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2 February 202231 minute read

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

Number one
New year, new challenges for employers 

Employers are facing challenges on many fronts, involving issues from pay and benefits transparency and diversity standards to remote working, artificial intelligence and noncompetes. Read our report on top trends for US employers and APAC employment law forecast covering 16 countries. You can also register here for our APAC update webinar on February 24 (12:30 HKT) covering regional trends.

In case you missed it, you can still watch the recording of our global year in review webinar – and don’t forget our global 2022 preview report, with content for 40 countries.

Number 2
Vaccine issues continue
 In the wake of a US Supreme Court decision blocking its enforcement, OSHA announced on January 25 that it is withdrawing its COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) while it continues to work on a permanent standard. Meanwhile, France’s “Vaccination Pass” law took effect on January 24. In the UK, a tribunal upheld an employer’s dismissal of a care home worker for refusing to be vaccinated. In Austria, mandatory vaccines are due to be introduced from February 1, with enforcement starting on March 15. 
Number 3
New restrictions on noncompetes
As many employers struggle to retain talent, new laws are making noncompetes harder to enforce. In the US, the Freedom to Work Act is already in effect, providing Illinois employees with greater protections.  In Colorado,  a change to the law has criminalized the enforcement of illegal noncompetes. Ontario’s Bill 27, the Working for Workers Act, also bans most noncompetes. In Finland, from January 1, 2022, employers are obliged to pay compensation to an employee for the period of a noncompete restriction. In the UK, we may see progress this year on proposals to regulate the use of noncompetes.
Number 4
New equality measures in force on both sides of the Atlantic

New York City is the latest US jurisdiction to pass a bill addressing pay transparency and pay equity (joining such states as Colorado, Connecticut, Nevada and Rhode Island). The Illinois equal pay reporting requirements take effect from March 2022 onwards. Meanwhile, in Europe, January 1, 2022 saw the implementation in Italy of the “pink label” gender equality certification scheme, which provides reduction in social security contributions for certified employers who have adopted policies and measures aimed at gender equality and equal pay. 

Number 5

Significant labor reform in Spain impacts use of temporary contracts, among other things

In late December 2021, after many months of negotiations between government, trade unions and business, an important new law was introduced in Spain which impacts a number of areas of employment law, including restrictions on the use of temporary contracts, collective bargaining, contracting, and temporary layoff plans. The new law contains important changes aimed at reducing insecure employment and avoiding layoffs.

To discuss how any of these changes impact your business, please contact your local DLA Piper contact or email us at