HR European news roundup - February 2012

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A selection of the latest European HR news from the Federation of European Employers (FedEE).

Europe: New EU rules for handling personal information
The European Commission is set to propose changes to the EU Data Protection Directive that will dictate how employers handle personal information. The proposals include, for the first time, a single set of privacy standards for all 27 EU countries. Any company maintaining databases that include personal information will have to comply with the new rules and be able to show how and why they are using personal information.

Spain: Major employment and labour law amendments
The Spanish government has passed the most significant changes to its labour law seen in decades. The legislation is set to encourage employer flexibility, changing the rules on dismissals, contracting and collective agreements.

France: Employers may require reasonable changes in work hours
The French Supreme Court has given a surprisingly liberal ruling in a case where the working locations and hours of an employee were unilaterally modified by her employer. The employee concerned had been required to work at two sites in the afternoon instead of one site in the morning. According to the Court the introduction of new working arrangements falls within the legitimate managerial authority of an employer. An employee's right to a personal and family life may only be asserted where that right is excessively undermined (Cass.Soc, 3 Nov 2011, no 10-14.702).

France: Social security changes for 2012
The French law on the financing of social security for 2012 has been published in the Official Journal. There are a number of important changes this year:
* The rate of the so-called employer "forfait social" contribution is increased from 6% to 8%.
* The social security scheme applicable to severance payments has been amended in respect to the termination of corporate officers, senior managers and persons referred to in Article 80 of the General Tax code. The nontaxable share excluded from social security contributions now has an upper limit of EUR 72,744.
* The rate of abatement for business expenses has been reduced. The automatic deduction is now set at a fixed rate of 1.75%.
*There are also changes in the way that the "fillon reduction" is calculated for employees on low incomes.

Switzerland: Referendum on the world's highest minimum wage
Swiss trade unions have gained the necessary 100,000+ signatures to require the Federal Chancery to call a referendum on a national minimum wage of CHF 22 (EUR 18.2) per hour. If supported by the Swiss population, this measure would raise gross monthly earnings to CHF 4,000 (EUR 3,313) for those in the lowest paid jobs. It is estimated that approximately 400,000 workers would be affected by such a statutory increase.

UK: Extended parental leave delayed for further year
The UK government has confirmed that it will postpone the implementation of the increase in parental leave required by the EU Parental Leave Directive. This change will increase the rights to unpaid parental leave, for those with a child under the age of five, from 13 weeks to 18 weeks. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills intends to make use of the one year grace period provided for in the Directive.

Russia: 41% increase in minimum wage this year
Russia's ruling "United Russia" party is planning to introduce substantial increases in the national minimum wage in order to bring it more into line with the official subsistence level. Parliament plans to follow a three-step schedule this year with the monthly minimum wage increased from the current RUB 4,600 (EUR 115) to RUB 5,000 (EUR 125) in March 2012. On June 1st it will be increased to RUB 5,500 (EUR 138), and finally to RUB 6,500 (EUR 163) by October 1st.


© Copyright: FedEE Services Ltd 2012

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