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Global Benefit Insights - October 2022


Austria Approves Cost of Living Payment

Employers in Austria can pay a tax-free cost of living bonus (“Teuerungsprämie”) of up to 2,000 EUR per employee per year for the 2022 and 2023 calendar years to help employees meet cost of living and inflation increases.

If this payment is made on the basis of a wage-forming regulation, the tax-free amount increases to 3,000 EUR per year. The cost-of-living bonus must be an additional payment that is not usually paid.

If combined with the recent “Mitarbeitergewinnbeteiligung”, the annual 3,000 EUR threshold applies to the total payment. However, if an employer has already paid a “Mitarbeitergewinnbeteiligung” in the 2022 calendar year, it can be subsequently converted into a “Teuerungsprämie” in 2022.


Proposal to Increase GST Rate Announced in the Maldives

On 14th September 2022, the government submitted a draft bill in the People’s Majlis (Parliament House) to increase the rate of Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The draft bill stipulates an increase in the standard rate of GST from 6% to 8%. The increase in the GST rate will come into effect from 1st January 2022, after approval. The proposal also requests an increase in tourism GST on goods and services from 12% to 14%.


The Government of Croatia Recently Passed New Legislation in Relation to Paternity Leave

Effective from 1st August 2022, new paid leave has been introduced.

The legislation introduces 10 working days of paid paternity leave per child to fathers or equivalent second parents, regardless of their marital or family status. The leave increases to 15 working days when the working parent has twins or multiple births.

This leave cannot be transferred to any other parent and may only be taken within 6 months from the birth of their child or the placement for adoption. This leave is provided regardless of the mother’s employment status. During paternity leave, second parents are entitled to their full salary paid by the Croatian government.


Lithuania Introduces Violence and Harassment Prevention Policy

From 1st November 2022, an employer with more than 50 employees must create their violence and harassment prevention policy, publish and implement it in the workplace.

Failure to do so can result in fines of 300 EUR to 1,450 EUR, for repeat offenders the fines are increased to between 1,400 EUR to 3,000 EUR. If a company deliberately ignores the requirement the penalty is between 2,700 EUR to 6,000 EUR.


Singapore Considers Fair Consideration Framework Rules

Changes to the FCF that apply to employment passes were granted from 1st September 2022.

In October 2020, the FCF rules were changed by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) so that job advertisements had to be published for 28 days, this has led to the increased processing times of the employment passes and companies losing out on candidates. This new ruling allows the minimum number of days required to advertise a role within Singapore to be reduced back to 14 days. Companies must still fairly consider all applications.

As well as the shortening of duration of advertising a job, MOM also announced the exemption of job advertising requirements under the FCF for Employment Pass applicants who earn a salary that places them among the top 10% of such pass holders. Thresholds for pay will apply, and current employment pass holders will be welcomed to apply for a personalised employment pass.

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