Every well-run multinational organisation requires a set of essential support services to ensure it stays in tune with its complex of differing business environments and compliant with both professional standards and national laws. That is the role of accountants, management consultants, training organisations, law firms and FedEE.
FedEE offers a unique, high quality service not available elsewhere. We overlap to some extent with other professional services, but no truly effective multinational HR department could function without us. That is why we were established 30 years ago – by HR professionals, for HR professionals.
Many companies operate with in-house legal counsel to provide first-line support on compliance issues and specific legal problems. FedEE’s principal role is to act as an extension of this service – but specialising exclusively on employment law and related issues. We are a shared resource, so can provide this service in an inexpensive way.
Our experience in dealing with legal matters for a wide range of multinational organisations also means that our member companies can gain the benefit of our seasoned expertise. We also back up our guidance with a comprehensive knowledgebase covering 70+ jurisdictions that can be consulted on a 24/7 basis.
We therefore fill the gap between in-house resources and conventional external resources. We provide timely, first line support whenever you need to resolve an HR issue or wish for a reliable second opinion. Our knowledge-base is packed with employment law data, statistics, guidance notes, public holiday dates from around the world, pay projections, minimum wage rates and cost of living information – all backed up by a telephone helpline. We also have a proprietary job pricing system and monitor worldwide developments for our comprehensive fortnightly news-wire. Senior HR professionals network through our Fellowship Meetings and you will also soon be able to gain recognition for your legal advisory role through our part-time ‘HR Counsel’ distance-learning course.
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.
MEXICO: Please exercise great caution anywhere in the country as violent crime, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery, are widespread.
GUYANA: Exercise great caution as violent crime, such as armed robbery and murder, is common throughout the country.
FRANCE: Expect flights disruption in France, as air traffic controllers joined the public sector walk-out on the 22nd of May, 2018.
MEXICO: Operations of Aerolineas Damojh have been temporarily suspended after the plane crash in Cuba on the 18th of May, 2018.
UK: It has been announced that the Airline BMI Regional is cancelling its flights from Southampton Airport to Germany.
THAILAND: There are at least 3 people injured in the Multiple bomb attacks by suspected separatist insurgents in Thailand’s far south on the 20th of May, 2018.
UK: Workers at Luton Airport have planned to undertake strike action at intervals from Friday the 25th of May until Wednesday the 30th of May over a pay and zero hour contracts dispute.
BENIN: Please exercise increased caution in urban areas and beaches due to frequent crime.
VENEZUELA: Visitors are advised to avoid nonessential travel to the country because of social disorder, disease outbreaks and poor health care facilities.
UKRAINE: Stay vigilant because of the prevalence of crimes of opportunity.
ISRAEL: Exercise great caution in the country as the security situation may change rapidly. Avoid all travel to the Gaza Strip, avoid non-essential travel to the West Bank, excluding Ramallah, Jericho and Bethlehem.
BOLIVIA: Exercise a high degree of caution as social tensions and illegal roadblocks continue throughout the country.
TIMOR-LESTE: The security situation is still fragile and the level of crime remains high throughout the country.
INDONESIA: Please avoid non-essential travel to the province of Papua due to the regular occurrence of violence.
BELGIUM: Rail workers have threatened a series of strike actions between 28 May to 29 June (10 days). Meanwhile, flights operated by Brussels Airlines will face disruption on the Monday 14 and Wednesday 16 May due to a strike action by pilots.
CANADA: Please consider making alternate arrangements if you’re planning a spring getaway with WestJet – as airline pilots are planning a strike vote which could lead to them walking off the job as early as May 19.
PANAMA: Avoid non-essential travel to the “Mosquito Coast” (Caribbean side) and the Darién Region (Colombian border) due to crime.
FRANCE: Railway unions have threatened that the strike at the national rail company, the SNCF, will continue indefinitely.
SOUTH AFRICA: All flights between the Wonderboom Airport in Pretoria and Cape Town will be suspended from the 8th of May, 2018 due to infrastructural development.
PHILIPPINES: Philippine Airlines will temporarily suspend flights from Manila to Caticlan from May the 16th until October the 26th.
MADAGASCAR: Visitors are advised to avoid all travel to Batterie Beach, just north of Toliara, where violent assaults have occurred.
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: Avoid non-essential travel to this country due to crime and civil unrest.
ARMENIA: Due to the tense political situation and widescale street protests visitors are advised to avoid trips to anywhere in the country.
ITALY: Please take delays into account in your travel plans as a national strike in the aviation sector has been planned on the 8th of May.
USA: Delta services to/from Ford Airport in Iron Mountain, Michigan will be suspended until the 14th of May due to runway construction.
UK: Passengers hoping to fly from Luton Airport this summer could face “significant disruption” as the Unite union has announced potential strike action.
NICARAGUA: Visitors are advised to exercise great caution in the country as large-scale civil unrest continues.
AUSTRIA: It is illegal to wear any clothing or object that conceals the face and makes facial features unrecognisable in a public place. It is not clear if this includes full face motorcycle helmets as legislators appear to have overlooked this use of a facial covering because it is not connected with religious adherence.
BANGLADESH: Visitors are advised against nonessential travel to the country due to the threat of terrorism, political demonstrations, nationwide hartals (general strikes + mass protests) and violent clashes.
BAHRAIN: UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are not valid for entry into Bahrain. However, ETDs are accepted for airside transit and exit from Bahrain.
BOLIVIA: Exercise a high degree of caution due to the continuing political and social tensions and frequent, illegal roadblocks throughout the country.
BRAZIL: The military is now in charge of security in Rio de Janeiro due to increased violence in the city. The yellow fever outbreak continues to spread. From July the 1st, 2017 to February the 20th, 2018, 545 cases of yellow fever have been confirmed, with 164 deaths. Since July 2017 a total of 130 cases of yellow fever have been recorded in the country, of which 53 sufferers have died. Visitors are advised to be vaccinated against yellow fever before travelling to any part of Brazil or neighboring countries. Any visit to any favela can be dangerous in Rio de Janeiro. Armed clashes and shootouts between police and gangs are regular and unpredictable.
BRAZIL: São Paulo is reporting a dramatic increase in hepatitis A cases this year. Between January the 1st and September the 16th2017, the city recorded 517 cases of the disease – already an increase of more than 700% over the whole of 2016, when there were 64 cases.
BURKINA FASO: Visitors should avoid non-essential travel to this country due to the high threat of terrorism. The country has seen a significant increase in dengue fever cases in October 2017. Dengue fever is an infectious disease carried by mosquitoes and caused by any of four related dengue viruses.
BURMA (MYANMAR): Protests related to an Arakan national event took place in Central Rakhine on the 16th of January 2018 and resulted in seven deaths. Stay vigilant as often violent communal tension between the Buddhist Rakhine population and Muslim Rohingya continues.
CAMEROON: There is an ongoing crisis in Cameroon. Visitors are advised against all but essential travel to Mamfe in the South West region. Avoid all travel to the Far North region and Mayo-Louti Department in the North region due to the increased threat of frequent attacks by the Boko Haram extremist group, banditry and kidnappings.
CHILE: Health officials in the Bio Bio Region of Chile are reporting a large outbreak of Salmonella that has infected many people. Salmonella bacteria can cause diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and fever.
COLOMBIA: Visitors should be particularly cautious and vigilant as violence has erupted across Colombia following the expiration of a temporary ceasefire on the 9th of January, 2018 with the country’s largest active guerrilla group.
EGYPT: Avoid all travel to the Sinai Peninsula (except Sharm el-Sheikh), because of terrorist activity and ongoing military operations by the Egyptian Armed Forces.
ETHIOPIA: Visitors will not be able to buy and use Ethio Tel SIM cards in mobile devices that have not been purchased in Ethiopia or registered with the authorities from the 26th of September 2017.
ETHIOPIA: A state of emergency will remain in place until August, 2018. Visitors are advised to exercise a high degree of caution in the country due to the volatile security situation.
GHANA: Violence towards LGBT people by mobs and even their own family members is on the increase. It is an offence in Ghana to be part of the LGBT community and prosecution could result in a custodial sentence of between 3 and 25 years.
GREECE: Make sure you have been vaccinated against measles. 922 measles cases have recently been notified in Greece. The highest frequency has been observed in South Greece.
HAITI: Visitors are advised to carefully consider the risks of traveling to Haiti due to its current security environment and lack of adequate medical facilities and emergency response capabilities.
INDIA: A warning has been issued by the Kerala health department about mosquito-borne infections in the state capital Thiruvananthapuram. There is also a risk of water-borne diseases like typhoid, jaundice, cholera and diarrhea. Remember to take a medical prescription with you if you are going to take any medicines into the country. Narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances are prohibited. There is an outbreak of swine flu (H1N1) in Rajasthan. At least 88 people have died and 976 others have tested positive for H1N1 influenza so far this year.
Africa / Middle East
This region covers a quarter of the earth’s land area and is home to 19% of the world’s population. The largest country in the region is Algeria and the most populous country is Nigeria. This entire region is the most politically unstable in the world – with huge disparities in wealth distribution, abject poverty in many areas, major cultural and religious divides and mineral wealth (mainly copper, bauxite, gold and oil) making it a focus for huge economic rivalries and terrorist movements. These problems are compounded by widespread corruption in political life.
Africa is largely made up of developing countries and has the lowest average age for any region of the world – at 19.7 years compared to a global average age of 30.4 years. The Middle East (which sometimes also includes Egypt) is part of the Asian Continent and principally an arid region bounded on the north by the Caucasus mountains and Black Sea and to the south by the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. It contains the strategically important Suez Canal that allows a high volume of trade between Europe and the rest of Asia.
The legal systems owe a great deal to both the region’s colonial past and, in the middle East, to Islamic Sharia law. In most Arab states Sharia law relates largely to family status and personal conduct but in states such as Iran it pervades the entire legal system. In Africa the legal systems range from the Anglo-Dutch framework in South Africa to Xeer law based on median through “elders” used in the horn of Africa. An important aspect of employment in this region is the rising emphasis on retaining a certain proportion of available jobs for country nationals. For instance, in Angola companies with 5 or more workers must have 70% of jobs reserved for Angolan nationals.
Another important issue in the region is tax. Tax revenues average account for around 30% of GDP around the World, but in SubSahara Africa they only account for around 20% of GDP. This is partly due to a large informal economy in many countries, but also to a reluctance of those in higher earnings brackets to fund adequate public services and a welfare system.
KENYA: A proposed amendment to the Labour Relations Act before parliament requires that where a dispute involves essential services such as healthcare, telecommunication, ports, fuel distribution, and the energy sector, then adequate notice of strike action should be given and cover must be arranged so that there is no threat to the “preservation of life, health of the population and property”.
ZIMBABWE: This is the latest country to cash in on the global trend to legalise marijuana for medical use. Last year the semi-lawless state of Lesotho started issuing licences to grow the plant. Now licencing is being introduced into Zimbabwe at the same time as its medical use is being permitted. Prior to this liberalisation, possession of the drug could result in up to 12 years’ imprisonment. Recreational use remains illegal, but almost impossible to police – as only a zero tolerance policy would ever work.
TURKEY: Many employers remain confused about the altered court procedures for handling labour disputes introduced earlier this year. The new statutory obligation for employees to seek mediation before making a court claim applies to all matters relating to employee compensation. This includes unpaid wages and disputes relating to severance or notice payments. Any claim for reinstatement will also require mediation. The principal exemptions are claims relating to workplace accidents or the contracting of an occupational disease. Once a mediation is initiated, it must be resolved within 4 weeks and the costs normally shared equally by the parties. If it is not resolved through mediation, an application may be made for a court hearing, upon submission of documents evidencing that mediation has been correctly performed.
The world economic system remains dominated by the USA, which continues to outpunch its weight in terms of population and physical size. The NAFTA trade agreement linking the USA with Canada and Mexico has allowed for the free flow of goods and services across the region since 1994. However, in 2017 the USA signalled that it wished to re-establish stricter controls, particularly on imports.
The legal systems of Canada, Mexico and the USA are well developed and generally progressive. However, enforcement is generally low in Mexico and in the USA many legal rights are influenced by traditional constitutional rights that set it apart from other modern, western jurisdictions. The federal system is also a complicating factor in both the USA and Canada – leading to significant disparities across each country.
Trade unions have differing significance in all three countries. In Mexico, where a trades union can be formed with just 20 people, there is a big difference between working with a union start up and one generally recognized and part of the Confederación de Trabajadores Mexicanos. In Canada unionization stands at 28% of the working population. Although this is well down on the 37.6% recorded in 1981, it remains high by international standards and collective agreements remain an important aspect of wage determination. In the USA unions account for only one in ten workers and their members are principally in the public sector. However, where they exist, wage and salary levels tend to be 10-30% higher than in non-unionised organisations.
MEXICO: According to the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH), only around half of all those employed in Mexico are covered by work-related healthcare services. Latest figures from the Mexican Institute of Social Security – relating to 2016 – indicate there were 1,408 officially recorded deaths at work annually, but over 1,402,445 accidents and 335,719 occupational diseases. There is a strong framework for health and safety in the workplace provided though the state constitution, labour and social security laws, and ministerial guidelines – however few of these have any significant or widespread effect, especially in respect to the country’s 30 million informal workers.
USA: The Supreme Court has confirmed that medical benefits for retirees are not automatically vested if they are subject to a collective bargaining agreement that expires. Such benefits only continue after the expiry of an agreement if the continuing right to such benefits is expressly guaranteed in the agreement. (CNH Indus. N.V. v. Reese, and Cooper v. Honeywell Int’l, Inc., (6th Cir., 2018).
JAMAICA: Final agreement has still not been achieved on the proposed Data Protection Act. Many amendments are still stuck in parliamentary committee, such as the definition of the age that defines a “minor” and the meaning of “consent”. Much concern has been expressed at the classification of those aged 18 as “minors”, whereas the replacement of a general condition to replace “oral and written consent” with “express consent” was felt to be inadequate. Those giving witness to a joint select committee have stated a preference for consent to mean “informed, free and not coerced”.
Seven geological unstable and mainly poor countries along the eastern shores of the Caribbean.
Asia / Pacific
This is the biggest and most populated region of the world, even if we exclude the Middle East. It contains the two dynamos of economic growth – India and China. These two countries together account for 35.5% of the world’s population and 47% of global GDP.
Much of India’s legislation still dates back to the colonial era and only recently have there been concerted steps to modernise key statutes. The rule of law in China has been given greater importance under the current President and many poorly regulated practices such as the use of despatched workers and length of the working week are now being generally enforced in Chinese-owned enterprises. Australia is still recovering from problems with the labour hire industry and report of the Royal Commission into trade union governance and corruption. The Fair Work Act continues to be a key framework for establishing terms and conditions for workers in Australia. In Singapore recent reforms have made labour law more employer-friendly, but also imposed new obligations such as giving employees itemised payslips and the right to have their employment terms in writing. In Taiwan amendments to the Labour Standards Act are increasing the cap on monthly overtime hours and allowing compensation by way of time off in lieu.
Much of the recent focus of employment law developments across Asia have concerned the operation of contract labour, temporary employees, the emergence of the gig economy and phenomenon of overwork. In spite of Supreme Court pronouncements equal pay practices in India barely touch the wages received by temporary workers. In the Philippines labour-only contracting is prohibited by law, but the practice remains widespread. In China the law does not officially recognise self-employed contractors. However, the courts have made distinctions between contractors and employment relationships and accepted that the latter may be valid. In Japan the thorny issue remains overwork and it will be sometime before the culture relaxes to a point that employees are willing to work effectively over shorter periods.
CHINA: A new national policy on lifelong vocational training for workers has been announced recently. The system will cover all workers in both cities and rural areas throughout the entire course of their career and aim to improve and promote the transition, upgrading and high-quality development of China’s economy. Business training programs will be subsidized by the government, and a new type of apprentice system will be introduced to provide skills training for newly recruited and reemployed workers.
INDIA: A number of amendments have been made to the Gratuity Act 1972. Payments under the Act amount to compensation on termination and apply to companies with 10 or more employees, where an employee has 5+ years of service. The calculation is based on 15 days’ pay per year of service, up to a specified earnings limit. Instead of requiring fresh legislation each time the limit is raised, the amendment now gives the government discretion to set it at any amount it wishes. A further amendment allows the government to raise the continuous service allowance for maternity leave in the gratuity calculation to any level above its current 12 weeks per maternity leave period.
A thinly populated area of mainly wide open planes with vast mineral resources.
This region of 743m people covers over 50 countries or largely self-governing entities. and an even greater number of languages and local dialects. At the heart of Europe is the European Union (EU) – which is more than simply a free trade area and operates with its own laws, Court of Justice and – as such – acts more like a federal state. Other economic entities operating in Europe include the Council of Europe – with a Human Rights Court in Strasbourg and the Commonwealth of Independent States Free Trade Area (CISFTA) covering several of the old Soviet Republics.
Many of the employment-related EU Directives and Regulations are based on conventions of the International Labour Organisation. But they contain significant gaps in provision – such as having no control over individual dismissal. However, although the EU Treaty does not give EU institutions powers in respect to pay (other than equal pay for men and women) this has not stopped them from introducing many pay-related measures such as the requirement to pay part-time workers at the same hourly rate as equivalent full-time workers and for posted workers to be paid in line with minimum pay or collectively bargained rates in countries to which workers are posted. The European Court of Justice has also refused to accept the anti-trust nature of labour wage cartels – such as the practice of imposing sectoral agreements in France over companies not party to the agreement. This makes the state a party to the practice of preventing new, rival companies undercutting established pay rates in order to gain a competitive advantage.
The departure of the UK from the EU in 2019 has dealt a severe blow to the European superstate model. However, there are many countries in Eastern Europe wishing to join the EU over the next few years. Whether it remains a united and viable entity will largely depend on how much the rise of undemocratic and right-wing parties will undermine its principles. Already immigration has become a major issue in Eastern Europe and Poland could face suspension over its latest judicial reforms.
UNITED KINGDOM: The EAT has determined that a father has no entitlement to be paid enhanced pay for undertaking shared parental leave just because the mother had received enhanced maternity pay during her share of the total leave. In doing so, they overturned a tribunal decision that ruled the man should be paid at an enhanced maternity pay level for his period of shared parental leave after his partner had undertaken her minimum two weeks maternity leave period. [Capita Customer Management v Ali]. Meanwhile, a further case (Hextall v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police) has been considered by the EAT, but referred back to a tribunal because it lack the necessary information to reach a decision. The EAT guidance, however, indicates there may be scope for considering the denial of enhanced shared parental pay as possibly subject to indirect discrimination in certain circumstances. Therefore, if employers currently enhance maternity pay they should take specific advice ahead of a final ruling. FedEE’s Corresponding law firm in the UK is Mishcon de Reya LLP. Contact Ms Sarah Keeble, email@example.com
AUSTRIA: The country’s burqa ban is now leading police to stop individuals wearing a medical face mask in public. It is therefore necessary for those who wish to do so to carry a doctor’s certificate or face an €80 (US$97) fine. It is not clear whether this literal interpretation is being made in respect to full-face motorcycle helmets.
Micro countries that largely owe their existence to Europe’s long and complex history.
Join FedEE Today
Many of the world’s largest multinational companies already belong to The Federation of International Employers (FedEE). Our members are located around the globe – 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 five or more years then you may apply for corporate membership. We only accept applications, however, from appropriate, responsible personnel using a corporate email address. The approval process is usually undertaken within 24 hours of receiving an application and for immediate access to our data we have an online credit card payment facility. Access is for up to 15 users anywhere in your company and each user will receive their own specific login details.
If you would like to take a short tour of our knowledge-base then please contact our Membership Secretary to arrange for a one-to-one webinar for you and your colleagues, arranged entirely at your convenience.
We have begun to develop a global network of law firms that can provide local jurisdiction expertise in the field of employment law to our multinational corporate members. Our aim is to work with firms in all 195 nations across the world, plus states and provinces in federal countries.
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.
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.
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