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.
- Hong Kong
- Mandatory Vaccination for Key Sector Workers
- Extension of Pre-approved Principal Payment Holiday Scheme for 6 Months
- Mainland China
- Data Security Law Takes Effect on September 1, 2021
- Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) Takes Effect on 1 November 2021
- Beijing Offers Extra Maternity Leave for Couples with Third Child
- Shanghai Increases Minimum Wage to 2,590 Yuan per Month
- Amendment to Work Safety Law Effective from 1 September
- Subsidy Extended for Workers Who Lost Income Due to COVID-19
- Employers Prohibited from Requiring Proof of Vaccination During Recruitment
- Justices End Restrictions on Women Working Night Shifts
- Update to Labor Occupational Accident Insurance and Protection Act
- The Temporary Bridging Loan Programme and the Enhanced Enterprise Financing Scheme Extended 6 Months
- Extension of Jobs Growth Incentive by 6 Months
- Extension of Waiver of Foreign Worker Levies
- Mandatory Retrenchment Notifications
- Entry Approval Application for Work Pass Holders and Dependants Resumed
- Increased Support for Lower-Wage Workers
- Tripartite Committee for Workplace Fairness (TCWF) Formed
- Launch of PEMULIH Economic Relief Package
- Relief Package Worth 42 billion Baht Issued
- Factory Sandbox Pilot Programme Launched
- Reduced Social Security Contribution Rate Effective from Sep -Nov 2021
- New Guidance on Social Insurance Contribution
- New Guidance on Unemployment Insurance Contribution
- Government Disburses Wage Subsidies
- Affected Workers Given Cash Subsidies
- Notification on Implementation of Pchum Ben Holidays 2021
- Instruction on Covid-19 Rapid Test for Workers/Employees at Factories/Enterprises across Cambodia after Phcum Ben Holiday
- Prakas on Minimum Wage for Workers in Textile, Garment, Footwear, Travel Goods and Bag Sector for 2022
- COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) Provides Cash Handouts
- Guidelines on the Validation Process by Philippines Overseas Labor Office of Vaccination Cards of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW)
- Issuance of Alien Employment Permit (AEP) or Certificate of Exemption/Exclusion to Foreign Nationals Intending to Come to The Philippines for Long Term Employment
- Working Conditions of Delivery Riders in Food Delivery and Courier Activities
- South Korea
- More Employees to be Covered Under its State Employment Insurance
- Amendment to Maximum Weekly Working Hours for Employers with 5-49 Employees
- Extra Budget Proposed to Aid Small Businesses and Create Jobs
- Alternative Holiday Bill Passed
- Minimum Wage to Increase in 2022
- New Provisions on Workplace Sexual Harassment
- Request Stapled Super Fund Details for Employees
- ATO Announces Single Touch Payroll Blanket Deferral for Employers
- New South Wales Launches Paid Miscarriage Leave for Public Sector Employees, Effective from July 1
- New South Wales Launches Paid Parental Leave for Public Sector Employees, Effective from July 1
- Vaccine Compensation No-Fault Scheme Launched
- New Zealand
- 10-Day Minimum Sick Leave Takes Effect
- Reinstatement of Wage Subsidy Due to Lockdown
- COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement Can Be Included in New Employment Contracts
Mandatory Vaccination for Key Sector Workers
Vaccination will be compulsory for those working in 4 key sectors, including civil servants, healthcare workers, care home staff, and staff at schools. If workers do not have valid medical reasons not to get vaccinated, then they must pay for testing twice a week at their own expense.
Extension of Pre-approved Principal Payment Holiday Scheme for 6 Months
To further support businesses in the pandemic, Hong Kong will extend the Pre-approved Principal Payment Holiday Scheme for another 6 months till the end of April 2022. This scheme is aimed at supporting SMEs in HK and has so far granted a total of HK$170 billion in loans, benefitting 67,000 applicants.
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Data Security Law Takes Effect on September 1, 2021
The Data Security Law of the People’s Republic of China formally took effect on September 1, 2021.
Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) Takes Effect on 1 November 2021
The Personal Information Protection Law was passed on the 20th of August 2021 and will take effect from the 1st of November 2021. This piece of legislation is dedicated to the protection of personal information.
Beijing Offers Extra Maternity Leave for Couples with Third Child
Mothers with a third child will receive an additional 30 days of maternity leave while spouses will be eligible for 15 days of paternity leave. This will apply to children born after May 31.
Shanghai Increases Minimum Wage to 2,590 Yuan per Month
From July 1 2021, Shanghai has increased its minimum wage from 2,480 yuan to 2,590 yuan per month.
Amendment to Work Safety Law Effective from 1 September
The Work Safety Law has been amended and changes are effective from 1 September. Changes include:
- High-risk industries must purchase work safety liability insurance
- Increased fines for non-compliance
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Subsidy Extended for Workers Who Lost Income Due to COVID-19
From August 23rd, workers who lost 20% of their income due to the COVID-19 outbreak will receive a one-time payment of NT$10,000 (US$359) as part of the extension to the subsidy programme.
Employers Prohibited from Requiring Proof of Vaccination During Recruitment
Employers are prohibited to require interviewees from presenting a certificate of proof to indicate they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Justices End Restrictions on Women Working Night Shifts
Female workers cannot refuse employers’ requests to work night shifts unless they have a proper cause, the Council of Grand Justices.
Update to Labor Occupational Accident Insurance and Protection Act
Main points of the act:
- Broader scope of coverage: Coverage is compulsory for all workers employed by registered business entities, and must begin on the worker’s first day on the job. For other laborers, compulsory, voluntary or special insurance is provided depending on the type of employment.
- Enhanced overall protections: To provide workers at risk of occupational hazards and their families with more adequate payment protection, the government has increased insured salaries and enhanced various benefits such as by expanding medical benefits and adding partial disability annuities. In addition, the government has increased allowances and subsidies, such as subsidies for insured persons who are unable to care for themselves during their hospitalization period, or are disabled in an accident, to hire caregivers.
- Integrate occupational hazard prevention and rehabilitation efforts: An occupational hazard prevention and rehabilitation centre will be established. Preventive actions will be implemented at the front end to reduce workplace accidents, and when accidents do occur, the government will take active rehabilitation measures to help workers get back on the job. This will provide workers comprehensive protection ranging from accident prevention to compensation and rehabilitation.
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The Temporary Bridging Loan Programme and the Enhanced Enterprise Financing Scheme Extended 6 Months
Both the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme and the Enhanced Enterprise Financing Scheme, loan assistance programmes for SMEs will be extended for another 6 months from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.
Extension of Jobs Growth Incentive by 6 Months
The Ministry of Manpower has announced that the Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) Scheme will be extended by a further 6 months. Phase 3 will cover the period from October 2021 – March 2022.
Extension of Waiver of Foreign Worker Levies
Ministry of Manpower (MOM) will extend the waiver of foreign worker levied for S Pass and Work Permit holders for the duration of their Stay-Home Notice till December 2021.
Mandatory Retrenchment Notifications
From 1 November, employers with at least 10 employees must notify MOM of any retrenchments, regardless of the number of employees affected.
Entry Approval Application for Work Pass Holders and Dependants Resumed
From 10 August 2021, work pass holders and their dependants with travel history to high-risk countries can resume applying for entry approvals, providing they are fully vaccinated before arrival into Singapore.
Increased Support for Lower-Wage Workers
The Prime Minister has announced 3 measures to support lower-wage workers:
- The Progressive Wage Model will be extended to cover more workers
- Companies that hire foreign workers will be required to provide all their local employees at least a local qualifying salary of SG$1,400
- Consumers will know which companies are paying their works “decent wages” via a Progressive Wage Mark
Tripartite Committee for Workplace Fairness (TCWF) Formed
To set a strong foundation for an open economy and inclusive society, the TCWF has been formed to ensure workplace fairness.
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Launch of PEMULIH Economic Relief Package
On June 28th Malaysia announced its 4th stimulus package for this year. The PEMULIH package is worth up to RM$150 billion and covers 35 initiatives. As part of the package, SMEs will receive additional payments under the special prihatin grant (GKP), receiving RM$500 in September and a further RM$500 in November 2021.
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Relief Package Worth 42 billion Baht Issued
A stimulus package of 42 billion baht was released to aid businesses and people located in the 10 provinces affected by lockdown. The majority of the budget will be allocated as cash handouts while the rest will be for subsidies in water and electricity.
Factory Sandbox Pilot Programme Launched
To protect the manufacturing industry, Thailand launched the Factory Sandbox Pilot Programme which will test, vaccinate and isolate factory workers to minimise COVID-19 related disruptions. Focusing on factories with at least 500 employees, the initiative will see workers tested for Covid-19, with all those shown to be positive isolated and all those with a negative result vaccinated.
Reduced Social Security Contribution Rate Effective from Sep – Nov 2021
The government has approved a 3-month Social Security Contribution Rate reduction from September to November 2021.
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New Guidance on Social Insurance Contribution
Decision no. 23/2021/QĐ-TTg which was issued on 7 July 2021, states that employer contribution to social insurance will be reduced by 0.5% from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022. Meaning it is reduced from 17.5% to 17% for Vietnamese employees and from 3.5% to 3% for foreign staff. The employers will provide the monetary support obtained from the reduction in premiums to the Insurance fund for occupational accidents and diseases for the employees in order to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
New Guidance on Unemployment Insurance Contribution
On September 24, 2021, the Government issued Resolution No. 116/NQ-CP on support policy for employees and employers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic from the Unemployment Insurance Fund.
Employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic shall receive support in cash from the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s surplus balance, in which, the supporting amount shall be based on the unemployment insurance premium payment period during which the employee has not yet received any unemployment allowance.
Employees eligible for this support are those who are paying unemployment insurance premiums as of September 30, 2021 (excluding some subjects) and those who have stopped paying unemployment insurance premiums due to the termination of labour contracts or working contracts in the period from 1 January 2020 to the end of 30 September 2021, with the unemployment insurance premium payment period reserved in accordance with the law on employment, excluding persons who are enjoying to monthly pensions.
Specifically, if the unemployment insurance premium payment period is less than 12 months, the employee shall be entitled to a support of VND 1,800,000. If the unemployment insurance premium payment period is between full 12 months and less than 60 months; between full 60 months and less than 84 months; between full 84 months and less than 108 months; between full 108 months and less than 132 months, and 132 months or more, the employee shall be entitled to a support of VND 2,100,000; VND 2,400,000; VND 2,650,000; VND 2,900,000, and VND 3,300,000, respectively.
Employers that have been paying in unemployment insurance premiums before 1 October 2021 as prescribed are allowed to reduce the contribution rate from 1% to 0% of the monthly wage fund of the employees obliged to participate in unemployment insurance.
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Government Disburses Wage Subsidies
The Indonesian government has disbursed wage subsidies worth Rp$947 billion to subsidise the salaries of up to 947,499 employees affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Affected Workers Given Cash Subsidies
Employees in the garment and tourism industries whose employment contracts are suspended can receive cash subsidies. The amount they can receive will depend on the number of days of suspension, ranging from 60,750 Riel to 162,000 Riel.
Notification on Implementation of Pchum Ben Holidays 2021
The Public Holiday for Pchum Ben will be held for 3 days: 5th, 6th, 7th October 2021.
Source: Notification #040/21 issued on September 17, 2021, by the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training
Instruction on Covid-19 Rapid Test for Workers/Employees at Factories/Enterprises across Cambodia after Phcum Ben Holiday
The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training on 28 September 2021, released the instruction for all the factories/workers to do the COVID rapid test after the Pchum Ben Holiday to fight against and prevent large scale spread of the Covid-19 Delta variant.
Source: Instruction #062/21 dated Sep 28, 2021 by The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training
Prakas on Minimum Wage for Workers in Textile, Garment, Footwear, Travel Goods and Bag Sector for 2022
Prakas #264, issue date 28 Sep 2021, by the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training states:
1- The Minimum Wage is USD 192.00 per month in probation
2- The Minimum Wage is USD 194.00 per month after probation
3- The effective date is from January 1, 2022
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COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP) Provides Cash Handouts
Under CAMP, workers in private establishments that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can receive a one-time cash handout of PHP 5,000. Workers whose companies have implemented flexible work arrangements or temporary closures are eligible.
Guidelines on the Validation Process by Philippines Overseas Labor Office of Vaccination Cards of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW)
The following documents shall be required to be presented by a returning OFW in applying POLO validation: 1) Vaccination cards or any document issued in the host country/ jurisdiction showing proof of vaccination; 2) Valid Passport or travel document; 3) Proof of Overseas Employment or other applicable proof of employment. The OFW shall register through ONEHEALTHPASS PORTAL accessible at https://www.onehealthpass.com.ph/e-HDC/
Issuance of Alien Employment Permit (AEP) or Certificate of Exemption/Exclusion to Foreign Nationals Intending to Come to The Philippines for Long Term Employment
Issued to govern the issuance of AEP Permit of Certificate of Exemption/ Exclusion be filed with the concerned DOLE Regional Office by the Phil-based employer within 30 working days after completion of the 14-day quarantine period. AEP shall be issued within 5 working days after the completion of the labour market test and publication of AEP application in a newspaper of general circulation and payment of required fees.
Working Conditions of Delivery Riders in Food Delivery and Courier Activities
Issued to ensure compliance with applicable general labour standards and occupational safety and health standards and better working conditions for all delivery riders in food delivery and courier activities using digital platforms. All riders are deemed employees and are entitled to minimum benefits as provided by labour code, such as payment of fair compensation not lower than minimum wage, coverage under SSS, Philhealth, Pag-ibig, compliance to health and safety standards like PPEs and set up of designated waiting areas for delivery riders.
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More Employees to be Covered Under its State Employment Insurance
From July, more workers will be covered under the State Employment Insurance. They include insurance agents, parcel delivery workers, door-to-door salespersons and after-school instructors. Under the scheme, workers can receive unemployment benefits and apply for benefits related to maternity leave.
Amendment to Maximum Weekly Working Hours for Employers with 5-49 Employees
The total working hours over a 7-day period has been reduced from 68 hours to 52 hours for employers with 5-49 employees from 1 July 2021.
Extra Budget Proposed to Aid Small Businesses and Create Jobs
South Korea unveils a 33 trillion won ($29.2 billion) package to aid small businesses and create up to an additional 164,000 new jobs.
Alternative Holiday Bill Passed
South Korea’s National Assembly has approved the alternative holiday bill which stipulates that the first weekday following a public holiday that falls on a weekend will be designated as an alternative holiday. Businesses with less than 5 employees are excluded from the bill.
Minimum Wage to Increase in 2022
Minimum wage in South Korea will increase from the current 8,720 won to 9,160 won per hour.
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New Provisions on Workplace Sexual Harassment
On 10 September 2021, changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 have been made to increase protection against workplace sexual harassment.
Request Stapled Super Fund Details for Employees
From 1 November 2021, if you have new employees start, you may have an extra step to take to comply with choice of fund rules if they don’t choose a super fund. You may now need to request their ‘stapled super fund’ details from the Australian Taxation Office.
ATO Announces Single Touch Payroll Blanket Deferral for Employers
Although the official start date for STP phase 2 will still be 1 January 2022, employers will have until 1 March 2022 to From 1 July, New South Wales public-sector employees, full-time or part-time, who miscarry a baby up to 20 weeks into pregnancy will receive 5 days of paid leave. The government hope that these reforms will encourage private-sector employers to implement the same policy.
New South Wales Launches Paid Miscarriage Leave for Public Sector Employees, Effective from July 1
From 1 July, New South Wales public-sector employees, full-time or part-time, who miscarry a baby up to 20 weeks into pregnancy will receive 5 days of paid leave. The government hope that these reforms will encourage private-sector employers to implement the same policy.
New South Wales Launches Paid Parental Leave for Public Sector Employees, Effective from July 1
From 1 July, New South Wales public-sector employees will have access to 14 days of paid parental leave. This will apply to any public sector employee who is the primary caregiver of a child born on or after July 1.
Vaccine Compensation No-Fault Scheme Launched
From September 6, a vaccine compensation scheme will take effect to shield employers and medical professionals. For anyone who suffers from side effects of coronavirus jabs they will be eligible to apply for compensation without the need to go through legal proceedings.
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10-Day Minimum Sick Leave Takes Effect
The minimum number of sick leave for employees in New Zealand increased from 5 days to 10 days on 24 July.
Reinstatement of Wage Subsidy Due to Lockdown
Businesses in the country can apply for wage subsidies if they expect to experience a 40% loss of revenue due to alert level 4. Businesses will be eligible for NZ$600 per week for each full-time employee and NZ$359 for part-time employees.
COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement Can Be Included in New Employment Contracts
Employers can include a COVID-19 vaccination requirement in new employment agreements. However, this does not apply to existing ones, unless it is agreed to.
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