how many HR professionals take into account corporate codes when they review their company policies? read more
CANADA: The federal government is currently considering the establishment of a new public holiday on the 30th of September to celebrate “reconciliation with indigenous peoples”. It was previously a non-official holiday called Orange Shirt Day – named after the deprivation of a native Indian girl of an orange shirt given to her by her grandmother when she entered one of the much-hated state “residential schools” for native Indian children.
LATIN AMERICA/CHINA: A recent International Labour Organisation (ILO) report has examined the impact of trade deals with China on jobs. The report estimates that between the years of 2000 and 2017, such deals generated almost 1.6 million jobs in Brazil alone. However, the majority of new jobs are low-skilled and the numbers are not spread evenly across Latin America, with Mexico losing almost 350,000 jobs in the period. Moreover, much investment entailed the use of Chinese imported skilled labour, with little impact therefore on the skills base of Latin American countries.
USA: It has been ruled that an employee who is scheduled to work an “on-call shift” may be entitled to be paid for it even if they do not physically turn up for work (California Court of Appeal [Ward v Tilly’s Inc]). The court found that everything hinged on the action that could be construed as commencing the shift, whether it be commencing a task for a client, entering a job site, or the employee calling into the office by telephone. The relevant triggers could be set out as contractual understandings, but the default position was not actually physically turning up at a fixed designated workplace.
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
JAPAN: The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in the Province of Hokkaido is launching a campaign geared to streamlining company operations – built around three pillars: improving diverse human resources, the working environment, and productivity. To further these aims they are introducing a “promotion company certificate system” with a new logo to certify “accreditation”.
HONG KONG: It has just been revealed by Constitutional Affairs Minister Patrick Nip Tak-kuen that over the last 10 years there has not been a single court case under the Race Discrimination Ordinance. The statement follows a written enquiry from the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. According to the Minister, the Equal Opportunity Commission may have received numerous complaints, but no records are kept by it and, in any case, racism is not a “prevalent or serious problem” in Hong Kong – some claim.
VIETNAM: Government Circular 17 imposing a company system of labour law self-inspection has come into effect. Companies are now required to file an annual report based on self-inspection. The Circular also provides guidance on what constitutes compliance with labour law, and outlines the respective responsibilities of employers and trade unions.
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.
GERMANY: The ongoing saga rolls on about whether previous employment with a company means that a subsequent hire on a fixed-term contract “without justification” (FTWJ) is actually permanent. Following the Constitutional Court’s ruling that the previous 3-year rule was not lawful the question was left in the air – but what gap would be enough? Last year the Constitutional Court left the matter in the air stating that rehiring of a FTWJ might be lawful if the previous job was “a very long time ago, of a completely different type or was of very short duration”. Last month, following a subsequent case, the Federal Labour Court published its findings that a period of even eight years between jobs remained too short for the automatic assumption that a worker rehired on a FTWJ contract remains temporary.
GREECE: The standard monthly minimum wage has now increased from €586 (US$670.5) to €650 (US$743.8).
MACEDONIA: In spite of all kinds of tactics and inducements by Russia to incite irrational attitudes to the country within Greece, Macedonia has finally been able to overcome the veto against its joining NATO. The Greek Parliament has voted by a narrow majority to Macedonia’s NATO membership and thereby establish greater stability in the Balkans. Significantly Greece is the first NATO member to ratify membership after Macedonia signed the accession treaty earlier this month.
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…