Labour Law Insider – APAC 2024 Q3 Legislation Update

Links Labour Law Insider – Latest APAC Tax, Payroll & Labour Law Updates

Here is the latest edition of Links’ Labour Law Insider, a quarterly publication. This legislative summary highlights significant developments in taxation, labour regulations, payroll, and visa matters across Asia. Its purpose is to provide you with a quick and comprehensive overview.

For more news and insights into the market, make sure to subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss out on the latest HR news, or contact our team to learn more about the latest changes!

  • Hong Kong
    • Hong Kong Welcomes Passage of Bill Providing One-off Tax Concessions
    • Hong Kong to Increase Allowances Under WFA Scheme
    • eMPF Platform Officially Launched on 26 June 2024
  • Mainland China
    • China Unveils Measures to Help Graduate Job Seekers
    • China’s Private Pension System Brings In Over 60 Million People As of June 2024
    • Updates to The Work Injury Insurance
  • Singapore
    • Singapore Introduces Flexible Working Arrangements
    • Singapore Takes Action Against AI Discrimination
    • Singapore Increases Maximum Fine for Workplace Safety Breaches
  • Malaysia
    • Malaysia Sets Out Key Areas to Protect Gig Workers’ Welfare
    • Malaysia’s EPF Reform Introduces Third Account
    • Malaysians Empowered to Seek Flexible Working Arrangements
    • Malaysia Enhances Occupational Safety and Health Laws
  • Vietnam
    • Vietnam Extends Reunification Day Holiday to 5 Days
    • Change to Vietnam Regional & Common Minimum Wage From 1 July 2024
  • Indonesia
    • Indonesia Introduces New Regulation on Public Housing Savings Program
    • Indonesia Introduces 4-Day Work Week to Assess Productivity
  • India
    • India’s Dearness Allowance Increase Spurs Adjustments in Benefits
    • India’s New Rule on EPF Death Claims Processing
    • Gujarat Declares May 7 as Public Holiday for Voting Day
    • Improvements to India’s Annual Information Statement Announced
    • India’s New Personal Tax Regime Comes Into Effect on 1 April 2024
  • South Korea
    • South Korea Extends Civil Servant Childcare Time
    • Seoul to Offer Incentives for Companies Supporting Childbirth and Childcare
    • National Pension Premium to Increase From 1 July 2024
  • Japan
    • Japan Mandates Flexible Working Arrangements for Parents
    • Japan Expands Scope of Employees Covered by Social Insurance
  • Australia
    • Australia’s National Minimum and Award Salaries to Increase by 3.75%
  • New Zealand
    • New Zealand Adjusts Accredited Employer Worker Visa
    • Parental Leave Payments to Increase From 1 July 2024
    • Changes to Personal Income Tax Threshold

If you have any questions regarding the content please contact Bella Khan at bella.khan@linksinternational.com or Lynette Liew at lynette.liew@linksinternational.com.


HONG KONG

Hong Kong Welcomes Passage of Bill Providing One-off Tax Concessions

The government welcomed the passage of the Inland Revenue (Amendment) (Tax Concessions and Two-tiered Standard Rates) Bill 2024, which implemented proposals from the 2024-25 Budget and the 2023 Policy Address. Effective as of 31 May 2024, the Bill introduced a two-tiered tax rate for salaries and personal assessment taxes starting in 2024/25: 15% for net income up to HK$5 million and 16% for income above.

The Bill also provided a 100% reduction in salaries tax, personal assessment tax, and profits tax for 2023/24, capped at HK$3,000 per case. From 2024/25, taxpayers could claim an additional HK$20,000 deduction for home loan interest or domestic rents, on top of the basic HK$100,000 deduction, for up to 19 assessment years.

Reference Link

Hong Kong to Increase Allowances Under WFA Scheme

As of April 2024, household and child allowances under the Working Family Allowance (WFA) Scheme increased by 15%. Following the Appropriation Bill 2024’s passage, WFA recipients received a one-off extra allowance one month later. Eligible households included those who applied for WFA from the first day of the Bill’s passing month until its passage date, plus the previous six months.

Applicants must submit by the Bill’s passage date to qualify. The extra allowance will be half the average monthly allowance from their most recent approved WFA application. Households on Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) at the Bill’s passage date received a single extra allowance based on the higher of their WFA or CSSA amounts.

Reference Link

eMPF Platform Officially Launched on 26 June 2024

The eMPF Platform project is presently in development. Representing a substantial infrastructure initiative, its objective is to overhaul the administrative frameworks of MPF schemes, standardise operations, and introduce automation to streamline existing processes.

Hong Kong will onboard the eMPF Platform, encompassing all 12 MPF trustees, along with Hong Kong’s 357,000 employers and 4.7 million members.

YF Life Trustees and China Life Trustees, the first two MPF trustees will be onboarded on June 26 and July 29 2024, respectively. The MPF schemes still pending will be integrated into the platform according to the increasing value of MPF assets managed by the trustees.

Reference Link

Looking to streamline your HR administration and payroll in HK? Contact our professional payroll team now!

MAINLAND CHINA

China Unveils Measures to Help Graduate Job Seekers

In June 2024, Chinese authorities unveiled a package of policy measures to promote the employment of college graduates and other young groups – with advanced manufacturing as one of the key industries for youth employment.

One-off employment subsidies with one-off job expansion allowances, awarding employers that hire qualified college graduates and registered unemployed youth will be available through 31 December 2025.

Reference Link

China’s Private Pension System Brings In Over 60 Million People As of June 2024

In November 2022, a government-supported, voluntary, and market-oriented pension system was introduced for eligible citizens in 36 pilot cities and regions, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xi’an, and Chengdu.

This system allows Chinese citizens to contribute up to 12,000 yuan (approximately 1,687 U.S. dollars) annually to individual pension accounts to purchase specific old-age financial products.

Currently, there are 762 special products available within the private pension system, comprising 465 savings products, 192 fund products, 82 insurance products, and 23 asset management products.

Reference Link

Updates to The Work Injury Insurance

Shanghai’s “Opinions on Implementing Work-related Injury Insurance Regulations” effective from 1 May 2024, to 30 April 2029, aims to address practical issues and protect the rights of employees and employers.

  • Work-Related Injury Determination
  • Insurance Payment and Coverage
  • Paid Sick Leave
  • Recurrence of Disability
  • Death Grants
  • Employees Not Eligible for Pensions

For more information, please refer to ‘China Labour Law Updates: May 2024

Reference Link

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SINGAPORE

Singapore Introduces Flexible Working Arrangements

Effective 1 December 2024, all employers are required set up a process for employees to request flexible work arrangements, including options like telecommuting, shortened workweeks, and adaptable hours, with employers obligated to follow set guidelines.

Minister Gan Siow Huang emphasised that if productivity isn’t affected, employers couldn’t cut pay for employees on flexible work arrangements. This was in response to discussions on how tripartite guidelines on flexible work interacted with the progressive wage model.

It was enhanced that employers should pay competitively to attract and retain talent. Additionally, they must assess employees’ performance fairly and not discriminate based on health conditions that don’t affect performance.

Reference Link

Singapore Takes Action Against AI Discrimination

The Ministry of Manpower can penalise employers for deliberately using artificial intelligence (AI) to make discriminatory decisions, ensuring affected employees were safeguarded from workplace discrimination – as published on 3 April 2024, Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices and upcoming Workplace Fairness Legislation.

To mitigate AI’s unintentional discriminatory outcomes in hiring and HR decisions, the government implemented measures to ensure AI usage maintained workplace fairness. This included developing Model AI Governance Frameworks to guide businesses and providing open-source testing toolkits to validate AI systems against international fairness principles.

Reference Link

Singapore Increases Maximum Fine for Workplace Safety Breaches

Starting June 2024, companies that violate safety regulations will face a higher maximum fine of S$50,000, up from S$20,000. Construction sites with contracts of at least S$5 million were required install surveillance cameras from 1 June 2024.

The increased fine applied to all industries under the Workplace Safety and Health Act’s Subsidiary Legislation, focusing on offences like death, serious injury, or dangerous occurrences like explosions. These include failure to implement protective structures, appoint competent personnel for critical duties, and inspect or maintain equipment.

Reference Link

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MALAYSIA

Malaysia Sets Out Key Areas to Protect Gig Workers’ Welfare

Malaysia’s Human Resources Ministry has identified six crucial areas to establish the Gig Workers Commission, aimed at safeguarding the welfare of gig workers in the country. This announcement was made on 14 May 2024.

The highlighted areas include relevant legislation, establishing a grievance mechanism, defining the commission’s structure and functions, assessing financial implications, determining wage rates, and ensuring social protection and occupational safety and health. Additionally, an integrated database for registering gig workers and platform providers was emphasised.

Reference Link

Malaysia’s EPF Reform Introduces Third Account

In May 2024, Malaysia’s Employees Provident Fund (EPF) launched a significant reform, dividing members’ existing two accounts into three, including the long-awaited flexible account.

As of 11 May 2024, 10% of monthly EPF contributions will be allocated to Account 3, 15% to Account 2, and 75% to Account 1. Account 1 has been renamed to Akaun Persaraan, Account 2 as Akaun Sejahtera, and Account 3 as Akaun Fleksibel.

Initially, Account 3 (Akaun Fleksibel) starts with a zero balance. However, from 11 May 2024 to 31 August 2024, EPF members can choose to transfer a portion of their savings from Account 2 to Account 3.

Opt-in applications could be submitted through the KWSP i-Akaun application or self-service terminals in all EPF branches nationwide.

Reference Link

Malaysians Empowered to Seek Flexible Work Arrangements

Employees in Malaysia have the opportunity to request for flexible working arrangements regarding their time, days, and place of work under sections 60P and 60Q of the Employment Act 1955 (EA). Requests are required to be submitted to employers, who are obligated to provide feedback within 60 days. If a request was denied, employers have to provide reasons for their decision.

On 17 April 2024, Malaysia’s Human Resources Minister, highlighted the provisions of the EA, particularly Part XIIC, which addressed flexible working hours. Section 60P(1) affirmed employees’ right to request flexible working hours, subject to compliance with rules or agreements outlined in Part XII.

Reference Link

Malaysia Enhances Occupational Safety and Health Laws

As of 1 June 2024, Malaysia’s Ministry of Human Resources (KESUMA) announced the implementation of the Occupational Safety and Health (Amendment) Act 2022 (Act A1648) and the Factories and Machinery (Repeal) Act 2022 (Act 835), alongside two new subsidiary legislations.

Under the purview of the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), the new regulations include the Occupational Safety and Health (Plant Requiring Certificate of Fitness) Regulations 2024 and the Occupational Safety and Health (Licensed Person) Order 2024. These amendments were ratified by Parliament on 16 March 2022, aiming to bolster workplace safety and compliance standards across Malaysia.

Reference Link

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VIETNAM

Vietnam Extends Reunification Day Holiday to 5 Days

Vietnamese Prime Minister sanctioned a five-day break for the Reunification Day-Labour Day holiday from 27 April to 1 May 2024.

The extended holiday applied to officials, public servants, and employees of administrative agencies, with private sector employers encouraged to adopt the break plan while ensuring legal benefits for their employees.

Reference Link

Change to Vietnam Regional & Common Minimum Wage From 1 July 2024

On 30 June 2024, the Government issued Decree 73/2024/ND-CP on new basic salary and Decree 74/2024/ND-CP on new minimum salaries which is in effect from 1 July 2024.

As result of above information, the CAP of salary for Statutory contribution will be changed as follows:

RegionRegional Minimum Wage (Before 1 July 2024)Regional Minimum Wage (From 1 July 2024)CAP Salary for unemployment insurance (Before 1 July 2024)CAP Salary for unemployment insurance (From 1 July 2024)
I4,680,0004,960,00093,600,00099,200,000
II4,160,0004,410,00083,200,00088,200,000
III3,640,0003,860,00072,800,00077,200,000
IV3,250,000210065,000,00069,000,000

Common Minimum Wage (Before 1 July 2024)Common Minimum Wage (From 1 July 2024)CAP salary for social, Health insurance and 2% Trade Union (Before 1 July 2024)CAP salary for social, Health insurance and 2% Trade Union (From 1 July 2024)
1,800,0002,340,00036,000,00046,800,000

Reference Link

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INDONESIA

Indonesia Introduces New Regulation on Public Housing Savings Program

A new Indonesian policy mandated all workers, including foreigners, to contribute 3% of their salaries to the Public Housing Savings Fund (BP Tapera). Signed by President Joko Widodo on 20 May 2024, the rule applies to those aged 20 and older, married, and earning at least the minimum wage, including civil servants, military, police, state-owned enterprise employees, private sector workers, and foreigners in Indonesia for at least six months.

Employees contribute 2.5% of their salaries, with employers adding 0.5%. Self-employed workers must contribute the full 3%. Foreign workers’ contributions will be returned when they leave Indonesia. Minister Basuki Hadimuljono clarified that Tapera is a savings program, with savings plus interest returned at retirement or age 58. The policy aims to register 13 million workers by 2024, with mandatory registration by 2027.

Reference Link

Indonesia Introduces 4-Day Work Week to Assess Productivity

Indonesia’s Ministry of State-owned Enterprises has begun piloting a four-day work weeks to improve the well-being of its employees. Called the Compressed Work Schedule, the programme began in June 2024 and will be piloted over the next two months.

During the trial, the ministry’s employees may apply to work four days a week every fortnight. To qualify, they must work a minimum of 40 hours in four days, have measurable work output and have their supervisors approve their request.

Reference Link

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INDIA

India’s Dearness Allowance Increase Spurs Adjustment in Benefits

The government’s 4% increase in dearness allowance and relief in March 2024 prompted adjustments in allowances and gratuities for central government employees. As the dearness allowance hit 50%, various salary components rose.

This brought relief to millions of central government employees and pensioners. Notably, rent allowance for those in X, Y, and Z cities increased. Additionally, retirement and death gratuity limits rose by 25%, reaching Rs25 lakh from Rs20 lakh, as of 1 January 2024.

Reference Link

India’s New Rule on EPF Death Claims Processing

Effective from 17 May 2024, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) issued a circular allowing processing of physical claims in death cases without Aadhaar seeding due to challenges in updating Aadhaar details post-member’s death. EPFO permits temporary processing without seeding, subject to approval by the officer in charge. Stringent verification procedures are required to authenticate membership and claimants, with additional due diligence to prevent fraud. For cases with incomplete Aadhaar data, field offices must follow specified guidelines for rectification and validation.

Reference Link

Gujarat Declares May 7 as Public Holiday for Voting Day

The Government of Gujarat declared 7 May 2024, a public holiday for voting across all 26 Lok Sabha seats and 5 Assembly by-polls in the state. The notification, issued by the state General Administration Department, ensures that voters working outside their registered constituency are entitled to a “paid holiday” as per Section 135(b)(1) of the Representation of the People Act.

Reference Link

Improvements to India’s Annual Information Statement Announced

The Central Board of Direct Taxes has enhanced the Annual Information Statement (AIS) service, enabling taxpayers to provide real-time feedback on transactions, effective from 13 May 2024. This allows them to confirm, verify, and correct data in the AIS before filing income tax returns. The AIS includes details of tax deductions, collections, and financial transactions from various sources.

This new feature addresses previous issues of inaccuracies or incomplete data in the AIS, aiming to simplify compliance and improve taxpayer services.

Reference Link

India’s New Personal Tax Regime Comes Into Effect on 1 April 2024

The Ministry of Finance confirmed that the new personal income tax regime, effective 1 April 2024, remains unchanged. The new tax rates are 5% on income between INR 300,000 and INR 600,000, 10% on income up to INR 900,000, 15% on income up to INR 1.2 million, 20% on income up to INR 1.5 million, and 30% on income exceeding INR 1.5 million.

This regime served as the default, but taxpayers could opt for the old regime with rates of 5% on income between INR 250,000 and INR 500,000, 20% on income up to INR 1 million, and 30% on income exceeding INR 1 million. Taxpayers allowed to choose their preferred regime when filing 2024-25 tax returns.

Reference Link

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SOUTH KOREA

South Korea Extends Civil Servant Childcare Time

In April 2024, it was announced that the age limit for civil servant childcare has been increased from 5 years to 8 years old. This change allows civil servants to use up to two hours per day for childcare, enabling them to either arrive at work two hours late or leave two hours early. Additionally, the period during which public servants can use childcare time has been extended from 24 months to 36 months. Those with multiple children will also benefit from an extended civil servant family care leave beyond the current regulations.

This amendment will be implemented in the second half of the year.

Reference Link

Seoul to Offer Incentives for Companies Supporting Childbirth and Childcare

The Seoul Metropolitan Government introduced a point system to incentivise small and midsize companies supporting childbirth and childcare. These points could be converted into benefits such as internship support for employees on parental leave.

Companies that implemented policies for work-life balance, such as work-from-home options and a 4-day workweek, could earn 50 to 1,000 points per policy, valid for two years. Points were awarded for creating a supportive environment, encouraging father participation, and supporting future generations. Attending a consulting session on the scheme earns companies 50 points, and those accumulating 1,000 or more points will receive an award from the Seoul mayor.

Companies can apply for the scheme from 20 June 2024.

Reference Link

National Pension Premium to Increase From 1 July 2024

As of 1 July 2024, the upper limit of the monthly base income, which is the basis for calculating national pension premiums, will be raised from 5.9 million won to 6.17 million won. The lower limit will be raised from 370,000 won to 390,000 won.

Reference Link

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JAPAN

Japan Mandates Flexible Working Arrangements for Parents

To address its declining birthrate and promote gender equality in the workplace, Japan has amended its labour regulations to mandate flexible work arrangements and expand leave programs for employees with young children in May 2024. The new childcare and nursing care leave law will be implemented gradually, starting in April 2025.

Employers are required to offer employees with children ages 3 and above, who have not yet enrolled in elementary school, the option to choose between various work styles, such as working from home or adjusting their hours. This builds upon existing regulations that mandates shorter working hours for employees with children under the age of 3.

Further changes, effective from April 2025, include extending the period for employees to request overtime exemptions and loosening rules on special leave for caring of sick or injured children.

Reference Link

Japan Expands Scope of Employees Covered by Social Insurance

Since 2017, measures to make it mandatory for part-time employees who meet the following criteria have been implemented to enroll in Social Insurance. However, starting October 2024, the standard will be lowered from companies with over 100 employees to companies with over 50 employees.

This is expected to encourage part-time employees to enroll in social insurance. For successful enrollment, they must meet all the following conditions:

  1. Working 20 hours or more per week
  2. Regular wages excluding overtime pay and bonuses are JPY88,000 or more per month
  3. Employment is expected to last more than two months
  4. Not a student

Reference Link

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AUSTRALIA

Australia’s National Minimum and Award Salaries to Increase by 3.75%

The Fair Work Commission’s Expert Panel has announced a 3.75% increase in Australia’s national minimum wage (NMW). Starting 1 July 2024, the NMW will rise to $915.90 per week or $24.10 per hour, based on a 38-hour workweek for full-time employees.

The decision considered economic and social factors, including the cost of living, a strong labour market, inflation, real wage growth, and superannuation changes. Employers are required to reviewed and adjust wage rates for employees under collective agreements and awards, and inform their teams accordingly. This change could impact one-quarter of Australian employees.

Reference Link

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NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand Adjusts Accredited Employer Worker Visa

Immigration Minister Erica Stanford announced immediate changes to the Accredited Employer Worker Visa (AEWV) scheme on 7 April 2024. These adjustments aims to attract necessary skills while reducing migrant vulnerability to exploitation.

Key changes include introducing an English language requirement for low-skilled level 4 and 5 roles, setting minimum skills and work experience thresholds, and requiring employers to engage with Work and Income for approval to bring in migrants. The maximum continuous stay for most level 4 and 5 roles is reduced from 5 years to 3 years.

Additionally, the franchisee accreditation category has been discontinued, with businesses required to apply through standard or other accreditation methods. These changes seek to empower migrants by ensuring they understand their rights and can address concerns early on.

Reference Link

Parental Leave Payments to Increase From 1 July 2024

The maximum weekly rate for eligible employees and self-employed parents will rise from NZ$712.17 to NZ$754.87 gross per week.

This year, the minimum parental leave payment rate for self-employed parents will increase from NZ$227 to NZ$231.50 gross per week, reflecting the minimum wage hike on 1 April 2024.

For self-employed parents, the minimum rate corresponds to 10 hours of work per week at the current adult minimum wage of $23.15 per hour.

According to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Act 1987, eligible parents are entitled to payments matching their usual pay, up to the maximum rate. This maximum rate is adjusted annually to align with any rise in average weekly earnings.

Reference Link

Changes to Personal Income Tax Threshold

Changes have been made to provide tax relief for individuals and families. These changes, announced on 30 May 2024, are part of the Annual Government Budget 2024.

Changes from 31 July 2024 include:

  • Increasing personal income tax thresholds,
  • Extending the independent earner tax credit,
  • Increasing in-work tax credit and the minimum family tax credit.

Reference Link

Need help with your New Zealand payroll? Contact our team now!

Want a summary of the Q2 2024 APAC Labour Law Insider?

Watch Bite-Sized APAC Labour Law Insider Updates by Links’ Group Managing Director, Scott Thomson, and Links’ China HRO Director, Angie Xu, below:


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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 bella.khan@linksinternational.com or Lynette Liew at lynette.liew@linksinternational.com.

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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.