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
- Government Approves HK$12.1 billion in Wage Subsidies
- New Visa Plan to Attract Mainland and Overseas Talent
- Increase in Salaries for Construction Workers
- Minimum Wage Increased for Domestic Helpers
- Macau’s Base Rate of the Discount Window Increased to 4.75%
- Mainland China
- China Passes New Women’s Protection Law
- China to Resume Passport, Visa Issuance From 8 January 2023
- Shanghai Releases 22 Measures to Boost Economy
- 5.5%-7.5% Salary Increase for Lower-Wage Workers
- Recommendations for Better Workplace Injury Compensation
- Programme to Help Migrant Workers Manage Health Problems
- Measures to Improve Safety of Worker Transportation to Be Implemented
- Chatbot Created to Help File Unpaid Salary Claims
- One Rest Day a Month for Migrant Domestic Workers
- Gig Workers in Singapore to Benefit from National Savings Scheme
- New Scheme Allows Businesses to Temporarily Hire Foreign Workers
- Malaysia to Create 70,000 Job Opportunities for Targeted Groups
- Malaysia Postpones Minimum Wage Order for Small Businesses
- Thailand Amends Civil and Commercial Code Regarding Corporate Law
- New Legislation on Personal Data Breach Notification
- Vietnam Set to Increase Wages From July 2023
- Analysis of Decree No.41/2022 Amending 02 Decrees on Invoice and VAT Deduction
- Withdrawal of Household Registration Books in Vietnam
- Changes to Annual Tax on Income and Monthly Tax on Salary
- Foreign Worker Commission Established
- Indonesia to Increase Minimum Wage for 38 Provinces in 2023
- Personal Data Protection Law and Impact on M&A Transactions
- Criminal Liability for Corporations under Indonesia’s New Criminal Code
- Indonesia Issues Regulation to Revoke and Replace the Job Creation Law
- Indonesia Announces that Benefit in Kind Expense Becomes a Deductible Expense for Company Tax
- Online Portal for Claiming Maternity Benefit Launched
- Minimum Wage Increase for Skilled, Semi-Skilled, and Unskilled Workers in Delhi
- Assam to Decriminalise the Minimum Wages Act 1948
- Workers in the Philippines Receive Financial Assistance
- 10-Day Service Incentive Leave in Private Sector Implemented
- Increase in SSS Contributions Effective as of January 2023
- New Tax Table for the Year 2023
- Temporary Suspension of Increase in PhilHealth Contribution 2023
- South Korea
- Government to Increase Return-to-Work Rate of Industrial Accident Workers to 69%
- Government Publishes Yearly List of Companies Who Fail to Hire Disabled Workers
- Grace Period Provided to Small Firms For 52-Hour Workweek System
- New Laws: Vacation Pay For Contracts Terminated During Miscarriage/Stillbirth Leave, Insured Qualifications, Minimum Age for Artists & Labour Providers, Corporate Insurance Premiums
- Ministries Announce New Payroll Subsidy Program
- Bigger Tax Breaks For Businesses
- Employees in Japan Can Receive Wages From E-Wallets Starting April 2023
- South Australia’s Law for 15 Days Domestic Violence Leave Legislated
- 10 Days Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave Entitlement
- Australian Government Passes Secure Jobs, Better Pay Act 2022
- Australian Employees Assured Up to 6 Months of Paid Parental Leave
- Australia Signs Off on Workplace Relations Law
- Wage Secrecy Clauses Banned in Job Contracts
- Child Support and The Protected Earnings Amount for 2023
- New Zealand
- Amendments to Partner Work Visa Postponed
- Pay Equity Settlement to be Extended to More Social Workers
- Recommencement of Skilled Migrant and Parent Visa Categories
- 20,000 People Placed Into Jobs Through National Programme
Government Approves HK$12.1 billion in Wage Subsidies
Through its employer support scheme under the Anti-epidemic Fund, Hong Kong has given the green light for wage subsidies for eligible employers as of October 2022.
The subsidies are granted as a “full subsidy”, “half subsidy” or “elderly subsidy” and are meant to cover 1.57 million employees. 98,000 self-employed individuals also received a one-off subsidy which totalled over HK$780 million.
Another initiative under the Anti-epidemic fund is the Job Creation Scheme (JCS) which will be implemented over 3 phases – where HK$19.8 billion will be spent to create 90,000 time-limited jobs. As of mid-November 2022, 68,000 of those jobs had been filled.
New Visa Plan to Attract Mainland and Overseas Talent
Announced on October 2022, Hong Kong’s “Top Talent Pass Scheme” is expected to bring in Mainland and overseas top talent to pursue careers in the Special Administrative Region. The 2-year pass will not require applicants to have a job offer before moving to Hong Kong.
At present, this visa scheme is targeted at high-earners and recent graduates from the world’s top 100 universities who possess some work experience. However, 10,000 spots will be reserved for fresh graduates who don’t have work experience just yet.
Increase in Salaries for Construction Workers
As of 1st November 2022, employees in 12 types of construction work will see a hike in their daily pay. The increments are as follows:
Plasterers: HK$1,600 to HK$1,800.
Ceiling installers: HK$1,250 to HK$1,400
Metal and marble workers: HK$1,300 to HK$1,400
Painters, carpenters and wood sculptors: HK$1,400 to HK$1,500.
Other workers including bamboo and metal scaffolders, plumbers, formworkers and levelers: overall hike of at least 3%.
Highest-paid workers such as concrete workers and bar benders who earn HK$2,600 daily and excavators who earn HK$1,400 daily will continue to see their wages frozen for the time being.
Minimum Wage Increased for Domestic Helpers
Hong Kong has increased the monthly wage for foreign domestic helpers to HK$4,730 a month – a hike of HK$100. This will apply to all foreign domestic helper contracts signed on 1 October 2022 or later.
Together with this, the food allowance for domestic helpers has also been increased by HK$23 – from not less than HK$1,173 a month to not less than HK$1,196 a month. Employers have the option of either providing this food allowance, or meals free of charge.
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Macau’s Base Rate of the Discount Window Increased to 4.75%
As of 15 December 2022, The Monetary Authority of Macao raised the Base Rate of the Discount Window by 50 basis points to 4.75%.
This was taken into effect to follow the Hong Kong Monetary Authority as the pataca is linked to HKD.
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China Passes New Women’s Protection Law
Effective as of 1 January 2023, the law is aimed to give women stronger protection against sexual harassment and gender discrimination. The key changes in the law include:
- Eliminating gender discrimination when hiring
- Protecting female employees’ birth rights
- Preventing sexual harassment
- Protecting the privacy and personal information of women
China to Resume Passport, Visa Issuance From 8 January 2023
China is set to resume the issuance of passports for Chinese mainland residents, ordinary visas and residence permits for foreigners, as well as tourist visa exemption for short-term travellers.
At the same time, China has stopped issuing short-term visas to individuals coming from South Korea and Japan.
Shanghai Releases 22 Measures to Boost Economy
The Shanghai Municipal Government announced a set of 22 measures publicly on 28 September 2022.
Relief and support measures for businesses:
- Loans and risk compensation funds for MSMEs
- Deferment of medical insurance
- Expanding the scope of fees reduction and exemption policies
Measures for attracting foreign investment and trade:
- Measures to support foreign trade
- Measures for stabilizing foreign investment
Measures for boosting consumption and stimulating growth:
- Promoting the consumption of large commodities
- Boosting consumption in culture, tourism, and sports industries
Measures for streamlining investment and growth:
- Investment in infrastructure and projects that can improve people’s livelihood
- Investment in other key sectors
Increasing support for small businesses:
- Small and micro enterprises
- Specialized small and medium-sized enterprises
Measures for supporting specific industries:
- Cultural, tourism, and sports
- Life services
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5.5%-7.5% Salary Increase for Lower-Wage Workers
As the government has taken the National Wages Council’s recommendations into account, companies in Singapore that have seen good growth prospects have been advised to increase the salaries of lower-wage workers.
The increments are suggested to be between 5.5%-7.5% or at least SG$80 -$100, depending on whichever is higher. This will be applicable to employees earning SG$2,200 or less per month.
Companies that have not performed well are still advised to provide lower-wage employees a built-in pay increase at a lower percentage, but then consider hiking their pay later if the business improves.
These recommendations are set to take effect from 1 December 2022 to 30 November 2023.
Recommendations for Better Workplace Injury Compensation
The Singapore government has accepted 12 recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Platform Workers to enforce better workplace injury compensation as well as more consistent Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions.
Key recommendations are:
- All platform companies are to provide the same scope and level of compensation as employees’ entitlement under the Work Injury Compensation Act.
- Platform companies should compensate employees for any wages lost if an injury takes place, including what the employee would have earned from other platforms during the time they were not able to work owing to the injury.
- Align CPF contribution rates for platform workers with rates for employees.
- A law to be passed to allow platform workers to have formal representation.
These recommendations will be implemented in a phased manner from the second half of 2024.
Programme to Help Migrant Workers Manage Health Problems
A new programme titled Project MOCCA (Management of Oral and Chronic Conditions and Ailments) has been launched in November 2022 to help migrant workers handle their medical conditions. Developed by the Ministry of Manpower, this programme is set to benefit 300,000 migrant workers.
The project will also see the creation of a one-stop Health Library which will give workers access to materials to chronic, oral, infectious, and mental health diseases, as well as nutrition in their native languages.
Measures to Improve Safety of Worker Transportation to Be Implemented
The Ministry of Manpower has announced new measures to further ensure the safety of worker transportation. Under the measures:
- Employers are to provide a minimum of 30 minutes of rest for workers who also serve as drivers and have worked at least 6 hours onsite before they can transport other workers in lorry rear decks.
- Employers must also appoint a “vehicle buddy” for all lorries with workers in rear decks. Vehicle buddies must help check that the driver is fit to drive and is alert while driving.
- Lorries used to ferry workers must have rain covers.
These measures come into effect starting 1 January 2023.
Chatbot Created to Help File Unpaid Salary Claims
From March 2023, employees will be able to file unpaid salary claims online with the help of a chatbot known as ‘TADM (Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management)’. The chatbot – that will be offered in multiple languages – will be able to answer questions employees have on whether they qualify to file a claim, as well as other steps they can take to protect themselves.
TADM will be integrated with the Online Dispute Resolution Portal which gives workers a variety of options such as emails, text messages, and video conferences.
One Rest Day a Month for Migrant Domestic Workers
Apart from the existing weekly rest day for migrant domestic workers which can be swapped for compensation, employers must give their workers one rest day a month which neither employer not employee can drop in favour of compensation.
This comes into effect on 1 January 2023 under the Employment of Foreign Manpower (Work Passes) Regulations.
Gig Workers in Singapore to Benefit from National Savings Scheme
Ride-hailing and delivery platform workers will now receive the same coverage of work injury insurance and contributions to the country’s CPF savings and pension scheme.
In November 2022, the Singapore government accepted a set of recommendations by the Advisory Committee on Platform workers and the legislative changes will come into effect as soon as late 2024.
New Scheme Allows Businesses to Temporarily Hire Foreign Workers
The M-SEP scheme gives businesses the opportunity to temporarily hire S Pass and Work Permit holders above their existing Dependency Ratio Ceiling (DRC) and S Pass sub-DRC for 2 years.
Businesses that are eligible will be able to obtain additional S Pass and Work Permit quota up to 5% of their base headcount, which comes with certain conditions to be met by the respective businesses.
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Malaysia to Create 70,000 Job Opportunities for Targeted Groups
The Malaysian government has allocated RM150 million (US$32 million) for this project under the nation’s 2023 Budget’s Hiring Incentives Programme. These jobs will be created for targeted groups including the disabled, women coming back into the workforce after a career break, former convicts, military retirees, indigenous people and workers in the tourism sectors.
Employers who hire from the following groups will receive between RM600 (US$128) and RM750 (US$160) per month for three months.
Malaysia Postpones Minimum Wage Order for Small Businesses
The Malaysian government has agreed to defer the minimum wage – but only for small businesses. While the new minimum wage of RM1,500 is slated to take effect on 1 January 2023, companies with under 5 employees will have until 1 July 2023 to implement it.
This decision was made after concerns were raised by several parties that smaller companies may not be sufficiently prepared to increase their workers’ salaries just yet. Companies that aren’t affected by this postponement are expected to comply with the new minimum wage come January.
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Thailand Amends Civil and Commercial Code Regarding Corporate Law
In September 2022, Thailand approved some key changes to its Civil and Commercial Code:
- Dissolution of a company: If the number of shareholders falls to one or the company cannot exist anymore, the company may be dissolved by court.
- Number of promoters: The number of promoters required when incorporating a new company has dropped from three to two. Promoters can be either Thai nationals or foreigners with valid work permits.
- Passing resolutions at shareholders’ general meetings: Can only be done if at least two shareholders who represent at least one quarter of the share capital are present. The shareholders can be present in person or through a representative.
- Notice of general meeting of shareholders: Notices for these meetings do not have to be published in newspapers anymore. Notice sent via post will suffice. In the case of bearer shares, notices must be published in a newspaper or through electronic media.
- Distribution of dividends: Must be done either within one month of a shareholders’ meeting or the directors passing resolution to approve the dividend payment.
- Mergers: Previously, when two companies merged, both original companies would be dissolved upon the formation of the new one. Under the amended law, the merged company will be dissolved while the other assumes the status of a juristic person, and the assets, liabilities and obligations of the dissolved company.
The Civil and Commercial Code Amendment Act (No. 23) B.E. 2565 (2022) (the “Act”) was released in the Government Gazette on 18 November 2022. The act will come into effect on 16 February 2023.
New Legislation on Personal Data Breach Notification
Thailand’s personal data breach notification law which took effect from 15 December 2022 sets stricter requirements on a data handler’s obligation to notify when a suspected breach happens.
Enterprises that handle data must notify of a breach whether it was done wilfully or by accident. Who they need to notify depends on the risk of the breach, and an assessment for this should be carried out. Individuals who may be affected by the breach should be notified only if the risk is high.
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Vietnam Set to Increase Wages From July 2023
Vietnam will be increasing its minimum wage rate from 1.49 million Vietnamese dong (US$60.10) to 1.8 million Vietnamese dong (US$72.60) from July 2023.
From January 2023, the pensions and social insurance benefits for citizens who retired before 1995 will also increase by 12.5%, while spending on social security policies which are linked to the base salary will rise by 20.8%.
Analysis of the Decree No.41/2022 Amending 02 Decrees on Invoice and VAT Deduction
The Vietnamese government announced that in accordance with Decree No.15/2022/ND-CP, there will be a reduction of 2% of the VAT from 1 February 2022 to 31 December 2022 for goods and services carrying a VAT rate of 10%.
Hence, the 8% VAT rate goes back to 10% effective as of 1 January 2023.
Withdrawal of Household Registration Books in Vietnam
Taking effect on 1 January 2023, the Vietnamese Government announced Decree 104/2022/ND-CP on supplementing several articles of decrees in relation to the submission and presentation of household registration books and paper temporary residence books.
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Changes to Annual Tax on Income and Monthly Tax on Salary
As of 1 January 2023, sub-decree 196 came into effect which sees amendments made to Cambodia’s tax laws:
Concerning tax on income for physical persons, sole proprietorships and partnerships:
- taxable income up to 18,000,000 riels will not be taxed; and
- taxable income from 18,000,001 to 24,000,000 riels will be taxed at 5%
For monthly tax on salary for tax resident employees:
- taxable income up to 1,500,000 riels will not be taxed: and
- taxable income from 1,500,001 riels to 2,000,000 riels will be taxed at 5%.
Foreign Worker Commission Established
A commission to monitor the work status of foreigners in Cambodia has been created and announced on 16 December 2022 – comprising the Minister of Labour, six vice-chairpersons and 14 members. The commission will largely focus on fighting human and labour trafficking.
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Indonesia to Increase Minimum Wage for 38 Provinces in 2023
Indonesia announced the Provincial Minimum Wage (UMP) which states that the increase in the Minimum Wage effective as of 1 January 2023 is set at a rate of 10% at its maximum for all provinces in the country.
Personal Data Protection Law and Impact on M&A Transactions
On 17 October 2022, Indonesia enacted a specific law regular personal data protection. The PDP Law requires Personal Data Controllers to notify the relevant Personal Data Subjects before and after conducting an M&A transaction.
Criminal Liability for Corporations under Indonesia’s New Criminal Code
In December 2022, Indonesia unveiled its new Criminal Code (Kitab Undang-Undang Hukum Pidana or KUHP) which introduces a set of provisions on corporate criminal liability.
Under Article 45 of the new KUHP, corporations are subject to penalties for criminal offences.
Indonesia Issues Regulation to Revoke and Replace the Job Creation Law
Effective as of 30 December 2022, the Indonesian Government has issued a Government Regulation in Lieu of Law No.2 Year 2022 (“Perppu No.2”). For the employment sector, the new law brings about some significant changes to minimum wage arrangements and outsourcing.
Indonesia Announces that Benefit in Kind Expense Becomes a Deductible Expense for Company Tax
Benefit in kind expense becomes a deductible expense but also becomes an object of income tax for its recipients with Law number 7 of 2021 regarding Harmonization of Tax Regulations which is regulated through Government Regulation number 55 of 2022, effective as of 20 December 2022. Benefit in kind is the provision of goods or enjoyment and not in the form of money.
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Online Portal for Claiming Maternity Benefit Launched
Those wanting to claim maternity benefits previously had to visit physical branches. To make it more convenient for mothers, the Ministry of Labour and Employment has introduced an online platform for these benefits as of November 2022 – simplifying the process and allowing them to make these claims no matter where they are.
Minimum Wage Increase for Skilled, Semi-Skilled, and Unskilled Workers in Delhi
As of 1 October 2022, certain groups of workers in Delhi had their monthly pay hiked – a move the government made due to high inflation. The increments are as follows:
- Unskilled workers: from Rs16,506 to Rs16,792
- Semi-skilled workers: from Rs18,187 to Rs18,499
- Skilled workers: from Rs20,019 to Rs20,357
- Non-matriculated employees: from Rs18,187 to Rs18,499
- Matriculate employees: from Rs20,019 to Rs20,357
- Graduates/those with higher educational qualifications: from Rs21,756 to Rs22,146.
Assam to Decriminalise the Minimum Wages Act 1948
Assam recently tabled amendments to remove criminal penalties in the Minimum Wages Act and replace them with civil penalties instead. As 10 laws within this act are set to be amended, it is hoped that this will improve ease of business, given that existing penalties are too harsh on employers – especially for offences that are unintentional.
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Workers in the Philippines Receive Financial Assistance
As of December 2022, for nearly two million informal sector workers who were affected by the pandemic and other natural disasters that hit the Philippines, more than PHP8 billion of employment and cash assistance was distributed by the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) of the Philippines.
The aid was provided under Tupad, a community-based aid programme that provides emergency employment to displaced, underemployed and seasonal workers.
10-Day Service Incentive Leave in Private Sector Implemented
As of November 2022, The House of Representatives approved the measure seeking to increase the yearly service incentive leaves (SIL) of employees in the private sector from 5 to 10 days. The proposal explains that every employee who has carried out at least one year of service is entitled to a yearly service incentive leave of 10 days.
Increase in SSS Contributions Effective as of January 2023
The Social Security Act of 2018, which includes a provision that increases the SS contribution rate to 14%, the Minimum Monthly Salary Credit (MSC) to P4,000, and the maximum MSC to P30,000.00 will be effective as of January 2023.
New Tax Table for the Year 2023
Individual taxpayers will be subjected to lower tax rates. The new tax table, effective as of 1 January 2023, will exempt taxpayers with a net taxable income of not over P250,000 and will subject taxpayers with over P8,000,000 net taxable income to 35%.
Taxpayers in between who are previously taxed at 20% to 32% will benefit from the lower tax rates since they are now subject to 15% to 30% depending on the tax bracket they belong to.
Temporary Suspension of Increase in PhilHealth Contribution 2023
The 2023 scheduled increase of PhilHealth Contribution from 4% to 4.5% has been temporarily suspended as of 29 December 2022.
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Government to Increase Return-to-Work Rate of Industrial Accident Workers to 69%
In order to support workers who had had industrial accidents, the South Korean government has introduced the “Integrated Support System for Return to Work”. This initiative that is expected to help more injured workers be involved in economic activities again will be rolled out in March 2023.
Several measures are set to be taken such as:
- Reducing the burden of documentation when workers apply insurance for industrial accidents
- Improved calculation of the industrial accident insurance premium rate
- Improve the rate calculation criteria by separating special types of workers
- Shorten the period of workers’ accident investigation
Government Publishes Yearly List of Companies Who Fail to Hire Disabled Workers
In 2022’s list of companies that fail to meet legal requirements for hiring people with disabilities, South Korea has noted 436 organisations – all of them having 300 employees or more.
Under the country’s laws, state-owned organizations must have more than 3.4% of employees with disabilities. For private companies with over 50 employees, the number stands at 3.1%.
Employers who fail to meet their obligations are given six months to improve through training and measures to make the company able to hire people with disabilities.
Grace Period Provided to Small Firms For 52-Hour Workweek System
The Korean government will provide a one-year grace period to small firms who have 5 to 49 employees for a 52-hour workweek system. This system was initially announced in 2018 and applied to large businesses with 300 or more employees in July 2018 before being expanded to firms with 50 to 299 employees starting January 2020.
New Laws: Vacation Pay For Contracts Terminated During Miscarriage/Stillbirth Leave, Insured Qualifications, Minimum Age for Artists & Labour Providers, Corporate Insurance Premiums
Two bills that have passed South Korea’s National Assembly will see the following changes taking place in the near future:
- Fixed-term and dispatched workers can receive their remaining vacation pay even if their contract is terminated while they are on miscarriage or stillbirth leave.
- Persons will 2 or more insured qualifications who intend to receive job-seeker benefits can select and apply for the insured qualification.
- Artists and labour providers as young as 15 years old will be subject to employment insurance, and those younger than 15 can voluntarily sign up for the insurance on their own accord.
The Act on Collection of Premiums for Employment Insurance and Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance has also been amended, and these changes will mean that:
- If a corporation’s assets aren’t enough to cover its insurance premium, it’s unlimited liability partners and oligopolistic shareholders will have to bear these responsibilities.
- When a business is transferred or acquired, the transferee of the business will be responsible for the insufficient amount.
- When a worker joins or leaves the company in the middle of the month, the employment industrial accident compensation should be counted from the following month instead of a pro-rata basis where it is counted from the start of the month.
- When it comes to high insurance premiums and habitual delinquents, the personal information disclosure standards will be changed from 2 years to 1 year or more, and from KRW 1 billion to KRW 50 million or more.
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Ministries Announce New Payroll Subsidy Program
The Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Economic Affairs introduced a new wage subsidy program worth approximately NT$1.35 billion that is set to reduce the financial burden placed on local businesses. The program will help 60,000 part-time employees and 180,000 full-time employees. This programme is effective as of 1 January 2023.
Bigger Tax Breaks For Businesses
The Cabinet approved a draft amendment bill that seeks to raise tax deductions for eligible companies on equipment purchases and R&D expenditures in November 2022. The draft amendment to the Statute for Industrial Innovation proposes a tax break on 25% of the companies’ R&D costs and 5% of their equipment procurement spending, provided that the total deductions do not exceed 50% of their overall income taxes.
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Employees in Japan Can Receive Wages From E-Wallets Starting April 2023
App operators must go through a screening first, and companies considering this form of wage payment will also have to obtain consent from their employees.
The government has also set an upper limit amidst security concerns. The e-wallet will have a maximum balance of 1 million yen and employees can use the funds to carry out purchases directly.
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South Australia’s Law for 15 Days Domestic Violence Leave Legislated
The South Australian government has introduced to Parliament a legislation for paid leave for domestic violence victims and survivors. Changes made to the Fair Work Act 1994 will see these laws covering all workers regardless of which industry or sector they work in.
Paid leave will be granted for victims to be able to attend the following:
- Medical appointments
- Legal proceedings
- Making safety arrangements, and
- All other matters associated with family and domestic violence
10 Days Paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave Entitlement
While South Australia legislates on a state-level 15 day domestic violence leave, on a national level, victims and survivors will now get 10 days of paid leave.
Known as the family and domestic violence (FDV) leave, will come into effect from 1st February 2023 for most employees. For employees of small companies (less than 15 employees), they can access the leave 6 months later.
Employers are advised to prepare in advance for this by revising existing policies, familiarising themselves with the new law, updating relevant HR and payroll records and briefing employees properly.
Australian Government Passes Secure Jobs, Better Pay Act 2022
December 2 2022 saw the landmark Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Bill 2022 (Bill) passed both houses of Parliament.
On 6 December 2022, the Bill received royal assent and became the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022 (Act).
A significant number of changes were made to the Bill in the Senate, many of which related to the multi-enterprise bargaining provisions. The Act expands the concept of multi-enterprise bargaining which means more employees will be covered by enterprise agreements and many employers will likely be forced to bargain together.
Australian Employees Assured Up to 6 Months of Paid Parental Leave
As of now, Australian employees are allowed 18 weeks of paid parental leave and two weeks of secondary carer leave.
As the Prime Minister aims to invest in new parents as he believes it would provide a long-lasting economic return, the paid parental leave scheme (PPL) will increase by two weeks every year from 1 July 2024 until it hits the full 26 weeks by July 2026.
Australia Signs Off on Workplace Relations Law
As of November 2022, Labor’s industrial relations legislation has passed the House of Representatives after further government concessions limiting the application of multi-employer bargaining.
The new legislation will support low-paid employees, primarily women, in getting better pay packages and fairer working conditions.
Wage Secrecy Clauses Banned in Job Contracts
As of December 2022, Australia bans wage secrecy clauses in job contracts since pay secrecy clauses have long been used to conceal gender pay discrepancies in the country.
This will help close the country’s 14.1% gender pay gap.
Child Support and The Protected Earnings Amount for 2023
The Protected Earnings Amount (PEA) is the part of an employee’s or contractor’s pay that is exempted from child support deductions. The PEA doesn’t apply to garnishee notices requesting deductions under section 72A of the Child Support (Registration and Collection) Act 1988.
The PEA gets adjusted on 1 January each year to allow for increases in the cost of living.
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Amendments to Partner Work Visa Postponed
Key changes that were supposed to take effect in December 2022 have now been deferred to April 2023. The New Zealand government said that this was to better streamline the visa process, as well as to ensure that partners only get to enter higher-skilled jobs.
They also clarified that this will not affect current visa holders, and changes will only apply to applications after the implementation date.
Pay Equity Settlement to be Extended to More Social Workers
Pay equity will be given to all community and iwi organisations that employ social workers and receive funding from the Crown – benefiting around 4,600 individuals who do social work in New Zealand.
Recommencement of Skilled Migrant and Parent Visa Categories
To help New Zealand businesses weather through the global worker shortage, the country restarted two categories for residence visas in November 2022.
The restarting of these visas has come with some changes, such as a simplified points system and removing the planning range, allowing for all applications that meet the criteria to be processed. The number of visas granted yearly is expected to increase to 2,500.
20,000 People Placed Into Jobs Through National Programme
As of November 2022, New Zealand has successfully placed 20,000 people into jobs through its Flexi-Wage programme.
The programme has helped several sectors including employing jobseekers, including those in construction, retail, forestry, fishing, and food services.
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