Links Onboard – Latest APAC Tax, Payroll & Labour Law Updates
Below is the latest issue of Onboard, a quarterly update by Links. Our legislation update covers major tax, labour law, payroll and visa developments across Asia. It is designed to get you updated at-a-glance.
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- Hong Kong
- Measures Launched to Promote Employment of Elderly, Middle-Aged and Young People with Disabilities
- Amendments to Work Arrangements During Rainstorms and Typhoons, Relating To “Work from Home Arrangements”
- Second Tranche of the Employment Support Scheme
- Important Changes to Hong Kong Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Law
- Foreign Visitors to Get Visa Extensions
- Minimum Monthly Wage Update, Effective 1 January 2021
- Changes to Work Injury Compensation Act 2019 Takes Effect
- Launch of the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI)
- New Eligibility Criteria Announced for COVID-19 Support Grant
- Job Support Scheme Extended Till End of March 2021
- Government Extends FWL Rebates for Construction, Marine Shipyard, and Process Sectors
- Entrance Ban Lifted for Foreign Nationals Holding Chinese Residence Permits, Effective 28 September
- Beijing Makes Changes to Social Insurance and IIT Filing
- Shanghai Revises Measures on the Administration of Collection and Use of Employment Guarantee Fund for Disabled Persons
- State Taxation Administration Makes Adjustment to Individual Tax Prepayment
- Employer Remittance Date for EPF Contribution Extended
- Senate Passes “Temporary Measures for Reducing the Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Bill 2020”
- Employers Can Be Fined RM50,000 for Failing to Comply with the “Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446)”
- New Monthly Social Security Contribution Rate at 2% for Employer and Employee Portion Effective from Sep 2020- Nov 2020
- New Guidelines for Foreigners Entering Vietnam to Work for Less Than 14 Days
- Omnibus Law Passed
- Subsidy Grant for Workers Affected by Covid-19
- Government Relaxes Mandatory Employer Contribution for the Manpower Social Security Programs
- Companies in Some Regions of Indonesia Are Allowed to Reopen Workplace
- Announcement Revision of Entry Requirement for Foreign Travelers to Cambodia
- Prakas on Minimum Wage Determination for Workers in the Textile, Garment, and Footwear Sectors for 2021
- Notification of Postponement of Payment of Back Pay Seniority Indemnity Before 2019 and New Seniority Indemnity in 2020
- Cancellation of The Celebration of the Water Festival Holiday for 2020 in October
- Covid-19 Relief Measures
- Pandemic Relief Bill Passed
- Bill Passed to Provide Better protection and Employment Benefits for Media Sector Workers
- Guidelines on Processes and Proceedings Before the Office of the Secretary of DOLE, Bureaus and Regional Offices in Areas under Community Quarantine
- Guidelines on Employment Preservation upon the Resumption of Business Operation
- Revised Guidelines on Engagement of Children 15 years old to Below 18 years of age in Public Entertainment or Information During Community Quarantine
- Employment Adjustment Subsidy Extended
- Paid Parental Leave Amendment (Flexibility Measures) Act 2020
- JobKeeper Extension
- Personal Income ‘Tax Cuts’
- JobMaker Hiring Credit
- New Zealand
- Privacy Act 2020
Measures Launched to Promote Employment of Elderly, Middle-Aged and Young People with Disabilities
Labour Department launches measures to strengthen employment of Elderly, Middle-Aged, and Young People with Disabilities.
- Employment Programme for the Elderly and Middle-aged (EPEM)
- Youth Employment and Training Programme (YETP)
- Work Orientation and Placement Scheme (WOPS)
The relief fund covers many business sectors and varies accordingly.
Amendments to Work Arrangements During Rainstorms and Typhoons, Relating To “Work from Home Arrangements”
If the employee is contractually entitled to a day-off in the case of Adverse Weather, the employee cannot be forced to come into the office or WFH. If there are no contractual agreements in place, an employer may wish to consider coming to an agreement with its employees as to whether to require employees to work during Adverse Weather Conditions. This may include coming into work as operational needs and the urgency of service dictates, or giving employees time off because their work cannot be carried out at home.
Second Tranche of the Employment Support Scheme
The second tranche of the ESS was open from application from 31st August 2020 till the 13th of September 2020. The 2nd tranche covers the period from September to November 2020, offering employers a maximum subsidy amount of HK$9000 per month for each employee.
A penalty scheme has also been introduced where the government reserves the right to claw back disbursed subsidies if the employer fails to comply with regulations.
Foreign Visitors to Get Visa Extensions
Foreign visitors who have entered Taiwan on or before 21 March 2021 and have no record of overstaying will be granted a further 30-Day extension.
Minimum Monthly Wage Update, Effective 1 January 2021
Taiwan’s minimum monthly wage will increase by 0.84% to NT$24,000 in January 2021, according to the Ministry of Labor. Under the MOL proposal which is approved by the Cabinet, the hourly rate will also rise by 1.3% to NT$160.
Changes to Work Injury Compensation Act 2019 Takes Effect
Key changes to Work Injury Compensation Act 2019 comes into effect 1 September 2020. Changes include:
- Employers must report any instances of leave arising from a work injury, including light duties
- Claims are considered made when the employer is notified of the accident
- Compensations can be based on a multiple of basic monthly salary
- Compensation can be based on current incapacity assessment
- Employers are liable to compensate for the shortfall in earnings when their employees are on light duties
- MOM may allow for doctor-switching for current or permanent incapacity assessment
- Greater recourse for employers to recover compensation paid out on basis of error or fraud
- Increased penalties for offences
Launch of the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI)
Singapore launches the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) to promote the hiring of the local workforce. The JGI offers businesses salary support if they increase their local workforce between the period of September 2020 to February 2021. To be eligible for the incentive, businesses must increase the overall local workforce.
New Eligibility Criteria Announced for COVID-19 Support Grant
Unemployed people applying for the COVID-19 Support Grant must provide proof of job search or training efforts and cannot own more than one property. Takes effect from 1 October 2020.
Job Support Scheme Extended Till End of March 2021
The JSS will be extended till the end of March 2021, however, coverage will be reduced according to the projected recovery of different sectors. Government funding will be adjusted to between 10% and 50% of wages from September 2020 to March 2021.
Government Extends FWL Rebates for Construction, Marine Shipyard, and Process Sectors
The government extends Foreign Work Levy (FWL) waiver till December 2020 and the existing SG$375 rebate to September 2020. The FWL waiver will be 75% for levies due in October, 50% in November, and 25% in December 2020. This is for supporting firms in the Construction, Marine Shipyard, and Process sectors.
Entrance Ban Lifted for Foreign Nationals Holding Chinese Residence Permits, Effective 28 September
Entry ban will be adjusted for foreign nationals holding one of the following categories of Chinese residence permits:
- Residence permits for work
- Residence permits for personal matters
- Residence permits for reunion
Beijing Makes Changes to Social Insurance and IIT Filing
The Beijing Municipal Social Insurance Center notified that after July 5 2020, labour dispatch companies and human resource service companies need to fill in part of the labour contract when registering new employees and adding employees through the online service platform and the three-insurance business system.
For companies that do not have a registered entity in Beijing, if the actual employer entered does not exist in the system, there will be a corresponding prompt, and it will not be able to complete the insurance registration or increase the number of employees.
Shanghai Revises Measures on the Administration of Collection and Use of Employment Guarantee Fund for Disabled Persons
Within three years from the collection of the 2019 Annual Security Fund in 2020, enterprises with an average monthly payment of Social Security less than 30 people (including) in the previous year do not have to go to the Social Security payment district and county Disability Federation to declare and are directly exempt from disability insurance; disability insurance is calculated into the employer to arrange the employment ratio of：
1. The employer arranges the employment ratio of disabled persons to 1% or more, and the annual payment amount of the guarantee fund = (1.5%-proportion of disabled employees) × collection base × 50%
2. The employer arranges the employment rate of the disabled to be less than 1% and the annual payment amount of the guarantee fund = (1.5%-the proportion of disabled employees) × the collection base × 90%
The collection base refers to the sum of the employer’s social insurance premium payment base in the previous year, and the upper limit is twice the local social average wage.
State Taxation Administration Makes Adjustment to Individual Tax Prepayment
In order to further support employment, promote stability, and reduce the tax burden of new recruits during the withholding and prepayment stage of personal income tax, the State Administration of Taxation issued an announcement on the improvement and adjustment of the methods for the withholding and prepayment of personal income tax for those who obtain wages and salaries for the first time in the middle of the year. The announcement will take effect on July 1, 2020.
Employer Remittance Date for EPF Contribution Extended
Employers may continue remitting their mandatory EPF contribution till December 2020.
Senate Passes “Temporary Measures for Reducing the Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Bill 2020”
The “Temporary Measures for Reducing the Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Bill 2020” aims to provide temporary relief for those who may have their rights impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Employers Can Be Fined RM50,000 for Failing to Comply with the “Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446)”
The “Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446)” was fully enforced on 1st September 2020. Employers which violate the Act can face up to a fine of RM50,000 for each offence.
New Monthly Social Security Contribution Rate at 2% for Employer and Employee Portion Effective from Sep 2020- Nov 2020
The Minister of Labour announced the Cabinet’s resolution approving the urgent measures to remedy those affected by Covid-19. The official announcement was released on Friday 11th September 2020.
The proposals include reducing the social security contributions for both employers and employees to 2%.
New temporary rate of the monthly social security contribution rate with effective from September till November 2020.
New Guidelines for Foreigners Entering Vietnam to Work for Less Than 14 Days
The Ministry of Health issued new safety and quarantine requirement for foreigners entering Vietnam to work for a period less than 14 days.
Omnibus Law Passed
The Omnibus Law or Job Creation Law has been passed on the 5th of October 2020. The Omnibus Law amends 81 existing laws, including capital investment, manpower, etc.
Subsidy Grant for Workers Affected by Covid-19
The government introduces a wage subsidy programme for select employees in the private sector. Eligible employees will receive a total of 2.4 Million Rupiah distributed over a period of four months. To be eligible for the subsidy you must:
- Be an Indonesian citizen with national identification number
- Registered as an active participant of the social security for employment programme (BPJS Ketenagakerjaan)
- Be a participant of this programme up until June 2020
- Receive a monthly salary of no more than 5 Million Rupiah
- Have an active bank account
Government Relaxes Mandatory Employer Contribution for the Manpower Social Security Programs
Temporary adjustments to the contribution requirements for the four manpower social security programs from August 2020 to January 2021. The four manpower social security programs affected are:
- Work Accident Security
- Death Security
- Old Age Security
- Pension Security
Companies in Some Regions of Indonesia Are Allowed to Reopen Workplace
Businesses in certain regions, including Jakarta, are allowed to reopen their workplace as long as they comply with the obligations set out under Regulation of the Governor of DKI Jakarta No. 51 of 2020. Failure to do so can be subject to administrative sanctions and fines.
Announcement Revision of Entry Requirement for Foreign Travelers to Cambodia
Procedure on arrival in Cambodia:
- Valid visa
- Health certificate negative of COVID-19 not more than 72 hours before departure
- Certificate of payment guarantee (if sponsored) or require to deposit USD 2,000 (if not sponsored)
- Proof of hotel booking (if sponsored)
- Require to test the COVID-19 arranged by the health officer
- After the test, you will be sent to the hotel to wait for the test result:
- If all the travellers on the plane are negative, they can self-quarantine at their accommodation for 14 days;
- But still under the supervision of the health official
- Then on the 13th day from the arrival, they are required to do the testing again. If this second test is negative, they are allowed to work or travel freely in Cambodia
- If one or more of the travellers on the same flight has contracted COVID-19, everyone is required to stay at a booked hotel for 14 days or can be arranged to stay at other places assigned by the government.
- If all the travellers on the plane are negative, they can self-quarantine at their accommodation for 14 days;
Prakas on Minimum Wage Determination for Workers in the Textile, Garment, and Footwear Sectors for 2021
The minimum wage for workers in the textile, garment, and footwear sector for 2021 shall be set officially at USD 192 per month after probation and USD 187 per month during probation.
Notification of Postponement of Payment of Back Pay Seniority Indemnity Before 2019 and New Seniority Indemnity in 2020
According to Point 7 of the Press Release on the Instruction of the Royal Government on further measures to help the private sector and workers/employees severely affected by COVID-19 Pandemic and according to the Labour Law, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training would like to inform the owners or directors of factories, enterprises and workers/employees using undetermined duration contract (UDC) that the payment of back pay seniority indemnity before 2019 (for garment, textile, and footwear sector) and new seniority indemnity in 2020 (for all sectors) shall be delayed until 2021.
Cancellation of The Celebration of the Water Festival Holiday for 2020 in October
The Cambodian government has announced the cancellation of the 3-day Water Festival 2020 on Oct 30-31 and Nov 1, in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Covid-19 Relief Schemes
Private factories and companies that are covered by the Stay at Home program and registered with the Social Security Board Workshop Insurance workers will be paid 40 percent of their six-month salary as a subsidy. The Ministry of Immigration and Population released September 24, 2020.
The funding was provided in 2012, It is stated that it was issued in accordance with Section 31 (b) (2) and Rule 136 (b) of the Law, exercising the powers contained in Section 100 of the Social Security Law.
Eligible for the program are those who have not paid their contribution for at least 36 months before the first six months of this year but have been working for six months until September 23, and 40 percent of their six-month wage will be allowed to be paid to the insured and their families.
Pandemic Relief Bill Passed
The final version of a PHP165b pandemic relief Bill has been approved, which will provide subsidies to unemployed people, loans to businesses, and payment deferrals.
Bill Passed to Provide Better protection and Employment Benefits for Media Sector Workers
The “Media Workers’ Welfare Act” has been approved by the House of Representatives, which requires journalists and media workers assigned to dangerous areas to be provided with hazard pay, bulletproof vests, and personal protective equipment.
Guidelines on Processes and Proceedings Before the Office of the Secretary of DOLE, Bureaus and Regional Offices in Areas under Community Quarantine
In view of the pandemic, petitions, complaints, claims applications for registrations, and permits or renewal shall be filed through the use of courier services, postal services, regional websites, electronic mail, and other digital platforms. In the event that it’s personally filed, minimum health standards and protocols shall be observed.
Guidelines on Employment Preservation upon the Resumption of Business Operation
Mandating all employers whose business operations are allowed to continue or resume to operate shall observe the minimum health standards. Work From Home or Telecommuting work arrangement is encouraged as well as alternative work schemes, wage and wage-related benefits which shall be reported to DOLE Regional Office. Separated employees due to authorized cause shall be entitled to the final pay.
Revised Guidelines on Engagement of Children 15 years old to Below 18 years of age in Public Entertainment or Information During Community Quarantine
Employers allowed to operate during community quarantine and engage 15 years old to below 18 years old children must ensure compliance to minimum public health standards. The Child has the right to refuse work in accordance with Republic Act No 9231 and 11058
Employment Adjustment Subsidy Extended
The government has decided to extend the employment adjustment subsidy plan for businesses until the end of the year, December 31st. Companies that place employees on furlough (paid leave) are entitled to subsidies. Coverage can be up to 100% for SMEs and up to 80% for large enterprises. Thes subsidy is capped at 15,000 yen per day for each employee.
Paid Parental Leave Amendment (Flexibility Measures) Act 2020
Under the “Paid Parental Leave Amendment (Flexibility Measures) Act 2020” from 1 July 2020, eligible persons will be entitled to an initial 12 weeks of parental leave pay. The person will then be entitled to a second “flexible” parental pay leave period of up to 30 business days.
The JobKeeper scheme has been extended from 28 September 2020 until 28 March 2021.
There are two separate extension periods. For each extension period, an additional actual decline in turnover test applies and the rate of the JobKeeper payment is different.
The extension periods are:
- Extension 1: from 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021
- Extension 2: from 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021.
Personal Income ‘Tax Cuts’
Changes to personal income tax thresholds announced by the Government during the Federal Budget have been incorporated into the withholding schedules and tax tables and will apply to payments made on and from 13 October 2020.
As the changes to withholding are made partway through the income year, employers and other payers who are unable to immediately implement these changes into their payroll will have until 16 November 2020 to do so.
Employees and other payees will receive their entitlement to the reduced tax payable for the entire 2020–21 income year when they lodge their income tax return.
JobMaker Hiring Credit
On 6 October 2020 as part of the 2020–21 Budget, the government announced a new incentive for businesses to employ additional young job seekers called the JobMaker Hiring Credit. The JobMaker Hiring Credit will be administered by the ATO.
Eligible employers will have access to a JobMaker Hiring Credit for each new job they create over the 12 months from 7 October 2020, for which they hire an eligible employee, for a maximum claim period of 12 months from their employment start date.
Employers will register with us and make claims quarterly, with claims commencing in February 2021.
This measure is subject to the passage of legislation.
The JobMaker Hiring Credit will be:
- $200 per week for each eligible employee aged 16 to 29
- $100 per week for each eligible employee aged 30 to 35.
- An employer cannot claim JobKeeper and JobMaker Hiring Credit at the same time.
To be eligible, employers must:
- hold an Australian Business number (ABN)
- be up-to-date with their tax lodgement obligations
- be registered for Pay as You Go (PAYG) withholding
- be reporting through Single touch payroll (STP).
Eligible employees must have worked an average of at least 20 hours per week over the quarter for the employer to qualify for the payment. Employees that start and/or stop employment during a quarter must meet a similar test based on the length of time in employment.
Privacy Act 2020
As of 1 December 2020, the introduction of the Privacy Act 2020 requires the reporting of serious privacy breaches. Agencies must notify the Privacy Commissioner after they become aware that a privacy breach has occurred.
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