9 December 202133 minute read

Employment law in 5: 5 developments for December to read in less than 5 minutes

Number one
Top trend (yet again): Evolving COVID-19 measures and vaccine mandates

The key global trend this month remains the ever-changing COVID-19 return-to-office rules and vaccine mandates, which now are changing yet again in the wake of the Omicron variant. 

Key vaccine updates at the time of writing include Austria’s proposal to introduce compulsory vaccination for all from February 2022; the new 3G rule in Germany where all employees must be vaccinated, recovered or tested to enter the workplace; in the US, a stay of the federal OSHA emergency temporary standard, as well as new state laws restricting employer vaccine mandates; extension of the sanitary pass requirement in France to July 31, 2022; the Supreme Court decision in Brazil suspending the ban on vaccination certificates; and new rules in Peru where mandatory vaccination in the workplace is required starting December 15, 2021.

Many countries are seeing the (re)introduction of restrictions, such as new work from home rules in Germany; new work from home guidance in Ireland; new workplace testing requirements in Czech Republic; updated Ministry of Health COVID-19 guidance in Spain; a return to home working in Belgium from November 20, 2021; the move to a “traffic light” system in New Zealand; and, in the UK, the introduction of Plan B-lite.

Expect this landscape to keep shifting dramatically in the coming weeks and months.
Number 2
Rising global trend: The right to disconnect

The increase in remote working due to the pandemic has – for many millions of employees around the world – blurred the lines between work and home life.  Around the world, numerous lawmakers and employee representative bodies are calling for a right for employees to disconnect from work communications outside of working hours.

In January 2021, the EU Parliament called for an EU-wide right to disconnect law and while this remains a proposal, in the meantime, a number of European countries have launched their own legislative initiatives. During 2021, we have seen right to disconnect laws being enhanced or introduced in Italy, Ireland and Spain.

The most recent developments are a new law in Portugal modifying the remote work regime and preventing employers from contacting employees outside of working hours, and, in Ontario, a proposed new law which will – if passed – require employers to implement a written policy on disconnecting from work.

Number 3
Focus on UAE: New labor law takes effect on February 2, 2022

A new federal labor law – replacing the current law that has been in place for over 40 years – comes into force in the United Arab Emirates in February 2022.  The changes the new law brings will have far-reaching implications for UAE-based employers.

Read our full summary of the new law here. For support with updating your policies and drafting or updating employment contracts, contact the head of our Middle East employment team, Neil Crossley
Number 4
Don’t miss: On demand recording, Q&A and slides on Managing long-term sickness absence in the Netherlands

The significant and complex rules in the Netherlands on managing long-term employee illness – including the obligation to pay 104 weeks’ paid sick leave – can present significant challenges for local and global employers. In a recent training session, Tanya van Nieuwstadt, Senior Associate in DLA Piper Amsterdam, talked about the basic legal principles and areas of challenge for employers, offering practical advice and pointers along the way.

The webinar recording, follow up Q&A session, and slides are available at this link
Number 5

Global event: Global Employment 2021 Review and 2022 Preview
January 18, 11 am EST

Join us in January for a webinar to reflect on the state of employment law around the world at the end of another extraordinary year, with a particular focus on what’s next for global employers. We will explore 2021’s key employment trends and set out our preview and predictions for 2022. The global developments that we will explore include:

  • Vaccines and return to office: Where are we now and what’s next for employers
  • Hybrid work: The legal, practical and cultural challenges
  • SESG: Why employers must not forget the S in ESG
  • Global expansion: Key considerations for employers going (more) global
  • Whistleblowing: The new EU Directive and impact on global employers
  • Equality, discrimination and gender pay: The next best step for global employers
Register for our Global Review / Preview webinar here