Preview of September Compliance Guide: Employer Regulations around the Globe

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They say that if you look like your passport picture you probably need the trip. Keeping tabs on employment regulations across the globe could certainly earn you a well-deserved vacation. As a trusted advisor, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. helps ease the burden of staying on top of the myriad of rules and regulations related to human resources and employee benefits, in the U.S. and abroad. Join us on a round-the-world tour of a number of unique employer regulations you may not be aware of today.

1. Steer towards a tax break in France.

In France, employers may be eligible for tax reduction if they provide bicycles to their employees for work commute. Employers may deduct from their corporate income tax the expenses generated by the provision of bicycles for their employees up to 25 percent of the purchase cost of each bicycle. If the amount of the reduction exceeds the amount of corporate income tax due, the balance cannot be carried over to the next tax year, nor subject to restitution. Employers may also grant a bicycle mileage allowance (Indemnité kilométrique vélo) of EUR 0.25 per kilometer, up to at EUR 200 per year exempt from social security contributions and income tax. The bicycle mileage allowance may be combined with existing home-to-work commute allowances or reimbursements when the cycling distance substitutes for kilometers of commute, or when the employee resides outside the perimeters of urban transport. Employers in France must subsidize 50 percent of the public transportation costs incurred by employees for routine travel to and from work. The subsidy applies to all public transit tickets for unlimited travel within a fixed period of time, such as weekly, monthly and annual public bus, metro and train passes. The subsidy also applies to public bicycle rental subscription memberships. The employer subsidy is exempt from social contributions and is tax exempt for employees and employers. Does your organization have the right French transportation benefit for the road?

2. Leave stress at the gate in Japan.

Companies in Japan with 50 or more employees are required to provide their employees with a stress check-up in order to determine the extent to which their jobs have caused any psychological burdens. General information about the overall results of the stress check-ups are provided to the employer in order to help identify – and correct – stress-causing practices in specific departments of the company. Particular attention is given to situations where employees are required to work long hours, and where employees tend to work on holidays and not take the full vacation time that is allotted to them. The stress check-up is conducted annually by physicians, public health nurses and other qualified medical professionals. If the physician conducting the check-up recommends changes in the work environment for the employee, the employer must take appropriate work- related measures. These might include a reduction in the number of working hours, posting the worker to a different assignment or workplace, or requiring an employee to take leave until he or she recuperates. Have your Japanese locations provided stress tests for their employees?

3. Take a closer look in the U.K.

In the United Kingdom, all employees who use computers are entitled to an employer-covered eye test and glasses (if necessary for work-related reasons) upon request. The regulations establishing this entitlement do not specify the extent of computer use that would exclude or qualify employees to be covered by the provisions of the regulations. An employee eligible for the eye test is defined as the “employee who habitually uses display screen equipment as a significant part of his normal work,” while the time that is considered a “significant part of the employee’s normal work” is not specified. Are your U.K. employees eligible for eye tests and glasses?

4. Not so fun in the sun in Saudi Arabia.

In Saudi Arabia, employers are prohibited from requiring their employees to work outdoors from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. during the hot summer months. The midday work ban typically covers the period from mid-June to mid-September and is officially announced each year. This restriction does not apply to employees in the oil and gas industries, or to employees that perform emergency maintenance and repairs. Employers must implement protective measures, including ensuring that the work is carried out in shaded and air- conditioned locations, and under the direction and supervision of the employer. Employees may not be required to work more than 8 hours per day, or more than 6 hours per day if the work ban falls during the month of Ramadan. The Ministry of Labor and Social Development conducts routine site visits; employers that violate the requirements are fined between 3,000 and 10,000 Saudi riyal per employee. In addition, employers may be subject to a 30-day closure of their businesses. Is your organization providing the correct shelter from heat in Saudi Arabia?

5. Take a break to give back in Poland.

In Poland, employers are required to provide employees with paid time off on the day of a blood donation, as well as the time needed to perform related medical tests (provided the tests cannot be completed outside of working hours) An employee going to a blood donation should inform the employer in advance of the cause and expected period of absence from work, if the time frame is known in advance. Argentina, Brazil, and Hungary have similar requirements. Is your organization required to provide time off for blood donations for any overseas employees?

 

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Compliance is a journey, not a destination. As a trusted advisor, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. has developed this Compliance Guide series to help you map a path through employee benefits compliance issues as part of an overall compliance plan. Employers should carefully evaluate their health and welfare plans to determine if they are in compliance with both federal and state law. If you have any questions about one or more of the compliance destinations listed above, or would like additional information on how Gallagher constantly monitors laws and regulations impacting employee benefits in order to support employers in their compliance efforts, please contact your Gallagher Benefit Services representative.


This is a preview of the September issue of the Compliance Guide and includes information from the GVISOR team of Gallagher’s Multinational Benefits and Human Resources Consulting practice. If you would like the full version of the Compliance Guide or would like additional information on how Gallagher constantly monitors laws and regulations impacting employee benefits and supports employers in their compliance efforts, please contact your Gallagher Benefit Services representative or click here to Contact Us via ajg.com.


GVISOR is a customizable online subscription service that tracks changes in local employee benefits regulations and trends. GVISOR includes Country Manuals, Compliance Alerts, and News articles. GVISOR covers retirement, death, disability, workers’ compensation, unemployment, maternity, medical, leave, holidays, employment conditions, termination, and incentives and perquisites. GVISOR covers 77 countries for Country Manuals and 55 countries for Compliance Alerts and News articles.


For more information, contact us at +1.202.299.9377 or stacy_hayashi@ajg.com.


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The intent of this analysis is to provide you with general information. It does not necessarily fully address all your organization’s specific issues. It should not be construed as, nor is it intended to provide, legal advice. Questions regarding specific issues should be addressed by your organization’s general counsel or an attorney who specializes in this practice area.