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Global benefits insights - March 2023

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Switzerland

Introduces paid adoption leave

The Swiss government has passed amendments granting ten working days of government-paid adoption leave to employees who adopt children under the age of four.

Adoptive parents who adopt a child under the age of four will be entitled to 2 weeks of paid adoption leave. Only those that meet the requirements for an adoption allowance are also entitled to adoption leave. Employees must be employed or self-employed with a minimum of 9 months of qualifying insurance into the social security regime, immediately preceding the date the child is placed into their home. The parent must also have been in paid work for at least 5 of those 9 months.

Employees who adopt their stepchildren are not eligible for adoption leave. Employees who adopt multiple children at the same time are entitled to only one adoption leave allowance.

Couples adopting a child jointly may share the adoption leave, however they cannot take the leave together. To be entitled to the adoptive leave, each adoptive parent must meet the eligibility criteria.

The adoption allowance

Unless otherwise agreed by the employer, or specified in their employment contracts, employees are not entitled to their salary during their adoption leave. They will instead be entitled to adoption allowance payable by the government, which is 80% of their average, earned income, up to a cap of CHF 196 per day. The allowance is calculated separately for each parent based on their respective income. If the employer pays the adoption leave allowance to an employee, the employer will be entitled to claim the adoption allowance payable by the state.

Source: leglobal.law 

Malaysia

Issues Employment Act amendments

From January 2023, employees earning above MYR 4,000 per month are excluded from certain sections of the Employment (Amendment) Act 2022.

The Malaysian government has confirmed in their FAQs that employees earning over MYR 4,000 per month are not entitled to:

Employers are obligated to enrol any new hires aged 18-54 who join after 1st March 2023 within three months of their start date. Employees can opt out at a later date.

  • Section 60(3) - Overtime rates for employees working on rest days
  • Section 60A(3) - Overtime rates outside working hours
  • Section 60C(2A) - Allowance for shift-based work
  • Section 60D(3) - Overtime on public holidays
  • Section 60D(4) - Overtime for half working days on holidays
  • Section 60J - Termination, lay-off, retirement benefits

Source: mohr.gov.my / altHRblog.com

Singapore

Increases paternity and infant care leave

Announced in the 2023 budget, the government in Singapore is increasing paternity and unpaid leave entitlement.

From 1st January 2024, fathers will be entitled to 4 weeks of government-paid paternity leave for children born on or after 1st January 2024, depending on their employers, an increase on the 2 weeks that are currently provided. To allow employers time to adjust, the leave will be voluntary until the government issues a mandate, however, employers will be reimbursed if they grant the additional 2 weeks. 

For parents with children aged 2 and under, the unpaid infant care leave entitlement is also increasing from 6 days to 12 days per year, per parent from the 1st January 2024.

Source: mof.gov.sg / straitstimes.com 

El Salvador

Introduces mandatory childcare provision

Global benefit insights 5 Applicable for employers in the public sector - and those with over 100 employees in the private sector - by June 2024, employers must provide Early Childhood Care Centres (CAPI).

Although the law is effective from 1st January 2023, private sector employers with workforces that exceed 100 people have 18 months to ensure that they are compliant. Early Childhood Care Centres must be provided for children aged 45 days to 4 years of age.

The regulations state:

  • Day care facilities must be provided using company-owned CAPI (single or multiple employers), private providers or free public childcare services.
  • The employers’ costs of setting up and running the CAPI will be tax deductible.
  • Employees who do not use their employer’s day care facilities will not be entitled to have their expenses reimbursed by their employer.

This law replaces the earlier day care mandate that was not implemented due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: bdsasesores.com / ariaslaw.com 

Belgium

Collective agreement increases bicycle allowance

The bicycle allowance is included in a National Labour Council’s supplementary collective (CCT 164) bargaining agreement (CBA) (French), signed in January 2023.

From 1 May 2023, private sector employers in Belgium must pay an increased bicycle allowance of €0.27 per kilometre (km) to employees who regularly commute to work by bicycle, or who use an electrically powered motorized bicycle or speed pedelec. Employers are required to pay up to 40km per day (20km to and 20km from work). This amount is free from any social or tax obligations.

Source: propay.be

India

IRDAI issues mandate to General Insurers

The IRDAI has issued instructions for insurers to provide coverage for people with disabilities (PWD), those affected by HIV/AIDS and mental illness issued in India.

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has issued Circular No. Ref No: IRDAI/HLT/CIR/MISC/58/2/2023 which stipulates all general insurers (with the exception of ECGC and AIC) and health insurers have to provide specific products for persons with disabilities (PWD), persons afflicted with HIV and AIDS and those with mental illness.

The following are the key guidelines issued by IRDAI:

  • The insurers are directed to put in place a Board approved underwriting policy, that ensures that no proposal is denied for the reason of disabilities (PWD), HIV/AIDS or mental illness.
  • Insurers to determine the price of the product in line with the IRDAI (Health Insurance) Regulations, 2016 (HIR, 2016) and any guidelines or circulars that were made in response.
  • This product will have a 1-year policy life that can be renewed as per the regulatory framework.

The Circular is effective immediately.

Source: enterslice.com

Zambia

Announces changes to maximum pension contributions

On 1st January 2023, the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) in Zambia set the earning ceiling used to calculate the state pension to ZMW 26,840 per month.

Both the employee and employer contribute a total of 10% into the scheme. The maximum contribution per month for an employer and the employee is set at 5% (ZMW 1,342) each. This means that the maximum total contribution for both the employer and employee for 2023 is set at ZMW 2,684.

Source: sagecity.com

Hungary

Changes to the labour code

Effective from 1st January 2023, the Hungarian government passed legislation to introduce parental and carer’s leave entitlements, as well as doubling the number of paternity leave days and introducing a right to request flexible work arrangements.

Key details of the legislation states:

Paternity leave

Fathers were previously entitled to 5 days of paternity leave but are now entitled to 10 working days of employer-paid paternity leave, upon the birth or the adoption of a child. Leave must be taken within 2 months of birth or adoption and may be divided into two instalments. Employees are paid their full salary during the first 5 working days and then 40% of their salary during the remaining 5 working days.

Parental leave

Following 1 year of service, each working parent is now entitled to 44 working days of employer-paid parental leave that can be utilised until the child turns 3. During parental leave, employees are entitled to 10% of their average salary. The payment can be offset by other social security benefits available to parents, such as the childcare allowance.

Carer’s leave

Employees may request carer’s leave for a maximum of 5 working days per calendar year to care for seriously ill family members and persons living in their households. This leave is unpaid. Employees can divide the carer’s leave into 2 instalments if needed.

Flexible work arrangements

Employees with at least 6 months of service may request flexible working arrangements. This includes their place of work, hours of work, and part-time work. The employee must submit a request in writing with their start date specified, the employer then has up to 15 days to consider the request and provide a written response. Any refusal must be given in writing. If the employer doesn’t respond within 15 days or doesn’t provide a justified refusal in writing, the labour court can amend the employee’s contract of employment.

Source: vgd.hr / jogtar.hu

Minimum Wage Increases

The following minimum wages have been announced for 2023:

Argentina

The monthly minimum wage increased to AR$69,500 from 1st March 2023. This has been a staggered application of a 20% increase that started in December 2022 from AR$ 57,900.1

South Africa

The minimum hourly wage for regular employees, farm workers and domestic workers increased on 1st March to ZAR 25.42 per hour (up from ZAR 23.19). There is no longer any difference between the
minimum wages for general workers, farm workers and domestic workers.

Source: casarosada.gob.ar 1gov.za 2


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