Links Onboard – Latest APAC Tax, Payroll & Labour Law Updates
Below is the most recent edition of Links’ Labour Law Insider, a quarterly publication. This legislative update encompasses significant developments in taxation, labour laws, payroll, and visa matters across Asia. Its purpose is to provide you with a quick and comprehensive update.
- Launch of the Enhanced Labour Scheme Set
- Enhancement of Legal Advice Scheme
- Islands Healthcare Complex Professionals To Be Hired Under Private Labour Laws
- Employers to Face Higher Severance, Unfair Termination Damages and Social Insurance Costs
- Notice on Raising the Standard of Special Additional Deduction for Individual Income Tax
- Announcement of the Extension of Preferential Tax Treatment for Equity Incentives
- Announcement of the Extension of Preferential Tax Treatment for Expatriates
- Announcement of the Extension of Preferential Tax Treatment for One-Time Annual Bonus
- Majulah Package Announced at National Day Rally – Aimed at Boosting the Retirement Adequacy of Lower and Middle-Income Earners in Singapore
- 6-Year Progressive Wage Model Accepted for Truck Drivers in Singapore
- Singapore Government Accepts Tripartite Committee’s Final Recommendations for Workplace Fairness Legislation
- Singapore’s Inclusion of Two New Professions in Non-Traditional Source Occupation List
- Employers Required to Provide Proof of Accommodation for New Non-Malaysian Work Permit Holders Before They Enter Singapore with their Work Permits
- E-Wallet Credit for Employees Earning Less than RM100,000 Annually
- Employers Reminded to Pay Salaries via Bank Account
- Updated Income Tax Rates (Resident) as of July 2023, Non-Resident Tax Rate Remains at 30%
- Updated Requirements for Employing Foreign Workers in Vietnam
- The Royal Government Raises Allowance for Mothers and Children
- Golden Visa Launched to Attract Investors
- Indonesia Releases List of 2024 Public Holidays
- Dearness Allowance hike: DA Rates Revised for Central Government Employees from 1 July 2023
- G-20 Summit in Delhi: Delhi Government Declares Public Holidays on September 8-10
- No Income Tax Imposed on Employees Earning Up to Rs.7.27 lakh Per Annum
- 8.15% Interest Rate on Deposits Under the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme for 2022-2023
- Tamil Nadu Changes Public Holiday Date for Vinayagar Chaturthi
- Minimum Wage Hike in Metro Manila
- Minimum Wage Hike in Calabarzon Region
- Department of Migrant Workers Can Sue Employers Who Abuse Filipino Workers Abroad
- Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) For Rehires to be Issued For Free
- Regional Restrictions to be Imposed on E-9 Visa Holders
- South Korea to Enjoy a 6-day Chuseok Holiday in 2023
- South Korea’s 2024 Livelihood Benefit Support Standard Will be Raised by 13.16%
- Changes to Workplace with Lesser than 50 Employees
- Amendments to Combat Power-Based Sexual Harassment Approved
- Budget of NT$2.8818 trillion For 2024 Approved
- Modification of Basic Monthly Salary and Hourly Wages From 1 January 2024
- Minimum Wage Hikes in 24 Prefectures
- Japan to Fund Organisations That Offer Parental Leave
- Changes to Workplace Relations
- Changes to Fixed Term Employee Contracts From 6 December 2023
- Announcement on Authorised Employee Deductions From 30 December 2023
- New Zealand to Provide Better Experience with Changes to Accredited Employers Programme
- New Zealand’s Wage Theft Part of the Criminal Legislation
Launch of the Enhanced Labour Scheme Set
Starting 4 September 2023, the Hong Kong Labour Department will accept applications under Enhanced Supplementary Labour Scheme (ESLS) to tackle manpower shortages across various sectors.
For employers facing challenges in recruiting local talent, ESLS offers the option to import workers, with a requirement of conducting a 4-week local recruitment effort for each application. Concurrently, the Labour Department will actively match job vacancies with local job-seekers as referral to the employers for interviews. After the recruitment exercise, the department will conduct a comprehensive review to approve or decline each application.
Upon approval, employers must ensure each imported worker attends an employment rights briefing within 8 weeks of arriving in Hong Kong.
To assist employers, the department will organise five ESLS briefings for employers in September 2023 to explain the points to note and the flow of application, as well as answer questions on the spot.
Enhancement of Legal Advice Scheme
As of 4 September 2023, significant improvements have been implemented in the Legal Advice Scheme designed for individuals representing themselves in civil procedure cases. In an effort to expand access to these services and assist a broader range of individuals, the scheme will no longer impose the previous income eligibility restriction, which had limited access to those with a monthly income not exceeding HK$50,000 or an annual income of HK$600,000.
Looking to streamline your HR administration and payroll in HK? Contact our professional payroll team now!
Islands Healthcare Complex Professionals To Be Hired Under Private Labour Laws
The legislative assembly has approved a bill designed specifically for the upcoming Islands Healthcare Complex in Cotai. Under this new law, the employment of staff at the public-private partnership hospital will follow the labor laws applicable to the private sector in the city rather than the government’s employment system. This change is aimed at enhancing flexibility in recruiting highly skilled medical professionals.
The law will be effective from October 1st 2023.
Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao, responsible for overseeing the hospital’s operations, noted that the government plans to employ 400 healthcare professionals for the initial phase of the Islands hospital. While local hiring will be a priority, the city’s talent shortage may necessitate hiring non-residents.
Need help with your Macau payroll? Contact our team now!
Employers to Face Higher Severance, Unfair Termination Damages and Social Insurance Costs
The average monthly compensation figures in several major cities have risen, impacting employers with increased costs for severance payments, unfair dismissal claims, and social insurance contributions. These figures serve as benchmarks, capping severance obligations at 300% of the local average monthly compensation and influencing unfair dismissal damages, usually set at 200% of statutory severance. The implementation dates vary between each city – for example, Chengdu revised its compensation figures back in May 2023, while Shanghai only implemented an increase in July 2023.
Notice on Raising the Standard of Special Additional Deduction for Individual Income Tax
As of 1 January 2023:
- The threshold for special additional deductions in individual income tax (IIT) for taking care of children under 3 years and children’s education will be raised from 1,000 yuan to 2,000 yuan monthly.
- 3,000 yuan for taking care of the elderly will be deducted every month which 1,000 yuan higher than previous standards.
Announcement of the Extension of Preferential Tax Treatment for Equity Incentives
Equity incentives include the below items, which if obtained by a China tax resident and satisfies the relevant criteria, shall not be included in comprehensive income to tax computation for the current year.
- Stock options
- Stock appreciation rights
- Restrictive stocks, and
- Equity rewards
Equity incentives individual income tax (IIT) shall be computed separately on the annual accumulative amount by applying the comprehensive income tax rate table. Such preferential tax treatment will be extended until 31 December 2027.
Announcement of the Extension of Preferential Tax Treatment for Expatriates
For foreigners considered a China tax resident during the tax year, the Announcement officially extended the preferential individual income tax (IIT) policy on foreigners’ fringe benefits as per the list below, which was set to expire on 31 December 2023 but is extended for another four years to 31 December 2027.
- Housing rental expenses
- Education expenses for children
- Language training expenses
- Meal fee
- Laundry fee
- Relocation expenses
- Business travel expenses
- Home leave expenses
Announcement of the Extension of Preferential Tax Treatment for One-Time Annual Bonus
China will extend the preferential tax treatment for the annual one-time bonus until 31 December 2027.
Under this scheme, for any tax resident in China, the individual income tax (IIT) on one-time annual bonuses can be calculated separately, rather than combined and taxed with the comprehensive income.
Are you expanding your business into China? Learn more about how our professional HR team can help!
Majulah Package Announced at National Day Rally – Aimed at Boosting the Retirement Adequacy of Lower and Middle-Income Earners in Singapore
The Majulah Package, totaling SG$7 billion, is designed to provide assistance to 1.4 million Singaporean citizens aged 50 and above in 2023. This comprehensive support initiative extends its benefits to individuals in their 50s and early 60s.
The package is composed of three key components: an annual Central Provident Fund (CPF) bonus for individuals actively employed, a one-time CPF Retirement Savings Bonus (RSB) for those who have not yet reached their Basic Retirement Sum (BRS), and a one-time MediSave Bonus.
6-Year Progressive Wage Model Accepted for Truck Drivers in Singapore
The Progressive Wage Model (PWM) is currently being rolled out across various sectors in Singapore, and the latest addition to its coverage is the group of conservancy truck drivers (class 4/5). Over a span of six years, these drivers will witness an increase in their wages. Starting 1 July 2023, the implementation of these recommendations will be overseen by the Commissioner of Labour.
Singapore Government Accepts Tripartite Committee’s Final Recommendations for Workplace Fairness Legislation
The Workplace Fairness legislation will benefit employees, employers and the society. Summary of recommendations include:
- Strengthen protection against workplace discrimination,
- Provisions to support business/organisational needs and national objectives,
- Processes for resolving grievances and disputes while preserving workplace harmony,
- Ensuring fair outcomes through redress for victims of workplace discrimination, and appropriate penalties for breaches.
Singapore’s Inclusion of Two New Professions in Non-Traditional Source Occupation List
Effective 1 September 2023, licensed hotels are allowed to hire non-traditional source housekeepers and porters at Work Permit level.Other occupations on the list include:
- Cooks at Indian restaurants,
- Workers in food processing firms,
- Sheet metal workers,
- Welders and flame cutters,
- Metal moulders and coremakers,
- Riggers and cable splicers.
Employers Required to Provide Proof of Accommodation for New Non-Malaysian Work Permit Holders Before They Enter Singapore with their Work Permits
As of 19 September 2023, the Ministry of Manpower has made it mandatory for employers in Construction, Marine Shipyard and Process (CMP) sectors to provide proof of acceptable accommodation before they are allowed to bring their new non-Malaysian Work Permit Holders (WPHs) into Singapore.
Is your business based in Singapore? We can help you improve your business’ HR efficiency!
E-Wallet Credit for Employees Earning Less than RM100,000 Annually
In July 2023, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim unveiled the “Madani Economy: Empowering the People” framework, offering RM 100 e-wallet credits to over 10 million citizens aged 21 and above with annual incomes below RM 100,000. This initiative, backed by RM 1 billion, aims to alleviate financial burdens. Additionally, civil service retirees will receive RM 200 or RM 300 in welfare assistance.
Employers Reminded to Pay Salaries via Bank Account
Minister of Human Resources, V Sivakumar has urged Malaysian employers to ensure both domestic and foreign workers are paid through bank account. This requirement aligns with the Employment Act of 1995 (Act 265). Cash or cheque payments can only be made with an employee’s request and the consent of the Director General of the Department of Labour of Peninsular Malaysia, as per section 25A(1) of the Act. Employers who fail to comply may face fines of up to RM50,000.
Updated Income Tax Rates (Resident) as of July 2023, Non-Resident Tax Rate Remains at 30%
In dealing with the high cost of living and to increase disposable income among the middle-income group, the resident individual income tax rate is reduced by 2 percentage points for each chargeable income band between RM35,001 to RM100,000.
While to make the individual income tax structure more progressive, the income tax rate for resident individuals at the chargeable income band of RM100,001 to RM250,000 is increased by a 1 percentage point, while the chargeable income band of between RM250,001 to RM400,000 is increased by 0.5 percentage points. The two chargeable income bands are combined and subject to a tax rate of 25%.
For the chargeable income band between RM400,001 to RM600,000, the tax rate is increased by 1 percentage point from 25% to 26%. Meanwhile, the chargeable income band between RM600,001 to RM1 million will be increased by 2 percentage points and will be combined with the RM1,000,001 to RM2 million band and subject to the tax rate at 28%.
Our expertise is helping businesses in Malaysia grow! Learn more.
Updated Requirements for Employing Foreign Workers in Vietnam
On September 18, 2023, the Government issued Decree 70/2023/ND-CP amending and supplementing a number of articles of the Government’s Decree 152/2020/ND-CP dated December 30, 2020 regulating foreign workers working in Vietnam and recruiting and managing Vietnamese workers working for organizations, foreign individuals in Vietnam (“Decree 70”).
Vietnam is experiencing an economic boom! Links can help your business further streamline HR operations.
The Royal Government Raises Allowance for Mothers and Children
As of August 2023, the Royal Government has expanded its support for mothers and young children, covering the period from pregnancy and childbirth through the child’s second birthday. This enhanced assistance program now encompasses all women in families holding equity cards, female workers who are enrolled in the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), as well as female government employees, contract workers and interns.
Is your business located in Cambodia? Outsource your payroll to see how much you can save!
Golden Visa Launched to Attract Investors
Scheduled for launch by the end of 2023, the Golden Visa program targets affluent individuals interested in making significant financial investments in Indonesia. Companies aiming for this visa must invest a minimum of US$50 million in the real economy, while individuals can qualify by investing at least US$350,000 in government bonds. This visa offers 5-year and 10-year validity options, featuring exclusive benefits like faster application processing and enhanced global mobility not found in other visa categories.
Indonesia Releases List of 2024 Public Holidays
The Indonesian government released 17 national holidays and 10 collective leave days for 2024 including:
National Holidays in 2024:
- 1 January – New Year’s Day
- 8 February – Isra Mi’raj Prophet Muhammad SAW 1445 H
- 10 February – Chinese New Year 2575
- 11 March – Nyepi 1946
- 29 March – Good Friday
- 31 March – Easter Day
- 10-11 April – Eid al-Fitr 1445 Hijri
- 1 May – International Labour Day
- 9 May – Ascension Day of Jesus Christ
- 23 May – Waisak 2568
- 1 June – Pancasila Day
- 17 June – Eid al-Adha 1445 Hijri
- 7 July – Islamic New Year 1446 Hijri
- 17 August – Independence Day
- 16 September – Birthday of Prophet Muhammad SAW
- 25 December – Christmas Day
Mandatory Collective Leave Days in 2024:
- 9 February – Collective holiday for Chinese New Year
- 12 March – Collective holiday for Nyepi
- 8, 9, 12, 15 April – Collective holiday for Eid al-Fitr
- 10 May – Collective holiday for the Ascension of Jesus Christ
- 24 May – Collective holiday for Waisak Day
- 18 June – Collective holiday for Eid al-Adha 1445
- 26 December – Collective leave days for Christmas
Is your business located in Indonesia? Outsource your payroll to see how much you can save!
Dearness Allowance hike: DA rates revised for Central Government Employees from 1 July 2023
As of 1 July 2023, the revised DA rates will be payable.
- For a basic pay of up to Rs3,500 per month, the DA rate from 1 July 2023 will be 701.9 % of pay subject to a minimum of Rs15,428.
- For basic pay between Rs3,501 and Rs6,500 per month, the DA rate from 1 July 2023 will be 526.4 % of pay subject to a minimum of Rs24,567.
- For a basic pay of over Rs6,500 and up to Rs9,500, the DA rate from 1 July 2023, will be 421.1 % of pay subject to a minimum of Rs34,216.
G-20 Summit in Delhi: Delhi Government Declares Public Holidays on September 8-10
The Delhi Government has officially declared a public holiday on September 8-10 2023, in light of the G-20 Summit that’s being held in the national capital.
No Income Tax Imposed on Employees Earning Up to Rs.7.27 lakh Per Annum
In July 2023, the Finance Minister announced an income tax exemption for those earning up to 7.27 lakh per annum under the new tax regime.
8.15% Interest Rate on Deposits Under the Employees’ Provident Fund Scheme for 2022-2023
In July 2023, the Indian Union Government announced the 8.15% interest rate on deposits under the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) Scheme for 2022-2023. Employers are now required to credit the additional amount of 0.05% to all EPF subscribers.
Tamil Nadu Changes Public Holiday Date for Vinayagar Chaturthi
The Government of Tamil Nadu has announced that the public holiday for Vinayagar Chaturthi will be on 18 September 2023.
Have an entity in India? Simplify your HR operations by outsourcing your payroll!
Minimum Wage Hike in Metro Manila
As of July 16, 2023, the minimum wage for private sector workers in Metro Manila was increased from PHP 570 to PHP 610, approved by the regional wage board. The PHP 40 wage hike also applies to agriculture, service, and retail workers, as well as manufacturing employees in smaller establishments.
Barangay Micro Business Enterprises are exempt from this minimum wage law (Republic Act No. 9178). Small retail and service businesses and those affected by disasters can apply for an exemption from the wage increase.
Minimum Wage Hike in Calabarzon Region
The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board has issued Wage Order No. IVA-20 for Region IV-A (Calabarzon), encompassing Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon Region. This order mandates a minimum wage increase, varying between PHP 35 and PHP 50. Consequently, the daily minimum wages will be adjusted to PHP 520 for the non-agricultural sector, PHP 479 for the agricultural sector, and PHP 385 for retail and service establishments with fewer than 10 employees. These changes will become effective on September 24, 2023.
Department of Migrant Workers Can Sue Employers Who Abuse Filipino Workers Abroad
In mid-July 2023, the Phillipines’ Department of Migrant Workers announced that it could sue abusive employers and recruitment agencies in their home countries.
DMW Secretary Maria Susan V. Ople explained that they were able to implement this reform by accessing the OFWs’ portion of the Assistance to National fund, which was previously part of the Department of Foreign Affairs’ budget. This represents a shift from the previous policy of merely attempting to mediate disputes between OFWs and their employers or recruitment agencies.
Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) For Rehires to be Issued For Free
Starting July 29, 2023, the issuance of Overseas Employment Certificates (OEC) for Filipino foreign workers returning to their original point of employment, known as “Balik-Manggagawa,” will be free of charge and will not require an official receipt. This change is in line with the Philippines Department of Migrant Workers’ notice dated July 25, 2023, and is part of the implementation of department circular No. 2 series of 2023, which includes renaming the Overseas Employment Certificate to OFW Pass and waiving fees for rehires or Balik-Manggagawa OFWs.
Looking for 100% In-Country payroll services? Partner with Links now!
Regional Restrictions to be Imposed on E-9 Visa Holders
Starting September 2023, individuals holding E-9 visas will be limited to changing employers within their current geographic region. However, E-9 visa holders seeking to transition to a different company will not encounter any regional restrictions.
South Korea to Enjoy a 6-day Chuseok Holiday in 2023
The South Korean President has declared October 2 2023 as a supplementary holiday, extending the Chuseok holiday and granting residents a six-day vacation period.
South Korea’s 2024 Livelihood Benefit Support Standard Will be Raised by 13.16%
South Korea is set to implement the highest ever increase in living benefit support standards to 13.16%.
The Central Livelihood Security Council raises the median income to 6.09% as of 2024.
The raise of median income takes place for the first time in 7 years (raised from 30% to 32%), based on the selection criteria for living benefits.
Changes to Workplace with Lesser than 50 Employees
As of 18 August 2023, workplaces in South Korea with less than 50 employees must also set up rest facilities.
Unfamiliar with South Korean labour law? Contact our team now!
Amendments to Combat Power-Based Sexual Harassment Approved
Draft amendments introduced in August 2023 propose fines of up to TWD 1 million for employers who sexually harass employees. The changes aim to combat workplace sexual harassment effectively, focusing on addressing power-based harassment. The amendments also require local government intervention in cases of harassment and mandate reporting of complaints by employers.
Budget of NT$2.8818 trillion For 2024 Approved
The Executive Yuan has approved a central government general budget of NT$2.8818 trillion for fiscal year 2024. This budget includes a 7.7% increase in defense spending, reaching NT$440.6 billion. The total defense expenditure for 2024, including potential additional funds, is estimated to be NT$606.8 billion. Social welfare programmes will make up the majority of the budget, with NT$791.7 billion allocated, including funds for addressing the low birth rate and expanding long-term care services. An extra NT$13 billion is proposed for the Labour Insurance Fund, strained by demographic challenges.
Modification of Basic Monthly Salary and Hourly Wages From 1 January 2024
From 1 January 2024, the basic monthly wage will be NT$27,470, and the basic hourly wage will be NT$183.
Need to simplify your HR and Payroll? Click here to learn more.
Minimum Wage Hikes in 24 Prefectures
Japan’s labour ministry has revealed that the weighted nationwide average for minimum wages will rise to 1,004 yen, surpassing the government panel’s proposed level. Set to take effect in October 2023, this adjustment marks the largest increase in wage records dating back to 1978.
Japan to Fund Organisations That Offer Parental Leave
The Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare intends to provide subsidies of up to 1.25 million yen per worker to companies encouraging parental leave and reduced working hours. This support is intended to motivate employees to take parental leave while ensuring their colleagues receive assistance. The initiative, with a requested budget of 3.76 billion yen for fiscal year 2024, targets small and medium-sized businesses and aims to improve work-life balance for employees with children under 3. The government will cover up to 75% of the allowance provided by eligible companies, with a maximum of 100,000 yen per month. Special “Platinum Kurumin” certified companies will receive an 80% subsidy rate and other benefits.
Need help with your Japan payroll? Contact our team now!
Changes to Workplace Relations
Effective July 1, 2023, significant changes in workplace relations have taken effect:
- The high income threshold for unfair dismissal cases rises to AU$167,500 annually, with a compensation limit of AU$83,750 for dismissals on or after July 1, 2023.
- The filing fee for unfair dismissal, general protections, bullying, and sexual harassment applications increases to AU$83.30.
- Minimum award wages will see a 5.75% increase.
- The minimum wage will be AU$882.80 per week (equivalent to AU$23.23 per hour).
- The minimum superannuation guarantee percentage rises to 11%.
Changes to Fixed Term Employee Contracts From 6 December 2023
From 6 December 2023, employers can no longer employ an employee on a fixed term contract that:
- Is for 2 or more years (including extensions)
- May be extended more than once, or
- Is a new contract:
- that is for the same or a substantially similar role as previous contracts
- with substantial continuity of the employment relationship between the end of the previous contract and the new contract, and either:
- the total period of the contracts is 2 or more years,
- the new contract can be renewed or extended, or
- a previous contract was extended.
Announcement on Authorised Employee Deductions From 30 December 2023
From 30 December 2023, employees will be able to authorise salary deductions made by their employer that are:
- for amounts that vary from time to time.
This means an employee can make a single written authorisation that allows their employer to deduct amounts from their salary even where the deduction amount may vary from year to year. It can be withdrawn by the employee in writing at any time.
At the moment, a new written authorisation between an employee and employer has to be made if a deduction amount changes.
Employees can also continue to allow deductions for specific amounts only. These types of deductions need to be:
- principally for the employee’s benefit
- in writing.
Need to simplify your HR and Payroll? Click here to learn more.
New Zealand to Provide Better Experience with Changes to Accredited Employers Programme
The government of New Zealand has revealed upcoming modifications to the Accredited Employers Programme administered by ACC. This initiative allows accredited employers to oversee the handling of claims related to their employees’ workplace injuries in exchange for a reduction in their ACC levy.
New Zealand’s Wage Theft Part of the Criminal Legislation
The proposed legislation, known as the Crimes (Theft by Employer) Amendment Bill, seeks to modify the Crimes Act of 1961 by introducing a fresh offense that pertains to employers withholding wages from their employees intentionally. This Bill has already passed its initial reading and is currently under consideration by a select committee. Under the proposed changes, organisations could face fines of up to NZ$30,000, while individuals could be subject to fines of up to NZ$5,000 or imprisonment as penalties.
Need help with your New Zealand payroll? Contact our team now!
Want a summary of the Q4 2023 APAC Labour Law Insider?
Watch Bite-Sized APAC Labour Law Insider Updates by Links’ Group Managing Director and Links’ China HRO Director below:
Want an innovative HR experience? Learn more about Links’ award-winning services!
If you have any questions with regards to the content in our Labour Law Insider or Links International’s HR Outsourcing services, please contact Bella Khan at email@example.com or Lynette Liew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re interested in receiving our Labour Law Insider newsletter every quarter, please drop an email to email@example.com to be added to our mailing list.
Disclaimer: This publication has been prepared for general guidance on matters of interest only, and does not constitute professional advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining specific professional advice. This post contains links to other websites owned by third parties. The content of such third-party sites is not within Links International’s control, and we cannot and will not take responsibility for the information, content or personal information collected by third-party sites.