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Insights Update — December 2023

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Atlas Team

Atlas is a global tech company that spans over 160 countries, offering expertise and software built for the future of work.

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Published: 22 Dec 2023

Australia - Working from home – Key considerations for employers

At present, many workplaces operate a hybrid work approach that allows employees to work a few days from home and a couple days on site in the office.

However, in Australia, if the request is reasonable and lawful, employers may direct employees currently working remotely to return to working at the office part time or full time. For example, it may be reasonable for an employer to request a return to the office where the employment contract states that the office is the employee's place of work.

Employers should also keep in mind, however, that an employee may be eligible to request a flexible work arrangement in accordance with recent changes under the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Act 2022, which includes an option to request working from home arrangements. If a request is made, the employer is required to provide a written response within 21 days stating whether the request is refused or allowed. The employer may only refuse a request on reasonable business grounds and must include the reasons for refusing the request.

Reasonable business grounds may include:

  • the new working arrangements are too costly;

  • would result in a significant loss in efficiency or productivity;

  • Or it would be likely to have a significant negative impact on customer service.

Any dispute could also be referred to the Fair Work Commission for resolution.

Indonesia Employment Update – Mandatory Reporting of Job Vacancies

In response to the increasing levels of unemployment and to improve access to information for job seekers, on September 25, 2023, the President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, enacted Presidential Regulation No. 57 of 2023 on Mandatory Reporting of Job Vacancies (PR 57/2023).

By enacting the Regulation, the government hopes to enhance job search and placement through the creation of a centralised job vacancies information system. Both employers and job seekers can use this system.

For employers, they can search for workers that match their workforce needs. Conversely, job seekers can find vacancies that are aligned with their skills, interests, and abilities. Meanwhile, for the government, they can use the information on job vacancies for labour planning, labour placement, labour market information reporting, and labour market analysis.

PR 57/2023 aims to optimise the placement of workers within the job markets and to reduce the unemployment rate at the national level. Under PR 57/2023, job vacancy reporting shall be conducted within the manpower services related platform, called the Manpower Information System, that is accessible via the internet for the purpose of reporting of job vacancies.

When reporting job vacancies, an employer must provide the following information:

  • Their identity.

  • The job title and the number of workers required.

  • The duration of the vacancy.

  • Information about the job itself, including requirements on age, gender, education level, skills or competencies, work experience, salary or wage, and location.

When an employer files a report on job vacancies, such reports will be verified by officials of the Ministry of Manpower, who will then publish these reports on the system.

UK - New amendments to the UK GDPR post Brexit

The 2023 Data Protection Regulations will, among other things, amend UK data protection legislation to refer to rights derived from UK law, rather than retained EU law rights. Provided it is approved by parliament, this Statutory Instrument (SI) will come into force in the beginning of 2024. It will seek to demonstrate the UK’s commitment to protecting data subject rights when the UK’s EU adequacy status is reviewed.

From a day-to-day compliance perspective, controllers should continue to follow the General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) principles and controllers, and processors should continue to follow their obligations under the UK GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018). The SI does not make substantive changes to those existing principles and obligations. 

The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023 amends the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 so that EU law rights and principles no longer form part of retained EU law in the UK from January 2024. This means that the references in the UK GDPR to retained EU law fundamental rights would not have worked, as those rights have fallen away.

Current Affairs – Elon Musk insists AI will get humans to a point where “no job is needed”

With the ever-changing world of work and a lot of processes now being driven by artificial intelligence (AI), layoffs are a reality. At the same time, AI technology is also enabling business leaders to restructure and redefine the jobs we do.

According to Asana’s State of AI at Work 2023 report, employees say that 29% of their work tasks are replaceable by AI. According to a recent report of 750 business leaders using AI from ResumeBuilder, 37% say that the technology replaced workers in 2023. Meanwhile, 44% report that there will be layoffs in 2024 resulting from AI efficiency.

Alex Hood, chief product officer at Asana, estimates that half the time we spend at work is on what he calls “work about work,” i.e. status updates, communication across different departments and administrative tasks that are outside of the core reason as to why we are there. “If that can be reduced because of AI, that can be a great unlock,” says Hood. Asana is a proponent of what it calls “human-centered AI,” which seeks to enhance human abilities and collaboration, not replace people outright.

Some people believe, the more people understand human-centered AI, the more it will have a positive impact on work. While positions like research and data analysis are in line for AI automation, companies will still need someone to prompt the AI,  make sense of the results and take action.

What are your thoughts?