Labor laws in every country have anomalies that can catch employers off guard because they don’t seem to make sense—until you look beneath the surface. Three examples of this come from Italy, the Netherlands and Australia, from voluntary termination regulations in Italy to holiday entitlements in the Netherlands to surprise severance pay claims in Australia. Here’s a quick look at some fascinating features of these countries’ laws.
In Italy, workers who want to quit their job in the private sector must do so through an online portal run by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy with a unique identifier – otherwise the resignations may not be legally recognised. Why all the bureaucracy surrounding a termination? This requirement was enacted to address the problem of unscrupulous employers forcing job applicants to sign undated resignation letters, which must be kept with their employment contracts. A pre-signed letter on file would allow an employer to easily and cheaply fire an employee at any time. This practice particularly affected women, who sometimes became involuntarily “resigned” when they became pregnant. The Withdrawal Act originally came into force in 2007 but was deemed too cumbersome to implement and has evolved over the years from chronologically numbered paper forms that expired after fifteen days if not submitted, to a new secure online procedure in 2016 . Some courts have suggested that a termination that does not meet these requirements could still be considered valid, but only because the employee shows his willingness to give notice through his behavior, e.g. B. by taking unauthorized leave and not replying to the employer, and not only on the employer’s promise.
In the Netherlands, unused statutory leave expires six months after the year in which it was incurred, but additional leave days voluntarily granted by the employer do not expire after five years. Why should workers have more rights to days granted beyond the law? In the Netherlands, full-time employees are entitled to at least twenty days (four weeks) of paid vacation. Despite this, many employers grant extra days, so a total of 26 days, for example, is very common. When the law was amended to limit the annual accrual of vacation days, which used to apply for up to five years (to force employers to force their employees to take vacation time when it accrued first), lawmakers forgot to clarify what should happen on all non-statutory days. Employers can continue to limit the accrual of non-statutory vacation days in their employment contracts.
In Australia, employees with nine years’ service are entitled to sixteen weeks’ termination pay, but employees with ten years’ service or more are only entitled to twelve weeks. This doesn’t seem sensible, but it’s because of the redundancy test case Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) decision of 26 March 2004. The AIRC reasoned that the reduction in severance payments to ten years was justified as departing employees could also be paid their unused vacation at that time. give them an extra cushion when their employment ends. Some states now require employers to prorate accrued vacation time less than ten years ago, or even allow employees to use vacation time ten years earlier (e.g. Victoria at seven years), it appears to be the original one To have refuted the justification for the reduction in the severance payment at the ten-year limit.
The central theses
U.S. multinational employers with employees based outside of the United States may need to be particularly aware that there may be strange employment law entitlements or requirements in other countries that are not particularly intuitive. Employers should ensure they consider when to plan action to stay agile and compliant with ever-changing labor laws and their implications.