The Australian Fair Work Commission (“FWC”) extended the duration of certain provisions entitling employees to 2 weeks of unpaid ‘pandemic leave', thereby facilitating employees and employers to reach an agreement for the employee taking twice as much the annual leave at half pay till March 29, 2021. The benefit under these can be availed by any employer/employee covered by the award (regardless of the qualification of Job Keeper subsidies).
These provisions in the Clerks Awards will allow employees working from home, to work ordinary hours over a greater span than usually applies in the Award. Furthermore, an employer can agree with permanent employees to temporarily reduce ordinary hours of work for the employees by 25% if at least 75% of the employees agree.
The employers will have to modify the employment policies to enable the employees to take more annual leaves at half the pay due to the pandemic till March 29, 2021.
Federal Budget 2020-21 has brought some key taxation reforms. Following are the highlights:
Note - As part of the 2018/19 budget, the Government had announced a 7-year personal income tax plan to lower taxes for individuals. This year the Government has announced that it will bring forward the second stage of the income tax plan from July 1, 2022, to July 1, 2020. The third stage of the income tax plan remains the same and will commence as planned in 2024/25.
Employee taxes will change considerably, and payroll will need to be adjusted accordingly to withhold the proper amount of taxes.
As a part of Brazil’s tax reforms, a new indirect tax CBS (Contribuição Social sobre Operações com Bens e Serviços i.e. Social Contribution on Operations with Goods and Services) is proposed to replace the social integration program (“PIS”) and the social security financing (“COFINS”) in Brazil.
The proposed tax rate will be at 12% and will be a part of replacing the current complex indirect tax system in Brazil.
The new tax will likely simplify extremely complex tax structures in Brazil (when implemented)
Recently, the Brazilian General Law on Protection of Personal Data (Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados i.e. LGPD) has been made effective. However, the administrative sanctions under the law will be in force from August 1, 2021.
Brazil’s LGPD law is modeled after the European Union’s (“EU”) General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”). Brazil’s general law on the protection of personal data (“LGPD”) is as follows:
Due to the implementation of LGPD, the data controller is required to have an adequate security process for protection of personal data of data subjects along with other additional compliances under LGPD like the appointment of Data Protection Officer (“DPO”), such as obtaining explicit consent, etc.
The Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) has announced that all employers are required to comply with additional T4 Slip (Statement of Remuneration Paid) reporting requirements for the tax year 2020 to help the CRA validate payments under the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”), Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (“CEWS”) and Canada Emergency Student Benefit (“CESB”).
For the tax year 2020, in addition to reporting employment income in Box 14 or Code 71, employers are required to use new other information codes when reporting employment income and retroactive payments in the following periods:
Eligibility criteria for the CERB, CEWS, and CESB is based on employment income for a defined period.
However, if the employer has already filed a T4 slip and summary for the year 2020 then there is no requirement to refile the T4 Slips.
There will be an additional reporting requirement for all employers, which needs to be completed by the specified dates.
Updated social security rates and thresholds for 2021 will be as under -
All employers will need to adjust the payroll of employees to reflect these changes.
As per the decision of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (“OPC”), under Canada’s data protection law, i.e. Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”), a separate express consent of data subject is not required when an organization is transferring the personal information outside Canada (i.e. Cross-Border data transfer).
However, any organization using a third-party service provider (“outside Canada”) shall:
Though express consent is not required for cross border data transfer, it is recommended that the company obtains the express consent of the data subject for a cross border data transfer.
Last year, British Columbia (“B.C.”) introduced the “Transparency Register” of Significant Individuals of a company which is incorporated under the Business Corporations Act (British Columbia) (“BCBCA”). British Columbia (“B.C.”) has made it effective for maintaining a register for all private companies effective October 1, 2020. However, wholly owned subsidiaries of reporting issuers (or reporting issuer equivalents) are exempted from the transparency register requirement.
The significant individual refers to those individuals, who owns (directly or indirectly) or has a beneficial interest in 25% or more of issued shares of the company or carry 25% or more of the rights to vote at the general meeting of the Company, or an individual who has the right (directly or indirectly) or the ability to exercise direct and significant influence on individual who has right to elect, appoint or remove one or more of the company’s directors. Companies must also include in their transparency registers individuals along with their spouses, parents, children, and other relatives who share the same home, and whose combined interests exceed the thresholds.
Each company has to keep the following information about each significant individual:
A private company must send notice to individuals within 10 days after their entry in the transparency register or they will cease to be a significant individual.
The transparency register must be updated within 30 days of receiving new or different information. The transparency register will be open to directors, regulatory authorities, and specific inspecting officials but not to the public. A private company must keep its transparency register at its records office. There is no requirement to file the transparency register with the government.
Companies will need to identify the significant individuals, obtain and record the necessary information.
The companies will have to update the register as required, within the specified timelines.
Under the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000, the general minimum wage has been increased to CAD 14.25 per hour from the previous CAD 14 per hour effective October 1, 2020, to September 30, 2021.
The Canada Revenue Agency (“CRA”) has raised the amount from CAD 17 to CAD 23 which an employer can use for determining whether the overtime meal or allowance or meal portion of a travel allowance is taxable.
CRA has also increased the rate from CAD 17 to CAD 23 per meal for transport employees and other individuals who can claim meal expenses using a simplified method i.e. a flat rate per person.
Both will be effective immediately and retroactive from January 1, 2020.
The increase in the taxable amount will affect the reporting of the meal or allowance on the employee’s T4 slip by the employers, subject to conditions being met.
From November 1, 2020, funds for social insurance in Shanghai (and another 15 provinces including Beijing) will be collected by the Tax Bureau and not by the social bureau. Note, this only affects those companies with their own social insurance accounts, and have the funds deducted from their bank. If the client does not have its own social insurance accounts and instead uses the CIIC social insurance account, then this change will not impact the current process for which payment is made to CIIC.
Under the new process:
A new “initial” two-step process is required to set up for funds to be deducted from the local bank account
Once the above-mentioned steps are completed, the funds will be approved to be drawn from the local bank account.
Effectively, this means social insurance will now be collected by the tax bureau instead of the social insurance bureau. To avoid any non-compliance and to have a smooth process of social insurance payments, the employer needs to consider the above-mentioned changes and modify its practices accordingly.
The Czech DPA imposed the highest ever fine of CZK 6 Million (approx. EUR 250,000) on a car dealer for repeated distribution of unrequested commercial communication. Advertisement e-mails were sent by the used car dealer to almost 500,000 recipients without obtaining proper consent.
The French Data Protection Agency (“FDPA”) has published a "Recommendation" document and Guidelines concerning the use of tracking technology to be implemented and followed by every website editor.
The user has the right to be notified, according to the published guidelines, of the use of any tracking technology used by the website editor, with the option of either denying or approving the use of this tracking technology.
If the user continues to browse without choosing the option of either acceptance or rejection, as outlined above, this will be considered as deemed rejection from the user for using the tracking technology.
The website editor needs to retain the records of the user’s choices for six months as recommended by the guidelines. Websites' editors should implement the “Good Practice” guidelines by March 2021.
Considering the Good Practice guidelines issued by FDPA, the website editors need to modify or alter their tracking technology to be in keeping with the published recommendations (i.e. tracking will only be allowed if the user accepts it and not if the user denies or even when the user does not take any action). Further, the website editor also needs to make sure that a proper system is in place for the recommended storage of the user’s choice.
The French government has published the Social Security Financing Bill (“The Bill”) for 2021 on September 29, 2020, for discussion in parliament. The same is expected to be approved by the parliament in December 2020.
The Bill has the below-highlighted measures:
The bill is still in the process of discussion. Once effective, employers need to consider the changes made and amend the relevant policies of the company.
On September 7, 2020, the German data protection supervisory authority for Baden-Wuerttemberg (“DPA-BW”) issued new guidelines post the Schrems II judgment for the transfer of data to third countries. Following are the few recommended guidelines by Baden-Wuerttemberg (“DPA-BW”):
All companies processing or transferring data out of Germany will need to inform the data subject of the specific transfer mechanism employed.
Pending final approval from the German Federal Council, the maximum annual income base for the calculation of social security will be changed. Following are the changes in the draft ordinance:
The changes will apply from January 1, 2021.
All employers will need to adjust the payroll of employees to effect these changes.
On October 1, 2020, the Data Protection Authority of Hamburg (the “Hamburg DPA”) levied a fine of EUR 35.20 million for violation of data processing relating to the excessive monitoring of employees.
On September 22, 2020, the Indian parliament passed a bill to amend various sections of company law in India mainly focusing on easing compliance for law-abiding corporates, decriminalization of minor procedural offenses or technical lapses, and facilitating ease of doing business.
The bill amends 66 Sections of the Companies Act, 2013. The key amendments include:
Recently, the Indian Parliament has passed the 3 key labor reform bills. These include the Social Security code, 2020, the Industrial Relations Code, 2020, and the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020.
The Code on Social Security, 2020 replaces 9 laws related to social security (such as Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952, Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948, Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972, etc.) to extend social security to all employees and workers in organized or unorganized or in any other sector.
The Industrial Relations Code, 2020 replaces 3 laws viz., The Trade Unions Act, 1926, The Industrial Employment (Standing orders) Act, 1946, The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. The code is amended with an objective for quickly resolving disputes of the workers.
The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 replaces 13 laws such as The Factories Act, 1948, The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970, etc. The code seeks to regulate the health and safety conditions of workers in establishments with 10 or more workers, all mines and docks.
The above mentioned 3 codes will now go to the President for his assent to become a law. The key highlights of the codes are as follows:
The Code On Social Security, 2020
It has been made mandatory for all establishments with 20 or more workers to report the vacancy position in their establishments to such a career center as may be specified by notification. This information would be given on an online portal.
The Industrial Relations Code, 2020
The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020
All the new labor codes are likely to be implemented from April 1, 2021.
The change in labor laws will have a lot of effects mainly on manufacturing and low-income labor. However, there will be additional compliances/changes for all employers and the same needs to be analysed for each case to determine the changes in policies, remuneration, etc.
India has implemented the electronic invoice system under the Goods and Service Act for larger businesses on B2B transactions having an annual sales turnover of INR 500 Crore or more from October 1, 2020.
For medium-sized businesses with annual sales turnover of INR 100 Crore, it will be mandatory to issue electronic invoices from January 1, 2021. Lastly, all businesses shall have to follow the e-invoice system from April 1, 2021, onwards.
Businesses are required to be compliant with e-invoicing requirements for B2B transactions.
As per the Companies Act, 2013, every company shall have at least one director who stays in India for a total period of not less than 182 days during the financial year.
However, as per the general circular 36/2020, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (“MCA”) has relaxed the residency requirement for the director of a company for the financial year 2020-21. Non-compliance with the minimum residency requirement shall not be treated as non-compliance for the financial year 2020-21.
As per the recent update, there will be a further extension in due dates for furnishing of Income Tax Returns, as follows:
The Indian Finance Minister has announced the Atmanirbhar Bharat 3.0 (Part of COVID-19 Relief package). One of the measures in the package is to provide incentives for the creation of new employment in the COVID-19 recovery phase. The scheme will be operational until June 30, 2021.
The establishments registered with EPFO and those who have added new employees compared to reference base of employees as in September 2020 as under:
Here, establishments registering with EPFO after the commencement of the Scheme will also get subsidies for all new employees.
Under this scheme, the Central Government will provide the subsidy for two years in respect of newly eligible employees engaged on or after October 01, 2020, at the following scale:
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, employees are not in a position to travel anywhere in India to take advantage of the benefit of LTC/LTA. Therefore, recently, the Government has announced a scheme offering income tax exemption for LTC/LTA to non-Central Government employees without the need for them to travel subject to fulfillment of the following conditions –
The above measure is introduced to stimulate consumer spending and capital expenditures and to help the growth of the Gross Domestic Product (“GDP”).
This is very useful for saving tax for employees. This will involve additional work for the payroll teams in obtaining and verifying the documents from the employees but can save a significant amount of taxes for all employees.
Recently, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (“DPIIT”)) has announced its Consolidated FDI policy which is effective from October 15, 2020. For ease and convenience to foreign investors, DPIIT has compiled all the decisions that have been taken by the Government concerning FDI in the past three years. This policy supersedes all circulars/press notes/press releases issued by the DPIIT in the past.
Following are some of the key highlights of the Policy:
Earlier in 2020, India has made some changes in FDI Policy for curbing opportunistic takeovers/acquisitions of Indian companies due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. According to the note issued earlier this year, an entity of a country, which shares a land border with India or where the beneficial owner of investment into India is situated in or is a citizen of any such country, can invest only under the Government route. Further, a citizen of Pakistan or an entity incorporated in Pakistan can invest, only under the Government route, in sectors/activities other than defense, space, atomic energy, and sectors/activities prohibited for foreign investment.
In the event of the transfer of ownership of any existing or future FDI in an entity in India, directly or indirectly, resulting in the beneficial ownership falling within the restriction/purview of the above Para, such subsequent change in beneficial ownership will also require Government approval.
The above-mentioned restrictions are now included in the consolidated FDI policy.
100% FDI under automatic route is permitted in the marketplace model of e-commerce (i.e. providing an information technology platform by an e-commerce entity on a digital & electronic network to act as a facilitator between buyer and seller). FDI is not permitted in the inventory-based model of e-commerce (i.e. e-commerce activity where an inventory of goods and services is owned by an e-commerce entity and is sold to the consumers directly).
E-commerce marketplace entities with FDI shall have to obtain and maintain a report of statutory auditor by 30th of September every year for the preceding financial year confirming compliance with the e-commerce guidelines. This compliance requirement was first introduced in 2019.
Effective from September 1, 2020, Ireland has increased the unpaid parental leave. The leave will be increased from 22 weeks to 26 weeks per parent per child below the age of 12 years, or where the child is disabled and below 16 years of age.
Note that, a new parent or an individual acting in loco parentis can claim parental leave but the leave shall be taken in a consistent period or blocks of at least six weeks unless agreed otherwise.
The employers without having to bear any additional cost can grant employees parental leave from September 1, 2020. Accordingly, the employer will have to update and change the company policies, and employment contracts of the employees.
The Sick Leave and Parental Leave (COVID-19) Bill 2020, if passed, would give employees in Ireland the legal right to paid sick leave for the first time. It also proposes paid leave for employees whose children must stay at home from school due to COVID-19 measures.
Employees have no legal right to sick pay in Ireland. Some employers may decide to pay their employees during sick leave but, if they do, the duration and level of pay are at the employer's discretion.
The bill provides that after four weeks' service, employees will be entitled to sick pay for a continuous period of six weeks, or 30 days in any period of 12 months, for any day that they are incapable of working as a result of illness or injury. Sick pay will be paid at the same rate as annual leave. There is no waiting period set out in the bill, so employees would be entitled to sick pay from the first day of illness or injury.
Sick Leave and Parental Leave (COVID-19) Bill 2020, if passed will enable employees' right to paid sick leave. The employer will have to assess the changes which he will be required to make in employment agreements, company handbooks, payroll policies, etc. if the bill is passed.
The Italian data protection authority ('Garante') fined a private hospital a fine of EUR 80,000 on September 30, 2020, for violation of GDPR. Azienda Ospedaliera di Rilievo Nazionale 'Antonio Cardarelli', a private hospital, disclosed online personal data of candidates applying for a job there. It failed to provide adequate security even though the applications were managed by a company named Scanshare, it is the primary responsibility of the data controller to implement appropriate technical and organizational measures guaranteeing data security.
The Italian data protection authority on September 30, 2020, also Scanshare s.r.l. EUR 60,000. The company was outsourced with the job of handling candidates' online submissions (job applicants whose data privacy was breached).
There was a mistaken configuration for which this company was responsible as a result of which access to documents presented by other candidates, containing their personal data was easily allowed. In such a manner, the data of more than 2,000 candidates were exposed for a period of 25 days
Thus, both the hospital and Scanshare were fined for violations of GDPR Art. 5(1)(f) (principle of integrity and confidentiality) and GDPR Art. 32 (security of processing).
The Italian data protection authority on October 26, 2020, fined polyclinic 'Università Campus Bio-medico di Roma' EUR 20,000 for violating Articles 5(2)(a) and (f) and 9 of the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) ('GDPR'), as well as Article 75 of the Personal Data Protection Code. This fine was due to the incorrect integration of two IT systems. As a result, a breach of 39 patient medical records occurred through a smartphone, and another 74 patients had their reports and a list of medical exams were breached under GDPR provisions.
In Italy, Legislative Decree 231/2007 transposing the EU anti-money laundering directive mandates business entities such as commercial enterprises, limited liability companies, limited partnerships, joint-stock companies, etc. to file information regarding beneficial ownership (“UBO”) by March 15, 2021. For, newly entities incorporated, the information will be required to be filed within 30 days of the incorporation date.
The filing is required to be done by the directors or managers of the company, founder or administrators of trusts, etc.
The information to be filed is as under:
The information collected should be verified and it must contain the registered address of the organization, Italian tax code number, place of business, etc.
The filing information for the commercial entities should include the following:
The country has recently amended its Protection of Personal Information (“APPI”) Act on June 05, 2020. The amendments are expected to fully take effect in the last quarter of 2021 or the first half of 2022, the following are the highlights:
The UBO declaration in the Netherlands can now be submitted online via the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (“KVK”) website w.e.f. September 27, 2020, with the following link:
The declaration is to be submitted in 4 steps as follows:
Specific UBO details required for registration
The following information will be required for submitting the UBO declaration:
Specific UBO documents required for registration
The following documents will be required to be obtained from the UBO to provide proof of personal details:
The Dutch government published the Dutch budget proposals for the fiscal year 2021 and the final version of it is expected to be enacted by December 2020. Below are the highlights of what you can expect from the Netherlands budget 2021.
Corporate income tax rates
The Budget 2020 had postponed the reduction of the higher corporate income tax (“CIT”) rate to 2021. The budget for 2021 will continue with the top rate at 25%. However, the “basic rate” will be reduced to 15%. The threshold of the first bracket for the basic rate is increased from EUR 200,000 to EUR 245,000. The rate structure for 2021 (as against the rate structure for 2020) will be as follows
Wage and income tax
Personal income tax rates
The basic income tax rate on incomes of up to EUR 68,507 will be decreased from 37.35% to 37.10% in 2021.
The Netherlands plans to implement the EU VAT Directive on e-commerce by July 2021 simplifying VAT rules for distance selling of goods.
As per the Posted Workers in the European Union (Working Conditions) Act, all the employers (in the EU/EEA and Switzerland) having Non-Dutch Employees Working temporarily in the Netherlands were required to give notice in advance to the government.
The grace period for which was granted till September 1, 2020 ends, and from now on the following penalties will be levied in case of non-compliance:
The penalties may be imposed on both the foreign employer and the Dutch contracting party if they do not fully comply with the conditions of the Posted Workers in the European Union (Working Conditions) Act.
Failure to report about having Non-Dutch Employees working temporarily in the Netherlands will have penal consequences. The penalty which the organization will have to pay will be based on each employee’s non-reporting on time.
The Ministry of Manpower (“MOM”) has issued certain changes to be made to The Work Injury Compensation Act (“WICA”). The set of such key changes are effective from September 1, 2020, and includes:
The employers should familiarize themselves with the new changes and engage early with their WIC insurance providers.
The Ministry of Manpower (“MOM”) for promoting employment among locals has created stricter requirements for Employment Pass (“E Pass”) Holders and S Pass Holders, i.e. for foreigners in Singapore. The changes for E pass holders and S pass holders respectively include the following:
Employers planning to employ foreigners on E-pass/S-pass should be aware of these changes and revise their foreign employees hiring policy accordingly.
The Personal Data Protection (Amendment) Bill (“Bill”) was tabled in Parliament on October 5, 2020, for the first reading. The Bill is expected to be passed before the end of the year if not sooner. The employer must be ready to comply with the new requirement once the bill is passed as there .will be no buffer time for compliance
Some of the significant changes to PDPA include the following:
Employers should comply with the new changes to PDPA obligations once the changes become effective.
The Personal Data Protection Commission (“PDPC”) of Singapore on September 10, imposed a fine of SGD 20,000 on Civil Service Club (“CSC”) because of the failure to implement safety arrangements for the protection of personal data of its members.
The Royal decree-law 28/2020 on remote work was published in the Spanish Official Gazette (“BOE”) on September 22, 2020. The law will take effect 20 days from its publication in the BOE, that is, w.e.f. October 12, 2020.
The law aims at ameliorating the conditions of remote workers. The remote workers will now be granted the same rights as those who carry out their activities on the company's premises. It will be based on the employment agreement. The regular distance work is defined as “that which is provided in a reference period of three months, at a minimum of 30% of the working day or the equivalent proportional percentage depending on the duration of the employment contract.”
The law emphasizes the remote working agreement between the employer and the employee. The remote working agreement must be in writing. Companies with employees who are currently working remotely must formalize the remote working agreement by December 23, 2020 (i.e. three months from publication). The agreement must be of a “voluntary nature” and must state the beginning and the end of the working day, including the periods of activity to be carried out.
The employee and the employer will need to sign the distance working agreement. The working agreement should be:
The refusal of the worker to work remotely, the exercise of reversibility to face-to-face work and the difficulties for the adequate development of the telework activity, which are exclusively related to the change from a face-to-face service to another that includes work at a distance, will not be grounds for the termination of the employment relationship or the substantial modification of the working conditions.
Throughout the regulation, the role of collective bargaining is reinforced, with express referrals as important as the regulation of the exercise of reversibility (return to face-to-face work after agreeing to work remotely) by the parties, the right to disconnect, the identification of the jobs and functions that can be carried out through remote work, the conditions of access and development of work activity through this organizational model, a maximum duration of remote work, as well as additional content in the remote work agreement. It also discusses the main rights such as the right to payment, compensation for expenses, right to privacy and data protection, as well as the right to digital disconnection outside of working hours.
In addition, in cases where companies provide remote working options in exceptional situations such as health emergencies, the employer will be mandated to provide means, equipment, and tools, as well as maintenance costs to the remote workers. The same will be provided in the collective bargaining agreements.
The Spanish data protection authority ('AEPD') on October 9, 2020, fined “Centro de Investigación y Estudio para la Obesidad” with EUR 50,000 for unlawfully transferring the personal data of the claimant to Evo Finance EFC, SA, for processing of a medical insurance claim which allowed for the identification of the claimant. The medical treatment in question was never carried out. It was held that Centro de Investigación y Estudio para la Obesidad had violated Article 6 of the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) ('GDPR')
The Spanish data protection authority ('AEPD') issued, on October 6, 2020, to Lycamobile SL, a fine of EUR 60,000 for violating Article 6(1)(a) of the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) ('GDPR'). The company had carried out the processing of personal data without a legal basis. The personal data of prepaid phone card users was obtained without their consent for processing it.
The user data in the company's records did not match the actual data of the users/owners of the phone card.
The Spanish data protection authority ('AEPD') published, on September 22, 2020, fined GLP Instalaciones 86 SL with a fine of EUR 60,000 for violating Article 6(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) ('GDPR'). The claimant had contacted Naturgy Energy Group S.A. for air conditioning system installation when his personal data was collected during the call. After which he was contacted by two different companies calling themselves as Naturgy collaborators. One of which was GLP Instalaciones 86, and it was neither an authorized installer nor a Naturgy's collaborator. This violated the principle of the lawfulness of processing under GDPR, as the claimant's name, surname, telephone number, bank account details, and email, among other information, were processed without a valid legal basis.
The Spanish data protection authority fined “Vodafone España, S.A.U.” EUR 30,000 for the processing of personal data of a data subject without sufficient legal basis. There were errors in the correct assignment of customer contracts. In this case, Vodafone demanded a debt from a data subject. The company sent a bill of EUR 56.88, requesting the payment for a service contract carried out without the claimant’s consent. In fact, it was identified that the claimant had never activated such service, but the amount was charged as a result of incorrectly assigning the customer’s data.
The Spanish data protection authority ('AEPD') on October 21, 2020, fined Vodafone España, S.A.U. in another case for EUR 36,000 for a violation of Article 6(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) ('GDPR'). In particular, Vodafone processed the claimant's personal data illegitimately, as it was incorporated into the company's information system without obtaining prior consent for its collection and subsequent processing.
On September 21, 2020, the government submitted its budget bill to the Riksdag. Following are key highlights of the Budget bill:
The Swiss parliament approved paid paternity leaves of two weeks. The new fathers are now eligible for paid leave paternity starting January 1, 2021, financed by income compensation allowances (APG). The employee taking the leave will be eligible for up to 80% of their gross monthly pay up to CHF 196 per day.
The provision excludes leave for adoption and leave to the biological father of the child whose mother is married to another man.
An eligible person can take 10 days of paternity leave or less. An eligible person can take paternity leave either in the form of:
The total number of daily allowances is 14 whether the leave is taken in the form of isolated days or each block of five days. The paternity leave must be taken within six months of a child's birth.
The Federal council of Switzerland amended Ordinance 1 to the Employment Act. The following are the highlights of the amendment to be effective from November 1, 2020:
In a post-Brexit scenario, effective from January 1, 2021, UK VAT will be made applicable for the sale of goods by foreign taxable persons. United Kingdom (UK) has announced the new treatment for VAT applicability (i.e. equal treatment to both foreign and British taxable persons while selling goods to customers in the UK).
Foreign taxable persons (both EU and non-EU) will be required to have VAT registration and related obligations from January 1, 2021. However, Northern Ireland will have different rules and the above-mentioned changes will not become applicable as it will have separate measures.
UK Companies House has lifted the temporary suspension of voluntary strike-off action from September 10, 2020. Thus, the companies that have filed for a strike-off process before July 2020 will be struck off from the register in a phased manner over 4 weeks starting from September 10, 2020.
UK Companies who have applied to be struck off from July 2020 will have the voluntary strike-off process as normal after the initial 4-week period.
Additionally, the UK Companies House has initiated the compulsory strike-off process from October 10, 2020 for those companies which are no longer carrying on business or in operation.
UK businesses who have opted to defer VAT for the period between March 2020 and June 2020, now have an option to repay their deferred VAT payments in smaller and interest-free payments over 11 months instead of paying it in a lump sum payment by March 2021.
These smaller payments option is available by opting for a scheme and such VAT payments can be paid until the end of March 2022. Although, the UK businesses who can pay the deferred VAT in a lump sum can do so on or before March 31, 2021.
UK businesses now have extra time to repay their VAT dues for the specified period.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) of the UK has levied a fine of GBP 130,000 to Swansea company CPS Advisory Ltd for making unauthorized marketing calls to people regarding their pensions.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) of the UK has levied a fine of GBP 60,000 on Digital Growth Experts Limited for sending nuisance marketing texts during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) has levied a fine of GBP 20 million on British Airways due to its failure in the protection of personal and financial details of more than 400,000 customers. The airline company had insufficient technical and organizational measures to ensure information security which is required under EU’s GDPR.
The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) has issued a notice for levying a fine of GBP 18.4 million on Marriott International Inc. due to a cyber-incident that happened because of inadequate security measures and due diligence. The data breach incident has exposed the guest records globally including records related to the UK and European Economic Area (EEA) residents.
The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) has fined Reliance Advisory Limited for GBP 250,000 for sending nuisance calls over a period of 6 months starting from 2019. The fine was levied as the data subject’s consent has not been freely given, specific, or informed. It was regarded as a violation of regulation 21A of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 ('PECR') and under Section 55A of the Data Protection Act 1998.
The UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (“ICO”) has issued an enforcement notice and a monetary penalty of GBP 40,000 on Studio MG Limited for sending unlawful marketing emails to individuals without their permission.
Internal Revenue Services (“IRS”) has introduced several employer credits to support business owners during this unprecedented time of COVID 19. The IRS also has highlighted the eligibility criteria for these credits.
Following are the credits introduced to help the business owners:
This credit is for providing support to the business to help retain the employees on the payroll irrespective of its size including tax-exempt organizations. There are two exceptions to this:
The refundable tax credit is 50% up to USD 10,000 in wages paid. There are a few qualifying conditions for availing the credit:
Calculation of these measures will be done in each calendar quarter by the employer.
Employers can be immediately reimbursed for the credit by reducing their required deposits of payroll taxes that have been withheld from employees' wages by the amount of the credit.
All eligible employers are entitled to immediate receipt of the credit in the full amount of the required sick leave and family leave along with related health plan expenses and the employer's share of Medicare tax on the leave, from April 1, 2020, to December 31, 2020.
The eligible employer can use the credits introduced by the IRS to support the business during this current pandemic.
Employers are allowed to defer the payment of employer’s shares of Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes (6.2 percent) for the remaining year of 2020 (i.e. from March 27, 2020, to December 31, 2020) under the CARES Act. The deferred amount of Employer’s share of FICA taxes will be paid as follows:
The said relaxation shall help the employer to bring more liquidity to boost the business which is hampered by COVID-19.
California Governor Gavin Newsom signed SB 973 into law on September 30, 2020, which addresses pay inequities based on gender, race, and ethnicity. According to this law, an employer with 100 or more employees will be required to submit to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) a yearly report by no later than March 31, 2021 (for 2020 reports), and annually thereafter by March 31 every year. The data in this report shall be bifurcated into broadly defined job categories based on race, ethnicity, and sex, etc.
The retention period is of a minimum of 10 years for pay data reports and records.
In case of non-compliance with the above-mentioned reporting, DFEH is authorized to seek an order requiring the employer to comply and recover the costs associated with seeking the order.
Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill No. 1383, on September 17, 2020, which replaced the current California Family Rights Act (“CFRA”) and eradicated the California New Parent Leave Act, by merging it with a new CFRA. This Law will be effective on January 1, 2021. The important highlights of the New CFRA are given below:
Applicability to Employer
The new CFRA will apply to employers with five or more employees instead of the old threshold of 50 or more employees.
Under the current CFRA and the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”)—an employee is eligible for leave subject to fulfillment of below-mentioned conditions:
The new CFRA removed the "50 or more employees employed within 75 miles" requirement.
Addition of more Family members:
Under the current CFRA, an employee can take leave for serious health conditions, as well as the serious health condition of a spouse, registered domestic partner, parent, or child. The new CFRA adds the addition of grandparents, grandchildren, and siblings to the list.
The new CFRA also allows an employee to take leave to take care of a domestic partner's child and a child with a serious health condition, regardless of the child's age.
Expanded bonding leaves:
The new CFRA allows each parent who works for the same employer to take leave of 12 weeks each as baby-bonding leave, instead of sharing the leave period of 12 weeks between them under the current CFRA.
Protected family and medical leave increase to 24 weeks
Under the new CFRA employee is eligible to take 24 weeks of protected family medical leave, instead of just 12 weeks of leave under the current CFRA.
Employer needs to take all the necessary steps to be compliant under new CFRA before the new law takes effect.
Assembly Bill 3075 (“AB 3075”) which expands the scope of information to be included in the corporation’s statement of information to be filed with the California Secretary of State, was signed on September 30, 2020.
In the case of Limited Liability Company (LLC), the AB 3075 requires the LLC to include whether any member or manager, has an outstanding final judgment issued by the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement or court of law for a violation of any wage order or labor code in Corporations’ Statement of Information.
The employer shall take into consideration the new requirement of disclosing the additional information while filing the Corporation’s Statement of Information with the California Secretary of State.
California’s hourly minimum wages are to be increased as stated below effective from January 1, 2021.
Google faces USD 5 billion lawsuits. The lawsuit is filed in District Court of California, U.S.A for data privacy infringement. Google allegedly invaded the privacy of users by extensively tracking their internet use through browsers set in "private" mode.
In the year 2018, the schedule of year-wise minimum hourly wages was released. The schedule prescribed the minimum wages for the period ranging from 2018 to 2023 with the capping of USD 15 per hour for most employees.
The schedule of minimum wages is as follows:
Minimum hourly wages for the employees working in the state will rise to USD 12 (previously USD 11) per hour, effective January 1, 2021.
The minimum hourly wage for employees of a small employer or those engaged in seasonal work will increase to USD 11.10 from USD 10.30.
New Jersey Governor Signs Bill that Incorporates a 2.5% Corporate Surtax Through 2023
Instead of abolishing the surtax after December 31, 2021, as previously declared, A. 4721 (new law), signed by the governor on September 29, 2020, imposes the corporate surtax rate of 2.5% and extends the surtax through December 31, 2023, for corporations with net taxable income over USD 1 million for tax periods beginning on or after January 1, 2018, up to December 31, 2023.
The affected taxpayer shall analyze the provision regarding the extension given for the applicability of surtax prescribed in New Law A 4721 while assessing the Corporation Business Tax liability for the relevant years. The extension of the surtax is applicable until December 2023.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed into law amendments to the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (ESSTA) with the motive of aligning the Earned Safe and Sick Time Act (“ESSTA”) with New York State Sick Leave Law (“The NYS Law”) on September 28, 2020, effective from September 30, 2020. ESSTA amendments are listed below:
Here is a brief overview of the amendments to ESSTA:
As ESSTA amendments are effective from September 30, 2020, employers will need to update their policies and practices to ensure compliance with the above amendments to the law.
Juneteenth (June 19), a day which is remembered in honor of Black and African American Freedom and Achievements. The legislation was signed and the executive order is being issued by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to declare June 19th, as an Official Public Holiday in the state of New York.
Long Island & Westchester minimum wages will increase to USD 14 from USD 13 per hour and for the remainder of New York State minimum wages will increase to USD 12.50 from USD 11.80 per hour post-December 31, 2020.
Starting December 1, 2020, mandatory live reporting of withholding VAT and certified certificates are to be issued through the government's Electronic Withholding System (“SIRE”) system, which has replaced the Withholding Control System (“SICORE”)
Organizations will get extra time for changing their internal procedures, systems, etc. for incorporating changes as per the new government's Electronic Withholding System.
Argentina has set the minimum and maximum basis for social security contributions w.e.f. September 1, 2020. Accordingly, the monthly salary basis for employee social security contributions for September 2020 and December 2020 are ARS 6,105.79 (previously ARS 5,679.8) and ARS 198,435.52 (previously ARS 184,591) respectively. The minimum and maximum threshold sums apply to the employee portion of social security contributions, which consolidated amount to 17%.
The minimum and maximum social security contributions are increased which will lead to additional costs and thus the employer might have to revise the salary structure of the affected employees.
As per General Resolution 4839/2020 of October 22, 2020, of Argentina, depending upon the last digit of the tax ID code information on beneficial ownership must be reported to the Argentine tax administration (“AFIP”) between July 28 and 30 annually. The deadline for first reporting is extended from October 28-30, 2020 to December 14-16. Data to be reported by this deadline should contain the data for 2019 and also, data concerning foreign passive income companies for years for 2016, 2017, and 2018.
Legal entities who have not already reported their beneficial ownership information to the government will get a respite period for identification and reporting of Beneficial Ownership.
The Danish Data Protection Agency fined Gladsaxe and Hørsholm Municipalities in Denmark, fines of DKK 100,000 and DKK 50,000 respectively. In both cases, municipalities reported breaches of personal data security resulting from municipalities' computer theft. The stolen computers had personal data stored in them without pseudonymization or encryption of data.
The computer stolen from Gladsaxe Town Hall had personal information such as social security numbers from approximately 20,620 citizens while the computer was stolen from a Hørsholm Municipality employee also had information of sensitive nature of about 1,600 employees.
Russia plans to introduce amendments to the Tax Code. Russia Will Have a Progressive Scale of Taxation. The higher personal income tax rate will increase from 13% to 15% beginning January 1, 2021.
Russian residents are liable to a flat personal income tax rate at 13% on their total worldwide income. An increase in the tax rate, if the amendment is passed, will increase those taxpayer’s burden significantly who fall in the higher income category during the pandemic.
According to an order by the Mayor of Moscow all employers in Moscow, have at least 30% of their staff working remotely.
Whom is it applicable to?
This order applies to all hired staff (whether they work under an employment contract or civil law contract).
All employees above 65 years of age and those who suffer from one of the diseases specified in the list compiled by the Moscow Department of Health must mandatorily work remotely. Employees whose presence is critical to the functioning of the organization can remain in the workplace.
Is working in shifts allowed?
Employers can allow work in shifts. Each shift can have up to 70% of employees on the premises. In the case of a company having separate subdivisions not operating in Moscow, then the total number of employees should be considered for calculation (including only the employees located in Moscow).
New compliance requirements
The information w.r.t. “employees posted for working remotely” is required to be reported in the form “Appendix 4 to Order No. 12-?”, every week on Mondays, w.e.f. October 12. The reporting can be done through the individual entrepreneur/legal entity's online account on the government website.
Employers can upload their notification forms via their online account at mos.ru in the tab "Organization of business"- "Support for businesses”
What details are to be reported?
The following details must be specified in the notification:
The following information about the employees switched to remote work must also be reported:
These details must be provided in an Excel document whose template can be found on the mos.ru website.
For employers registered in Moscow, there will be additional compliance for reporting employees posted for working remotely.
Russian president, Vladimir Putin signed the amendments to tax law (“Federal Law No. 265-FZ”) benefiting IT companies on July 31, 2020. The “Amendments to Part Two of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation” will be effective from January 1, 2021.
Which industries will benefit?
A special tax regime for Russian IT companies has been introduced in order to help IT industries operating in the field of information technology:
Benefits to IT industries
The benefits available to the IT industries include:
(for ‘OPS or mandatory pension insurance premiums’ -6.0%, for ‘OSS or social insurance contribution’ on VnM -1.5% for compulsory medical insurance - 0.1%)
(amount paid to the federal budget will be 3% and 0% will be paid to the regional budget)
Further, the procedure VAT exemption to transactions has been revised for “the implementation of exclusive rights to programs” that are included in the "Unified Register of Programs for Electronic Computers and Databases".
Also, to receive benefits, there must be at least 7 employees on average in the organization for the reporting period. Further, a company is also required to procure a document on state accreditation of organizations operating in the field of information technology.
Criteria for availing the benefits
The companies must meet the following criteria to avail the benefits:
*for calculating the 90% threshold, certain income from “the assignment of debt claims” arising from certain incomes as provided in a specified list will be excluded.
Exclusion of benefits in certain cases
It is important to note that, the exceptions to the above as per clauses 26 p 2 of article 149NK includes the provisions of this sub-clause are inapplicable if the transferred rights are of:
The United Arab Emirates now mandates equal pay for women in the private sector. The law was approved by the UAE Cabinet in 2018 but has come into effect since September 25, 2020.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (“MoHRE”) will work along with the government for developing standards, procedures, and detailed requirements to properly implement this tangible public policy
Employers will have to review the pay scales, pay policies, and actual payroll of the employees to ensure pay parity.
In UAE, the Dubai International Financial Centre (“DIFC”) enacted Law No. 5 of 2020 on July 1, 2020, for organizations to follow global best practices regarding data protection and data privacy. The law will apply to companies’ w.e.f. October 1, 2020. The following are the highlights of the DIFC Data Protection Law No. 5 (the new law):
The organizations operating in DIFC or non-DIFC entities having a direct or indirect relationship with entities in DIFC concerning processing or handling of personal data will have to comply with additional compliances, reporting obligations, and updating of company policies.
Previously, in UAE, 100% foreign-owned companies were only allowed to operate within a free trade zone; this has now changed as follows:
UAE amends company law allowing 100% foreign ownership in onshore companies
The United Arab Emirates (“UAE”) has issued a new decree (Federal Decree-Law No. 26 of 2020) introducing significant amendments to the federal company law (UAE Commercial Companies Law No. 2 of 2015) which regulates legal entities outside the free trade zone areas (i.e. the entities established “onshore” in the UAE). The amendments overhaul the rules relating to foreign ownership of companies in the UAE. The decree was signed by the president of UAE on November 23, 2020.
Most of the amendments will be effective beginning December 1, 2020. However, certain changes will be implemented at a later date.
Companies will have a year to comply with the amendments from the effective date.
What has changed?
The following are some of the key amendments affecting onshore legal entities in UAE:
The decree removes the requirement, mandating that “onshore” companies have 51% shares held by a UAE shareholder. This requirement is still in place for those entities carrying activities with a “strategic impact”.
The requirement for the chairman and a majority of the Board of Directors of private and public joint-stock companies to be Emirati is also removed.
Branch offices/representative offices of a foreign entity are no longer required to appoint a UAE national in this role as the local service agent requirement has been removed.
This law repeals Decree-Law No. 19 of 2018 on Foreign Direct Investment (“FDI”) (issued to promote FDI in UAE) as there is no longer the requirement for 51% ownership by UAE nationals under company law.
Foreign investors can now form a single shareholder company, subject to it not undertaking strategic impact activities.
The prior notice calling for a general meeting has been changed from a minimum of 15 days to 21 days;
E-voting is now allowed at a general meeting;
Amendments pertaining to the ownership and operation of public joint-stock companies, increasing or decreasing public company share capital, issuing in-kind shares, etc. have also been introduced.
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