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
- Relaunch of Employment Support Scheme (ESS)
- Bill Tabled to Allow Employers Fire Employees Refusing to Get Vaccinated
- Bill to Strengthen Employees’ Retirement Protection
- Vaccine Pass Comes into Effect 24 February 2022
- Employers Can Terminate Unvaccinated Employees Under Vaccine Pass Arrangement
- Tax filing of Employer’s Returns Extended to 1 June 2022
- Mainland China
- Further Tax Cuts and Assistance for Businesses
- Government Hopes to Create 13 Million in 2022
- 2021 Annual Tax Reconsolidation (“ATR”) Will be Launched from 1 March 2022
- Announcement of the State Taxation Administration on Special Additional Deductions of Infant and Child Care for Individual Income Tax
- Expansion of Maternity and Paternity Leave Policies
- Increase in Occupational Accident Insurance Benefits
- National Health Insurance Degree Upper Limit Change
- COVID-19 Rules Eased
- New Point-Based System for Employment Pass (EP) Applicants
- Streamlined Entry Requirements for Workers in Construction, Marine Shipyard and Process (CMP) Sectors
- Higher Personal Income Tax for Year of Assessment 2024
- Employers Required to Purchase a Primary Care Plan (PCP) For Migrant Workers From 1 April 2022
- Entry Approval Requirements to be Removed for Long-Term Pass Holders
- Entry-Level Waste Collection Workers’ Monthly Salary to Increase in Stages
- New Minimum Wage Comes into Effect 1 May 2022
- Semarak Niaga Keluarga Malaysia Programme Aimed at Increasing Employment
- Wage Subsidy Programme (PSU)
- Borders Reopen in April 2022
- Maternity Leave Increases for Government Employees
- Stimulus Package Approved
- Increase Overtime Working Hours from the Current 40 Hours to 60 Hours a Month
- Updates to Mandatory Pension Contributions in 2022
- Department of Labor and Employment Proposes Wage Subsidy Programme
- Overseas Filipino Workers Get Expanded Insurance Coverage
- Bill Filed to Prevent Employers from Contacting Staff Outside Working Hours
- DO No. 232-22: COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program for Affected Workers in Areas Under Alert Level 3
- DO 221 A- 22: Guideline in the Accreditation of Agents and Authorised Representatives for Filing Alien Employment Permit
- Labor Advisory No 01: Isolation and Quarantine Leaves of Employees in the Private sector
- South Korea
- Serious Disaster Punishment Act Comes into Effect
- Amendments to Industrial Accident Insurance Act
- Businesses Can Re-Apply for Employment Maintenance Subsidy for 2022
- Published Casebook on Sexual Harassment and Discrimination
- Review of Old-Age Pension System
- Review of the Employment Insurance System
- Obligation for SME Employers to Take Measures to Prevent Power Harassment in the Workplace
- Relaxed Requirements for Fixed-Term Workers to Take Childcare and Family Care Leave
- Obligation To Inform and Confirm the Intention of Individual Employees About the Childcare Leave System
- Digital Training Programmes to be Launched by Government
- Pilot Programme to Test Paid Sick Leave for Casual Workers in Victoria
- Reopening of International Borders on 21 February
- Minimum Wage for Horticulture from 28 April 2022
- Unpaid Pandemic Leave Extended
- Removing The $450 Per Month Threshold for Super Guarantee Eligibility
- Get Ready for Fringe Benefits Tax Time
- New Zealand
- Minimum Wage Increased to NZ$21.20
- Accident Compensation Act List of ACC-Covered Occupational Diseases to be Updated
- Support Scheme for Struggling Businesses
- Close Contact Exemption Scheme for Key Workers
- Automatically Issued Income Tax Assessments and Individual Income Tax Returns – IR3s
Relaunch of Employment Support Scheme (ESS)
The government will bring back the Employment Support Scheme (ESS) to help employers cover employee salaries during the 3-month subsidy period from May to July 2022.
Employees with salaries higher than HK$30,000 will not be eligible, and subsidies will be capped at HK$8,000 a month for each employee. Business sectors not affected by the pandemic will not be covered.
Bill Tabled to Allow Employers Fire Employees Refusing to Get Vaccinated
The government has tabled the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2022, which if passed, gives employers the power to terminate workers who refuse to get vaccinated without a valid reason.
Bill to Strengthen Employees’ Retirement Protection
The Employment and Retirement Schemes Legislation (Offsetting Arrangement) (Amendment) Bill was gazetted, aims to improve employees’ retirement protection and strengthen the retirement protection function of the Mandatory Provident Fund.
Vaccine Pass Comes into Effect 24 February 2022
From 24 February 2022, people aged 12 or above are required to be vaccinated to enter different businesses and premises as set out by the government. These include restaurants, gyms, beauty parlours, shopping malls, and supermarkets.
Employers Can Terminate Unvaccinated Employees Under Vaccine Pass Arrangement
According to the Chief Executive, employers can terminate unvaccinated employees who cannot go to work due to new “vaccine pass” arrangements launched on 24 February 2022.
Tax filing of Employer’s Returns Extended to 1 June 2022
The Inland Revenue Department has extended employer’s returns till June 1, 2022.
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Further Tax Cuts and Assistance for Businesses
For businesses in industries affected by COVID-19, greater tax cuts and targeted support will be implemented, according to Premier Li Keqiang.
Government Hopes to Create 13 Million in 2022
Premier Li Keqiang has promised, “pro-job policies” such as tax and fee cuts totalling 2.5 trillion yuan ($400 billion) for businesses, particularly for SMEs.
2021 Annual Tax Reconsolidation (“ATR”) Will be Launched from 1 March 2022
All taxpayers who are considered as China tax residents may obtain the amount of annual tax payable by declaring their annual comprehensive income and conduct tax refund/pay for unpaid tax amount accordingly.
Announcement of the State Taxation Administration on Special Additional Deductions of Infant and Child Care for Individual Income Tax
As part of the special additional deductions for individual income tax, the State Council has announced tax-relief policies for parents raising children under 3. Starting from Jan 1, 2022, the individual taxable income of such parents can be reduced by a total of 1,000 yuan ($156) per month for each child. Parents can choose one party to enjoy 100% or two parties to enjoy 50% respectively.
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Expansion of Maternity and Paternity Leave Policies
Pregnant women can take up to 7 days of paid leave, instead of 5, for prenatal health checks. Male spouses are eligible for seven days of paid paternity leave, which can be used to accompany their wives to prenatal appointments. Employers will be required to pay for the sixth and seventh days of their employees’ parental leave and then apply to the Bureau of Labor Insurance for reimbursement.
Increase in Occupational Accident Insurance Benefits
The lower limit of Occupational Accident Insurance benefit has been raised to minimum wage (TWD 25,250 in 2022), and the upper limit has also been increased to TWD 72,800, effective from May 1st, 2022.
National Health Insurance Degree Upper Limit Change
TW National Health Insurance (NHI) Bureau is now proposing to raise the NHI Degree Upper Limit from TWD 182,000 to 219,500, which may be effective the soonest from May 1st, 2022.
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Strict Policies for Unvaccinated Employees Returning to Workplace
COVID-19 measures have been eased further from 29 March 2022. They include:
- Max group size gatherings raised to 10
- Optional mask-wearing outdoors
- Up to 75% of employees can return to the workplace
- Increase of capacity limits
New Point-Based System for Employment Pass (EP) Applicants
A new point-based scoring system will be used to evaluate Employment Pass (EP) applicants. Known as Complementarity Assessment Framework (Compass), the assessment will be based on a set of 6 criteria.
Streamlined Entry Requirements for Workers in Construction, Marine Shipyard and Process (CMP) Sectors
Entry requirements for new work permit holders in the CMP sectors will be streamlined from 13 March 2022. New arrivals via the industry-led route will undergo a 2-day pre-departure programme in their home country and complete a 3-day stay-home notice and onboarding period at a MOM centre from 13 March.
Higher Personal Income Tax for Year of Assessment 2024
Individual income tax will be increased from the year of assessment 2024 (Income earned from 1 January 2023 to 31 December 2023). Chargeable income from SG$500,000 – 1,000,000 will be taxed at 23%, while in excess of SG$1,000,000 will be taxed at 24%.
Employers Required to Purchase a Primary Care Plan (PCP) For Migrant Workers From 1 April 2022
From 1 April 2022, employers will be required to purchase a primary care plan for migrant workers as part of work pass requirements for Work Permit and S Pass holders who live in dormitories or work in the CMP sectors.
Entry Approval Requirements to be Removed for Long-Term Pass Holders
From 21 February 2022, 2359 hours (Singapore Time), the entry approval requirement will be removed for all fully vaccinated Long-Term Pass Holders except work permit holders.
Entry-Level Waste Collection Workers’ Monthly Salary to Increase in Stages
The monthly basic salary for entry-level waste collection workers will be increased to SG$2,210 in 2023 and then to SG$3,260 in 2028. This is applicable for Singaporeans or permanent residents.
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New Minimum Wage Comes into Effect 1 May 2022
The minimum wage will be raised to RM1,500 per month from 1 May 2022. However, the government are considering wage increase deferrals for SMEs.
Semarak Niaga Keluarga Malaysia Programme Aimed at Increasing Employment
Malaysia has launched the Semarak Niaga Keluarga Malaysia Programme which will provides SMEs direct loans, financing guarantees, and equity injections to boost employment. The scheme has funding of RM40 billion and was launched on 21 February 2022.
Wage Subsidy Programme (PSU)
A wage subsidy programme (PSU) comprising RM20.107 billion was introduced to maintain the employment of 2,951,245 local workers. Applications have been open since Jan 1, 2022, until March 31, 2022.
Borders Reopen in April 2022
Malaysia will lift the remaining COVID-19 restrictions on enterprises and allow fully vaccinated tourists quarantine-free entry from 1 April 2022.
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Maternity Leave Increases for Government Employees
The cabinet has given preliminary approval to extend paid maternity leave for public officials from 90 days to 188 days.
See how your HR procedures can benefit by partnering with us!
Stimulus Package Approved
A 347 trillion dong (US$15.3 billion) stimulus package has been approved to revive its economy by assisting virus-hit businesses, workers and increasing infrastructure spending.
Increase Overtime Working Hours from the Current 40 Hours to 60 Hours a Month
The Vietnamese Government has decided to raise a worker’s monthly overtime limit from 40 to 60 hours.
The decision was approved by all members of the National Assembly Standing Committee and will be in effect from 1 April 2022 until the end of 2022. The decision also raises the annual overtime cap for almost all industries from 200 to 300 hours.
Currently, only sectors prioritised by the government for economic growth have a 300-hour overtime limit.
Vietnam is experiencing an economic boom! Links can help your business further streamline HR operations.
Updates to Mandatory Pension Contributions in 2022
Effective 1 March 2022, contributions to the National Social Security System have been updated for 2022. Both the employer and employee are required to make monthly contributions as a percentage of the employee’s monthly salary.
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Department of Labor and Employment Proposes Wage Subsidy Programme
A proposed wage subsidy worth PHP24 billion by DOLE will run from April to June 2022, benefitting an expected 1 million workers.
Overseas Filipino Workers Get Expanded Insurance Coverage
OFWs will get expanded insurance coverage due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Insurance policy guarantees coverage in case of death, disability, repatriation, medical emergency, and litigation.
Bill Filed to Prevent Employers from Contacting Staff Outside Working Hours
The Workers’ Rest Law bill has been filed which seeks to prohibit employers from contacting employees during rest hours if the issue is non-urgent.
DO No. 232-22: COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program for Affected Workers in Areas Under Alert Level 3
Displaced workers and suspended workers from private sectors due to pandemic from area where Alert Level 3 or higher was declared from January 2022 onward is granted with P 5,000 one-time financial assistance.
DO 221 A- 22: Guideline in the Accreditation of Agents and Authorised Representatives for Filing Alien Employment Permit
Employers’ agent or representative is required to process accreditation with DOLE to be able to file Alien Employment Permit (EP) for foreign nationals working with a local entity in the Philippines.
Labor Advisory No 01: Isolation and Quarantine Leaves of Employees in the Private Sector
Employers are urged to adopt and implement an appropriate paid isolation and quarantine leave programme on top of existing leave benefits for employees falling under the case definition of close contact, suspect, probable or confirmed case who shall complete an isolation period in accordance with Dept of Health protocols.
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Serious Disaster Punishment Act Comes into Effect
The Serious Disaster Punishment Act comes into effect on 27 January 2022. The act ensures employers comply with their obligations to take safety and health measures to prevent major accidents from occurring. Workplaces with 50 or more workers will come under the act from the stated date and for workplaces, with 5-49 employees the act will come into force in 2024.
Amendments to Industrial Accident Insurance Act
The amendment to the Industrial Accident Insurance Act allows workers who give birth to a child born as a result of an occupational accident during pregnancy to apply for workers’ compensation insurance will come into effect on 12 January 2023.
Businesses Can Re-Apply for Employment Maintenance Subsidy for 2022
Businesses that applied for the employment maintenance subsidy and used up the subsidy can apply for a new subsidy. To receive the subsidy in 2022, the sales of the workplace must decrease by at least 15% compared to the same month of the previous year, the average monthly sales of the previous year, or the average monthly sales of the preceding 3 months.
Published Casebook on Sexual Harassment and Discrimination
The Ministry of Employment and Labour has published a book of best practices on sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
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Review of Old-Age Pension System
The standard amount for suspension of the in-service old-age pension system for recipients of the special old-age welfare pension paid from 60 to 64 years old will be raised from 280,000 yen to 470,000 yen.
Review of the Employment Insurance System
Updates to the employment insurance system include:
- Regarding the employment insurance premium rate for unemployment benefits, the first half of the year (April-September) will be 2 / 1,000 and the second half of the year (October-March 5th year of Reiwa) will be 6 / 1,000. * fifty-fifty split between employees and business owner
- Special provisions regarding the number of days of basic allowance for employees who have left the company due to suspension of employment. Extension of the number of days of benefits in areas where employment opportunities are insufficient, provisional measures for education and training support benefits will be continued until the 6th year of Reiwa.
Obligation for SME Employers to Take Measures to Prevent Power Harassment in the Workplace
From April 1, 4th year of Reiwa, the measures that employers should take in terms of employment management will be obligatory in order to prevent power harassment in the workplace.
Relaxed Requirements for Fixed-Term Workers to Take Childcare and Family Care Leave
The requirement for fixed-term workers to have been continuously employed by the employer for at least one year to take childcare leave and family care leave is abolished. However, if a labour-management agreement is concluded, workers who have been continuously employed by the employer for less than one year may be excluded from the requirements, in the same way as workers who have been employed by the employer for a fixed period of time.
Obligation To Inform and Confirm the Intention of Individual Employees About the Childcare Leave System
The employer is required to inform workers who report pregnancy or childbirth of their own or their spouse about the childcare leave system and where to apply for leave, and to confirm their intention to take leave on an individual basis.
The employer is obliged to take one of several measures, such as providing training and setting up a consultation service, to ensure that requests for childcare leave are carried out smoothly.
Digital Training Programmes to be Launched by Government
The government aims to launch educational programs aimed at teaching digital skills to unemployed and part-time workers affected by the pandemic. The aim is to offer digital courses nationwide by fiscal year 2023.
Pilot Programme to Test Paid Sick Leave for Casual Workers in Victoria
Casual and contract workers will receive 5 days of paid sick leave per year, paid at the annual national minimum wage of AU$20.33 per hour. This 2-year pilot programme will be for workers from eligible industries only.
Reopening of International Borders on 21 February
Fully vaccinated tourists and all visa holders will be allowed to enter Australia quarantine-free from 21 February 2022.
Minimum Wage for Horticulture from 28 April 2022
Workers under the Horticulture Award must receive a minimum wage of AU$25.41 per hour from the 28th April 2022.
Unpaid Pandemic Leave Extended
The provisions for unpaid pandemic leave have been extended until 30 June 2022.
Removing The $450 Per Month Threshold for Super Guarantee Eligibility
From 1 July 2022, employers will be required to make super guarantee contributions to their eligible employee’s super fund regardless of how much the employee is paid. Employees must still satisfy other super guarantee eligibility requirements.
Get Ready for Fringe Benefits Tax Time
The 2022 fringe benefits tax (FBT) year ends on 31 March, so it’s time to start considering your FBT lodgement and payment obligations.
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Minimum Wage Increased to NZ$21.20
From 1 April 2022, the hourly minimum wage will be increased to NZ$21.20. The starting-out and training minimum wage will also increase from NZ$16 to NZ$16.96 per hour.
Accident Compensation Act List of ACC-Covered Occupational Diseases to be Updated
New Zealand is planning to review the Accident Compensation Act 2001’s list of ACC-covered occupational diseases to keep up to date and cover relevant occupational diseases.
Support Scheme for Struggling Businesses
Struggling businesses will be able to receive NZ$ 4,000 per business plus $400 per full-time employee (Capped at 50 or NZ$24,000) through the COVID-19 support scheme. Businesses will need to show a 40% drop in 7 consecutive days within the 6 weeks prior to the shift to Phase 2 of the Omicron response on 15 February, compared to 7 days after that date.
Close Contact Exemption Scheme for Key Workers
From 10 February, the close contact exemption scheme will mean that close contacts of infected persons can continue working if they return a daily negative rapid antigen test and work within critical services.
Automatically Issued Income Tax Assessments and Individual Income Tax Returns – IR3s
The tax year is from 1 April to 31 March. The aim is that you pay the right amount of tax at the right time so that you don’t overpay during the year or have a bill to pay at the end of the tax year.
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