HR world today (20210729)

There has been considerable attention in the HR press recently about hybrid working on a longer-term basis, and in this issue we give a number of examples from around the World. However, one of the biggest issues facing societies remains discrimination – a phenomenon that takes many forms. Whilst the trend has been generally towards liberalization, it can be seen in Ghana that the law can so easily go into reverse. In Wisconsin and Kenya we can observe two contrasting cases involving disability discrimination, with the courts pushing aside employer defences to be generous to the perceived victim.

We continue to report changes in maternity and paternity laws, but in this issue for those in Singapore and South Africa who have been excluded from the welfare system. In Ukraine, paternity leave is being opened up to a wider range of potential carers and the employer-paid element raised for fathers to 14 days. How those in certain jobs can be by-passed by protective laws is also well illustrated by the changes in thresholds for unfair dismissal claims in Australia for “non-award covered employees”.

The disturbances made to visa and work permit arrangements continue to leave their mark. This is evident in Form 1-9 flexibility rules in the USA, the tightening up of entry requirements by foreigners in Russia and new safeguards in New Zealand to protect migrants who end up in exploitative jobs. 

A major sign that the World is finally opening up after the pandemic is the imminent opening of the Canadian/US land border. Greater activity around the World is also taking place on the minimum wage front. Most significant of all in the USA is the proposal that has just been made by the US Department of Labor for the minimum wage of federal contractors to be raised to $15 an hour. This has become the mantra around many US states recently, with even the conservative State of Delaware accepting a future $15 target. This all, however, begs the question about when the federal minimum wage itself will be revised. The Federal rate of $7.25 has now remained unchanged since July 2009 and still applies in 20 US states. The FLSA tipped rate last set in 1991 is, in fact, just $2.13 an hour. This is only just above the median annual income for a worker in Indonesia.

DISCLAIMER: This document is for general guidance only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and are not intended to be complete or exhaustive. Although we try to ensure the information is accurate and up-to-date, all users should seek legal advice before taking or refraining from taking any action and no liability is accepted for any loss which may arise from reliance on information contained in this document.