A selection of the latest European HR news from the Federation of European Employers (FedEE).
Russia: New test for foreign workers
From November 2012 applicants for a standard Russian work permit will be required to pass a test which includes questions about Russian history, language and culture. However, those applying for permits under the highly qualified specialist programme will be exempted from the new requirement. As this programme is limited to foreign employees of Russian legal entities and accredited branch offices of legal entities, however, all those applying to work for representative offices of foreign companies will have to comply with the new requirement.
Portugal: Comprehensive Labour Code revision
The Portuguese Parliament has recently approved a revision of the Labour Code (no. 46/XII). The new law is awaiting promulgation and publication which is expected in the forthcoming weeks. The revision covers a wide range of employment issues including severance pay, dismissals and working time. A briefing on the major changes has been prepared for FedEE members by the Portuguese law firm SRS Advogados, Portugal.
France: Employer may access documents not marked private
The French Supreme Court has further limited an employee's right to workplace privacy by ruling that information stored in the ‘my documents' folder of a work computer may be monitored by their employer - even without the employee being present. The Court found that as the folder was not marked ‘private' the employer was justified in viewing its contents and subsequently dismissing the employee for collecting or generating inappropriate material (Monsieur X v Nouvelle Communication Telephonique).
Spain: Legal framework for home-workers
Spanish Royal Decree 3/2012 has modified article 13 of the Workers Statute by introducing and regulating the term ‘distance working'. This type of activity is normally carried out in the worker's home, as opposed to a company workplace.
Under the new law an agreement to establish a distance-working regime may be made at the beginning of the contract or at a later date - but must always be in written form. A copy of the agreement must subsequently be sent to the worker's trade union representative. Distance workers will have the same rights as all other workers, including access to training and promotion opportunities.
EU: Managers work far longer hours than other workers
The average number of usual weekly hours worked by individuals in their main job varies significantly by level of seniority in a company. According to Eurostat, in 2011 managers in the EU worked an average of 44.9 hours a week (ranging from 39.3 in Latvia to 51.7 hours in Greece). This compares with an average of 40.6 hours for craft and related trade workers, 37.9 hours for professionals, 36.9 hours for technicians/clerical workers and 32.3 hours for those in elementary occupations.
Germany: New deal for temporary agency workers
A new five-year pay deal has been concluded for temporary agency workers in Germany's engineering sector.
Although in principle Germany follows the legal basis of equal pay for equal work, this rule was liberalised as part of the Hartz reforms for the temporary employment sector - which means that unskilled temporary workers in particular can have their basic pay up to 40% lower than that of permanent employees in the same company, provided that a collective bargaining agreement for permanent employees is in place at their place of temporary work. The new agreement provides temporary agency workers with enhanced pay rights for longer assignments. These range from basic pay, plus 15% for assignments lasting between six weeks and three months to basic pay, plus 50% for assignments of nine months or more. In Germany around 900,000 employees are currently employed through temporary agencies, around 240,000 of which are working in the engineering industries covered by the IG Metall deal. Around 50% of these are unskilled workers.
Poland: Streamlined company formation procedure
Due to an amendment in the Commercial Companies Code, it is now possible to form a new limited liability company in Poland with the minimum of delay and bureaucracy. Details can be submitted online at the Ministry of justice website and a company authorised within just 24 hours.
© Copyright: FedEE Services Ltd 2012