France amends meal voucher daily limit
The French government have introduced measures under Law No 2022-1158 and Decree No 2022-1266 to help employees address cost of living challenges.
One of these measures is to amend the taxation and limits on meal voucher schemes.
The maximum amount that employers can contribute tax-free to employees’ meal vouchers scheme has increased to €5.92 per working day, from 1 September 2022 until 31 December 2023 (up from €5.69).
For employees, the daily spending cap on meal vouchers also increased on 1 October 2022 to €25 (up from €19), and there is now more flexibility as to how to spend them.
Changes to Emiratization framework
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government recently introduced new amendments intended to increase the number of UAE nationals who are working in the private sector, by increasing quotas under its existing Emiratization framework.
By the end of 2025, private sector employers with at least fifty employees are required to increase their Emiratis population to 10% of the work force.
With effect from 1 January 2023 employers will need to increase their Emiratization quota from 2% to a 4%. Employers are then required to increase the Emiratis population by 2% each year until they reach the required 10%.
The amended Emiratization requirement applies to all private sector employers registered with the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MHRE) with at least fifty employees. The requirement does not apply to companies located in free trade zones.
The requirements apply to skilled positions such as managers, business executives, professionals, and technicians in scientific, technical, and human fields, writing professionals, or service and sales occupations. They must have a post-secondary degree or certificate and earn a minimum salary of AED 4,000 per month.
UAE nationals hired prior to September 2021 will not count toward the new Emiratization quota requirement.
Non-compliant businesses will be subject to fines of AED 6,000 per month for each Emirati employee that the business has failed to hire to meet the quota requirements. Failure to pay fines at the beginning of the following year will result in the MHRE’s refusal to issue or review employees’ work permits and there will also be an annual increase in the fine of AED 1,000 per failed hire until full payment of the fines and compliance with Emiratization quotas are achieved.
Germany introduces measure to assist with cost of living
A new law has passed to allow employers in Germany to pay a bonus up to €3,000 to help with the impact of rising inflation.
From 26 October 2022, employers can provide a tax-free bonus to their employees should they wish to assist with the increased cost of living. The bonus would be an efficient way of providing employees with a salary increase that is not subject to any payroll withholdings.
China introduces tax-efficient private pension scheme
Detailed plans have been issued setting out the guidelines for implementing a private pension scheme in China.
The plan was issued by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the Ministry of Finance, the State Taxation Administration, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, and the China Securities Regulatory Commission.
Employees who currently pay into the basic state provision for pension will be eligible to enrol into the private pension fund. Contributions can be made annually up to CNY 12,000 yuan (about $1,653) and will be used to purchase low-risk or long-term investments.
The private scheme will complement the current state pension provision, to try and relieve pressure due to the aging population.
Mexican pension reform
Although proposed in 2020, from January 2023 the state pension reform will commence.
The contributions to the AFORE schemes will increase from 6.5% to 15% by 2030. The AFORE is made up of three contributions that currently total 6.5% of the base salary. The employer contributes 5.15%, the federal government 0.225%. and each employee contributes 1.125%.
The employer contribution is made up of 2% for retirement and 3.15% of the contribution base salary for unemployment in advanced age and old age, to total 5.15%. The increase will be gradual, increasing in steps until employers are contributing 11.875%.
India issues circular relating to medical insurance for new-borns
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India issued Circular No. 30/IRDAI/HLT/GEN/ministry/2022-23 directing insurers to provide insurance coverage for infants born with disorders from day one under health insurance policies.
The Circular is a reiteration to providers of the original rule that came into force in July 2022, and stipulates that insurers should provide coverage to babies born with genetic disorders, and internal congenital diseases and disorders, from the day they are born. Insurers should comply with the provisions without any deviation and without delay.