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What to Expect in the Workplace After COVID-19

The coronavirus epidemic has had a significant influence on the workplace. Many employees now work from home, requiring employers to find new ways to keep their workers connected. We’ll talk about what you may expect in your job after COVID-19 in this article.

So whether you are about to return to your usual pre-pandemic office environment or earn cash via Woo Casino login, you need to read this!

Health and Safety First

The most significant change at work is the increased emphasis on health and safety. Employers are now required by law to provide their workers with a safe working environment. This implies that cleanliness and hygiene will be more important in the workplace. New social distance policies and usage of PPE may also be implemented as a result of this.

Your employer is going to be extra diligent about informing you about changes in policy or practice. They’ll also want to know if you’re okay to go back to work and whether there are any issues. It’s critical that you speak up if you have any concerns so that your employer can address them.

There may be changes to your job responsibilities as organisations attempt to adjust to the new reality. For example, if you work in customer service, you may be required to take greater precautions for client and employee safety. Wearing a face mask and gloves or constructing a plexiglass barrier.

Flexibility in the Workplace

Another difference that you may notice is greater workplace flexibility. Many businesses are now providing workers with more flexible hours and remote employment opportunities. This is to meet the needs of families with children or elderly relatives who require attention. It’s also designed to ease tension for employees in these extraordinary times.

If you’re returning to the workplace, your employer may request that you report in at various hours to avoid rush hour. They may also stagger lunch and break times so that fewer people are in the kitchen or break room at once. These modifications are all made with the goal of ensuring everyone’s safety and health in mind.

What Hasn’t Changed?

Even though there have been some significant changes in the workplace, some things remain the same. For instance, if you are a manager, you will still be responsible for ensuring that your team is productive. And if you’re an employee, you’ll still need to meet your deadlines and goals.

Businesses and organisations have been forced to adapt in order to survive the epidemic. At the end of the day, employers must still accomplish tasks, and employees must still contribute.

The bottom line is that the workplace has changed as a result of COVID-19, but it’s still functioning. Employers are doing their best to provide a safe and healthy environment for their employees. So if you’re returning to work, or starting a new job, be prepared for some changes. But also know that the fundamental goal of most businesses remains the same: to be successful.

So, these are some of the things you can expect in the workplace after COVID-19. Health and safety will be paramount, and there may be some changes to your job responsibilities. You can also expect more flexible hours and remote employment opportunities. Lastly, your employer will want to ensure that you’re comfortable with returning to work and have no concerns. If you do have any questions or worries, don’t hesitate to reach out to your employer!

5 Labour Law Basics for Companies Expanding Overseas

Labour law is the relationship between workers, employing entities, trade unions and the government. Collective labour law relates to the tripartite relationship between employee, employer and union. Individual labour law concerns employees’ rights at work also through the contract for work.

Your company is doing well in the United States, and you are looking to expand overseas. But besides the practical logistics, what fundamentals do you need to know before you take on an employee in another country?

Once you grasp the basic differences between dealing with United States- and non-United States employees, you will foster smoother employee-employer relationships and prevent unexpected hits to your bottom line.

Following are five points to consider as you hire and manage employees in other countries.

  1. Understand that every country has its own distinct labour laws and that when it comes to employee protections, other countries tend to be more like each other than they are like the United States. The most important distinction is that there is no labour at will in the rest of the world—meaning that labour is contractual and that generally speaking, you cannot just terminate or even materially change the labour contract unilaterally without consequences.
  2. Many employee relations issues flow from the absence of at-will labour, especially when United States management is unfamiliar with the reasonable expectations that employees outside the States have about their labour relationship with companies. Since employees have the contractual right to continued labour, they are trained to behave differently from United States employees. They are entitled to ask questions, push back on instructions they disagree with, and communicate with employers in ways that United States managers may be unused to—all without fear of being perceived as “questioning” the company’s strategy. In addition, because they receive paid vacations by law, employees usually do not hesitate to take all of the vacation time allotted to them. Especially in Europe and common law jurisdictions in the Americas and Asia Pacific region, employees do not hesitate to demand their legal and contractual rights under statute, collective bargaining agreement, or contract. In many countries, poor performance also is not legally sufficient reason to terminate labour, so employers must carefully hire motivated employees or find ways to provide extra motivation for extra effort. Unlike in many U.S. states, “continued labour” is never sufficient consideration for restrictive covenants imposed after initial labour has begun, precisely because the employee is already protected from dismissal.
  3. Beware of hidden expenses. American employers often front-load employee costs in their labour offers, because they expect certain costs and termination expenses to be minimal. But outside the United States, you may want to reconsider base salary offers that are substantially over market, because the cost of terminating someone’s labour can be substantial. So, not only should budgets take into account potential termination costs down the road, but when termination pay is based on “total remuneration,” as is the case in most countries, any out-of-pocket cash benefits over base salary—including annual discretionary bonuses—will increase the severance cost when an employee does not work out. In addition, in many countries almost all employees are entitled to overtime pay—even at the manager level—so you may want to take that into consideration when pricing an offer, or take the appropriate steps to avoid unexpected overtime costs. Another potential surprise cost lies in jurisdictions that require an extra holiday “allowance” or 13th, and sometimes even 14th, month of pay on top of base salary. If you do not know about these in advance, you may get a nasty surprise when you cannot take back a too-generous offer.
  4. Did we mention that labour is contractual outside the United States? This is true even in Canada, and even if many United States employers do not realise it. So let an labour contract be your friend! It is a good thing, to have a written contract laying out the respective rights and obligations of the parties. Without it, you may not be able to enforce certain expected behaviours, the employee will always get the benefit of the doubt, and the employee will sometimes get substantially more generous entitlements that you might have otherwise been able to control by agreement.
  5. Rightly or wrongly, local employees, unions, labour authorities, and courts sometimes perceive United States employers as arrogant and wilfully ignorant of local expectations, customs, practices and laws. Given that all of those players usually play a greater role in the employer-employee relationship than in the United States, showing them that your company is looking to forge relationships and work within the system to everyone’s benefit can go a long way toward easing your path and helping you achieve your goals.

Employers’ Rights During the Pandemic

In accordance with the Law on Occupational Health and Safety and the Code of Obligations. The employer must provide the necessary resources to ensure occupational health and safety at the workplace.

It is necessary to take measures such as providing a sufficient amount of soap, cologne and hand disinfectant in the workplace and take measures such as ventilation of the workplace by employers. Employers should avoid risks that could lead to a dangerous situation for their employees, they have to eliminate existing risks, or replace existing risks with non-hazardous or less hazardous factors.

If necessary, stopping workplace activities may be considered. In this process, international travel and meetings should also be restricted. Employers should also be informed about the COVID-19 epidemic and the measures taken in the workplace in this context and appropriate instructions should be given to the employees regarding health and safety measures.

In this case, employees must also comply with all the measures taken regarding occupational health and safety.

If employees have an infection or suspicious symptoms, they should report these to their employers per their loyalty obligations. This is also important for ensuring occupational health and safety in the workplace.

However, the definition of what poses risks should be clearly defined by employers and employees should be informed about this. Employers may recommend that their employees explain their findings, such as infection and suspicion, to their employers and authorised persons such as the workplace’s occupational health and safety board.

The employer can’t give instructions to the employers to inform their employers about the symptoms of the disease due to data confidentiality, but this can be recommended to ensure health and safety in the workplace, employees should nevertheless express such concerns in secret. Because of the protection of their health and the health of their colleagues, they need to be careful.

Although the employer is not obliged to notify the employees having the infection detected in the workplace to the health institutions, it would be appropriate for the employers to inform the health officials about this situation in case of such danger or suspicion.

However, the employer can’t force his employee to be examined if he finds a suspect of infection. This situation can only be recommended. If the employee does not listen to these recommendations, if the employer deems it necessary, the employee can be gone on leave, provided that one is paid.

If employees prefer not to come to work due to the epidemic, the option of shortening their working time or part-time work may be considered.

However, according to the Labour Law, changes in working hours must be notified to employees in advance and approved by employees in writing. If the employees do not approve of this change in writing within 6 working days, the employer cannot accept this change. It is also an option to send the employee unilaterally on leave, provided that the employee continues to be paid by the employer and the employee is ready to work.

Employer’s encouragement or coercion of employees to work remotely is also one of the measures that can be taken in this epidemic environment. If a decision is taken to work from home in the workplace, employees will continue to receive full salary without any interruption and the employer will provide their employees with the technical equipment necessary to work from home. Employees also have the right to participate in short-term working and receive an allowance.

For the employees to benefit from the short-time working allowance, the working hours of the workplace should be temporarily reduced by at least a third or the activities in the workplace should be stopped completely or partially for at least four weeks. If the employer justified the demand for the short-time working of the employee, he can contact the Employment Agency to provide a short-time working allowance for employees up to three months.

In the short-time working, half of the wages of the first week are paid by the employer then a certain amount of wages will be paid from the unemployment fund to be deducted from the unemployment allowance. If verified coronavirus cases are detected in the workplace, employees can refrain from working. In this case, employers should continue to pay salaries even if the employees do not perform their duties.

In the case of a force majeure such as the spread of the outbreak in Turkey and to threaten the general population, unpaid leave, as long as the mutual agreement of the employer and employee, is another option available to employees. The employer or employee can offer unpaid leave.

If the proposal comes from the employee, the request for leave must be reasonable and the time off must be temporary. In the case that an employee does not have a request for unpaid leave with his consent, employers should use this option as a last resort and should never force their employees for unpaid leave.

The employer must inform the employee in writing regarding unpaid leave in advance, and the employee must accept this request in writing within 6 business days. If the workplace activities are temporarily suspended and no employee contracts are terminated during this period, the employer is not obliged to inform the Social Security Institution.

If the employee cannot participate in workplace activities due to force majeure, the employer is allowed to pay half of his salary for each day to the employee who cannot work for a week, according to the labour law. However, if the force majeure continues for more than a week, the employee or employer may terminate the employment contract for just cause.

In this case, the employee will have all legal rights such as severance pay, overtime, unused vacation, but he will not be able to receive notice pay.

Can Employers Terminate Employees Due to COVID-19 Pandemic?

A pandemic is an epidemic of an infectious disease that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple continents or worldwide, affecting a substantial number of individuals. A widespread endemic disease with a stable number of infected individuals is not a pandemic.

With the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 Virus, the hardest hit are establishments within the hospitality, F&B and retail industry, with many restaurants, gyms and many other businesses being forced to shut their doors temporarily or at least downscale their production and / or services drastically.

The greatest expense for most businesses is the payment of employee salaries. In circumstances where businesses are sometimes not operating and employees are not working as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak and the resulting measures adopted by the United Arab Emirates government, certain queries arise.

BSA provides answers to these queries in an effort to allow employers / businesses to curb their losses and employees to know their rights.

Employment provisions relating to the COVID-19 outbreak

At the outset, it is important to note that, to date, no special provisions / exceptions have been implemented to govern the relations between the establishments that have been affected by the mandatory closures relating to the COVID-19 outbreak; and their employees.

BSA has reached out to the MOHRE and they have confirmed that their stance thus far is that the COVID-19 outbreak has not been declared a force majeure event and in the absence of special provisions relating to the exceptional measures taken as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the status quo remains and both employers and employees will be bound by their rights and obligations as outlined in Federal Law no. 8 of 1980 and their relevant employment agreements.

In light of this unprecedented global pandemic, it is preferable for employers and employees to enter into discussions, negotiate and agree upon terms that are acceptable to all parties involved.

Can an employer terminate an employee under the current circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic?

In the absence of specific provisions adopted as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, employers can terminate their employees, however, such terminations will be governed by the provisions of the Labour Law and the relevant employment contract. Any such employers will likely be required to settle the employees’ dues and will be at risk of facing arbitrary dismissal claims. In circumstances where the COVID-19 has not been declared a force majeure event, employers will need to assess this risk in light of the Labour Law.

The same rules will apply as regards limited term employment contracts given that the Covid-19 outbreak has not yet been deemed a legitimate justification for termination. As such, if an employer terminates an employee as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the termination will be considered to be without cause and the employer may be held liable for compensating the employee.

Can an employer compel its employees to take unpaid leave?

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting mandatory closures, many employers are likely to attempt to avoid payment of their employees’ salaries and consider their absence as ‘unpaid leave’.

Any such attempt will be considered unlawful under the Labour Law as employers are not permitted to ‘freeze’ the employment of their personnel for a set period of time.

Unless the parties agree that the employee will be taking an unpaid leave, an employer’s instruction to enforce unpaid leave on his employees will constitute a breach of the Labour Law and the contract given that the employer will be failing to pay the employee’s salary.

Can an employer compel its employees to take their annual leave during the COVID-19 outbreak?

The general principles embodied in Article 76 of the Labour Law state that the employer may determine the date of the commencement of the annual leave, and may divide it if necessary, to two or more periods. This right has been given to employers since they are the responsible persons who are aware of the volume of work being undertaken by the company, and also to determine the priority as to when the work must be executed.

This right is given with a view to prioritise continuity of work. In view of this principle, the converse is also applicable during this period of slowdown caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, where there is a discontinuity of work. Therefore, given the above information, the employer can determine the date of commencement of an employee’s annual leave during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Can an employer impose a salary reduction?

Should an employer perform any deduction of salaries outside the scope of Article 60 and the employment contract, an employee can seek the recovery of any deducted amount before the competent labour courts.

In a context of cooperation during these unparalleled circumstances, parties may wish to agree upon a structure suitable for both the business, which is likely to be facing financial difficulties arising out of the COVID-19 outbreak, and its employees, who need to be paid their salaries, in an effort to avoid mass terminations as a result of the pandemic.

Is there a moratorium on salary payments?

The MOHRE has confirmed that at this point, the status quo remains, notwithstanding the COVID-19 outbreak. As such, there is no moratorium on the payment of salaries and employers must continue with making salary payments unless the employment contract provides otherwise.

The peculiarity of the situation will undeniably need to be considered by labour courts when hearing employment cases arising out of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Taking affirmative steps now is especially important as companies currently can foresee and attempt to mitigate any potential operational impacts in advance of the outbreak spreading to any new locality. Ideally, businesses will be able to plan accordingly to avoid any disruptions in their operations if the virus continues to spread.

Damages for Unlawful Termination of Employment

In law, wrongful dismissal, also called wrongful termination or wrongful discharge, is a situation in which an employee’s contract of employment has been terminated by the employer, where the termination breaches one or more terms of the contract of employment, or a statute provision or rule in employment law.

All employment has its terms. The terms may be written in a single contract, several documents, custom and usage or inferred from the conduct of the employee and his employer. The terms of employment usually stipulates the procedure, notice and termination package in which the employer would pay to the employee upon termination of the employee’s employment.

It therefore behooves of the employer to terminate the employee’s employment in line with the provisions of the employee’s terms of employment. Consequently, termination of the employee’s employment is said to be unlawful, if the employer fails to terminate the employee’s employment in line with the provisions of the employee’s terms of employment.

What then are the damages which will accrue to the employee for unlawful termination of his employment by the employer?

(a) Employment with statutory flavour

An employment with statutory flavour is an employment which is provided by an extant statute. Civil servants fall under this category. The law is settled that where the employment of an employee with statutory flavour is terminated without recourse to the laid procedure in the relevant statute or statutes as the case may be, the court would order that the employee be reinstated.

The employer in such a case is liable to pay the employee all outstanding salaries and allowances during the entire period which his employment was unlawfully terminated.

(b) Employment by contract

Unlike an employment with statutory flavour, where the employment of an employee by contract is unlawfully terminated, the employer is liable to pay only what he would have paid had the employment of the employee been properly terminated.

The employee is not entitled to reinstatement because the court cannot force an employee on an unwilling employer and vice versa. This means if for instance the employee’s terms of employment stipulates that the employee is entitled to pension, gratuity and 3 months’ notice for termination of his employment, upon the court arriving at a decision that the termination of the employee’s employment is unlawful, it can only order the employer to pay the employee his pension, gratuity and 3 months’ salary in lieu of notice and nothing else.

(c) Employment at will

An employer under common law has the right to hire and fire. An employee at the will of the employer can be summarily dismissed with or without reason. However, if an employee’s employment is terminated on allegation of crime, a competent court must hold the employee guilty of the crime; otherwise the termination of the employee’s employment on allegation of crime is unlawful.

Can a Nigerian court grant damages for psychological, emotional pain and distress claims for unlawful termination of contract of employment?

Unlike in the UK and other commonwealth jurisdictions, a Nigerian court would not grant damages for psychological, emotional pain and distress claims of an employee for unlawful termination of his contract of employment by the employer.