Staffing industry legal news – February 2018

To help you stay on top of the latest legislation recruiters and employers need to be aware of, we’ve teamed up with ICE, specialist providers of international compliance consultancy to the staffing industry. Together we’ll bring you news of the latest legal updates that impact the world of work. 

Here’s what’s been happening over the past few months:

United Kingdom

Good Work Plan announced but many questions still remain

Flexible workers in the UK are to have their rights and protections increased following the Government’s ‘Good Work Plan’, which was drafted in response to last year’s review by Matthew Taylor into modern employment practices.  

Together with the response - which included a list of day-one rights such as holiday and sick pay entitlements as well as a new right to a payslip for all workers, including casual and zero-hour workers - the government also launched four consultations: employment status, increasing transparency in the labour market, agency workers and enforcement of employment rights. Whilst the recruitment and staffing industry had a generally positive reaction to the Plan and consultations, there is no doubt a number of challenges remain with regard to worker classification, the alignment of employment status with tax status, the need to further protect vulnerable workers without stifling entrepreneurship and maintaining flexibility in the labour market.  Trade unions were less impressed by the government plans and questioned whether it would have any impact on modern labour practices. 

We will follow up on this after the consultations have concluded in the Spring. 


Further changes implemented by the Indian government 

Further to a draft bill consultation with stakeholders last September, the Indian Ministry of Labour continues to press on with its plans to replace the current local approval system used by staffing firms with a national licence, which would greatly simplify the operation of these companies. In order to obtain a licence, which is to be renewed every three years, firms will have to fulfil specific criteria, pay a fee and give a bank guarantee as security for due performance of their obligations. Based on latest reports, the bill was still pending Cabinet and Parliament approval, so more on this in the next edition. 

And the changes don’t stop there, as India tries to simplify its legislation and continues to review its labour and employment practices, fixed-term contracts have now been allowed in all sectors. The move - part of the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Central (Amendment) Rules, 2018 – makes it possible for companies to hire workers directly (no need of mediation by a contractor) for short periods and terminate their services at the end of the assignment.  Under this type of engagement the fixed-term workers are entitled to (proportional) statutory benefits available to permanent workers in the same factory (as far as hours, wages and allowances are concerned), but the employer is not required to give notice when the contract expires or is not renewed. Based on this, states will be able to amend their rules accordingly.


Independent taxi drivers deemed employees

As worker classification continues to be challenge and make headlines around the world, a recent ruling by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court (FSC) regarding independent taxi drivers affiliated with a central headquarters shows how decisions can vary from country to country. Following a move back in 2014 by the Swiss Accident Insurance Institute to recognise that taxi drivers were employees for social security purposes, the FSC also reached the conclusion that these workers were employees rather than self-employed. As a consequence, up to 2000 taxi drivers currently working through central headquarters are to have a significant improvement in their social protection, with consumers ultimately paying for it as prices are likely to rise. This could also mean bad news for Uber, who is currently awaiting a decision in a pending case in country.  Watch this space to find out how this may impact the gig economy in the Swiss market in the coming months.

For more legal news in other areas of the world including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Iceland, Japan and New Zealand please contact us for further information. 


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