Insights Update — October 2023

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Atlas Team

Atlas helps innovative companies like yours to expand, onboard, manage and pay international teams in 160+ countries.

Published: 27 Oct 2023

Atlas Insights provides you with the latest updates in global labor, employment law and taxation – curated by Atlas.  Get insight into labor regulations, changes in minimum wages, and updates in taxation – all in one place.

Global employment updates

India – Maternity benefits:

On August the 17th 2023, the Supreme Court of India held that Maternity Benefits are to be granted regardless of the period of the employment contract.

Employers must note that women employees (including contract employees or employees on master roll on a daily wage basis) are entitled to maternity benefits, even where the benefit overshoots the tenure of employment, e.g. women employees, including contract employees, are eligible for maternity benefits once they have worked for 80 days in the 12 months immediately preceding the expected date of delivery, even if such benefits exceed the termination of the employment contract.

Oman – Sick leave, maternity leave and bereavement leave:

On the 30th of July 2023, sick leave in Oman increased from 10 weeks to 182 calendar days, paid at 100% of pay for days one to 21, 75% for days 22 to 35, 50% for days 36 to 70, and 35% for days 71 to 182 for employees.

Maternity leave also increased from 50 to 98 calendar days with no limit on the number of times maternity leave may be taken (previously limited to three times with a single employer).

Employer-paid bereavement leave increased from three to 10 days for the death of a child or wife and a new entitlement of 14 days for the death of a husband for non-Muslim widows was introduced.

Though the laws have been effective July 30th 2023, employers have been given until January 30th 2024, to bring their policies and practices into compliance.

Mauritius – Four-day work week introduced:

On the 1st of July 2023, Mauritius enacted a law giving employees the option of a four-day workweek and expanding employer-paid leave entitlements to care for an ailing family member, among other key employment-related changes.

Employers may, with employee consent and at least 48 hours' notice, require the employee to work his or her stipulated hours, in any week, on a four-day-week basis. Conversely, employees may request a four-day workweek, with the employer required to grant the request unless operational requirements make it unfeasible.

Spain – Proposal of a four-day work week:

In October 2023, Spain proposed a new legislation that seeks to reduce working hours from 40 hours down to 37.5 hours. Currently, negotiations for a coalition government are underway and one of their collective commitments is to decrease the working week to 38.5 hours in 2024 and then decrease that down to 37.5 hours in 2025, without a reduction to salaries. 

Current Affairs

Japan – Transgender rights:

Japan’s Supreme Court has ruled that restrictions imposed by a government ministry on a transgender female employee’s use of restrooms at her workplace are illegal.

In 2015, a Japanese transgender woman was denied access to use the women's toilets at work. She was told to use either a nearby men’s room or women’s restrooms at least two floors away so that she would not be seen by colleagues. She challenged this decision by officials at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and has been battling with the Supreme Court for the past 8 years.

In July this year, the court acknowledged that the trade ministry violated a public service law, and that it was illegal to restrict a transgender person from using certain bathrooms. This ruling was significant as it was the first time Japan’s high court has ruled on a case regarding LGBTQ employees in the workplace. This case will have considerable impact both in Japan and globally as to how companies handle similar cases in the future regarding transgender employees.

Key action points

When expanding in new territory, it is important to be aware of different legislations and laws coming into place, as well as the differing cultural landscape.

At present in Japan, there are no bathroom bills/ laws in place that deny members of the public access to public toilets due to transgender identity.

Since 2021, in some parts of the US including Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Idaho, bathroom bills have been enacted.