Government policies and proposals

Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Expression Now Prohibited in Ontario

By Kevin MacNeill

DiversityV.jpgToby's Act (Right to be Free from Discrimination and Harassment Because of Gender Identity or Gender Expression), 2012 was passed on June 13, 2012 and received Royal Assent on June 19, 2012, just days before the start of Pride Week in Toronto.

That Act amends the Ontario Human Rights Code ("Code") such that discrimination on the basis of gender identity or gender expression is now prohibited in services, goods, facilities, contracts, employment and vocational associations such as trade unions, trade or occupational associations or self-governing professions. Similarly, harassment in accommodation or employment on those grounds is now prohibited.

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Legislative Update for the Week of June 18, 2012

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgBill Would Make It Easier to Bring Employment Discrimination Class Action Suits
Legislation introduced in both the House and Senate would lower the bar for class action certification in employment discrimination cases, and effectively invalidate last year's Supreme Court decision in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes. Read the full post here. (June 21)

SEC Adopts Final Rule Requiring Listing Standards for Compensation
The Securities and Exchange Commission has adopted a final rule implementing Section 952 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, which directs national securities exchanges/associations (e.g., NYSE, NASDAQ) to establish listing standards for public company boards of directors and compensation advisers. Read the full post here. (June 21)

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Longer Leaves for Parents

As of 1 January 2012 the amount of leave available to employees in connection with parenthood increased. The supplementary maternity leave which a female employee may use after finishing the regular maternity leave (20-37 weeks based on the plurality of pregnancy) is currently 4 weeks in case of a single birth and 6 weeks in case of the birth of two or more children. The paternity leave available to an employee raising a baby has been extended too - it is 2 weeks now.

New Regulations Against Employing Illegal Immigrants

Sejm (the lower chamber of the Parliament) has adopted a bill on the consequences of employing foreigners who are staying illegally in the Republic of Poland. The act will enter into force once it is accepted by the Senate and signed by the President. It obligates the employers to demand from prospective foreign employees a confirmation of the right to stay in the country and sets forth penalties, also for legal entities, for employing illegal immigrants. At the same time it lays down provisions facilitating the pursuit of claims for unpaid remuneration by immigrants against employers.

Tags: Migration

Outstanding Vacation Leave May Be Granted Until the End of September

Outstanding vacation leave may be granted until the end of September. Previously it had to be granted until the end of March. Despite some discussions on whether this deadline applies already to 2011 vacation leave or only to vacation leave acquired in 2012, eventually the view has prevailed that vacation leave from 2011 is already covered by the new law. It should be noted that it is the employer's duty to grant leave during the year in which the employee has acquired the right to it, and only in particular cases listed in the Labour Code it is possible to deviate from this rule and defer the leave until the following year.

Tags: Vacation

Legislative Update for the Week of June 11, 2012

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgFLSA Bills Would Increase Minimum Wage, Strengthen Non-Retaliation Provisions, Preserve Companionship Exemption, and Create New Exemption
A number of bills were introduced in the House and Senate that seek to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act and prevent an FLSA-related regulation from moving forward. Read the full post here. (June 15)

Senate Committee Hears Testimony on Employment Nondiscrimination Act
On June 12 the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) held a hearing to discuss the merits of the bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), legislation that would create comprehensive employment anti-discrimination protections for individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Read the full post here. (June 12)

Image credit: JuDesigns

UK Employment Law Reforms - Latest Developments

By Madeleine Jephcott

Changes SignII.jpgIn the weeks since our previous review, in April, of recent and forthcoming legal changes affecting UK workplaces, the detail of some of the Government's reform plans has become a little clearer and some novel proposals have emerged.

The Queen's Speech

The Queen's Speech on 9 May 2012 heralded two bills that will overhaul significant aspects of employment law - the Children and Families Bill and the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.

The Children and Families Bill - not yet published - will include some of the reforms mooted in last year's Modern Workplaces consultation, although possibly not all of them. The Government's formal response to the consultation is expected shortly. The most significant proposals were:

  • A new system of flexible parental leave, designed to give parents more choice about sharing childcare responsibilities in the early stages of as child's life. In outline, the scheme is likely to entail the mother taking 18 weeks' leave at or around the birth, with the remainder of the current 52-week maternity leave period being reclassified as "parental leave" to be taken flexibly by either parent.
  • Extending the right to request flexible working to all workers who have been employed for 26 weeks, irrespective of the reason for the request. This would be based on the existing system for requesting flexible working for children/adult carers, retaining the current list of eight business reasons for employers turning down a request.
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Legislative Update for the Week of June 4, 2012

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgDOL Issues Updated Regulatory Retrospective Review Analysis
In response to an executive order aiming to improve regulation and regulatory review of rules that could potentially hinder job growth and creation, the Department of Labor released an updated Retrospective Review Progress Report that includes revised target completion dates for certain agency rulemaking efforts. Read the full post here. (June 6)

Paycheck Fairness Act Stalls in Senate
Supporters of the Paycheck Fairness Act failed to muster the votes needed to advance the bill to a final Senate vote. Read the full post here. (June 5)

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Legislative Update for the Week of May 28, 2012

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgSenate Bills Would Provide Greater Workplace Protections for Veterans
Senators Robert Casey (D-PA) and Mark Pryor (D-AR) introduced legislation that would increase reemployment and leave protections for veterans and returning members of the National Guard and Reserves. Read the full post here. (May 31)

NLRB Member Terence Flynn Resigns
National Labor Relations Board member Terence Flynn announced his resignation from the Board following allegations cited in an NLRB Inspector General report that he committed ethics violations while employed by the Board, but before he assumed his Board member position. Read the full post here. (May 29)

Image credit: JuDesigns

Legislative Update for the Week of May 21, 2012

Leg Roundup Image 132 by 140.jpgPaycheck Fairness Act Moves Forward
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) filed a motion that would allow the Senate to debate and vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 3220). A vote on this motion - which requires at least 60 votes to pass - is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5. Read the full post here. (May 25)

DOL Issues Guidance on the New Retirement Plan Participant Fee Disclosure Regulations
Field Assistance Bulletin 2012-02 provides additional guidance in the form of frequently asked questions on the new retirement plan participant fee disclosure regulations. Read the full post here. (May 25)

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