Atlas Insights: Mexico increases general minimum wage by 20%, and other updates – February 2024

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Published: 28 Feb 2024

New Zealand – Parental support  

KiwiSaver is a voluntary retirement savings scheme in New Zealand. If an employee chooses not to opt out of the scheme, they must contribute a minimum of 3%, up to a maximum of 10%, which is deducted from their salary. Where an employee is enrolled in Kiwisaver, employers must provide a contribution of 3% in addition to the employee’s total compensation. 

The government said it is committed to making sure that families receive the support they need with this important investment, enabling parents to focus on their new-borns in the early days.    

Mexico – Increases General Minimum Wage by 20%  

Effective Jan. 1, 2024, Mexico’s minimum wage increased by 20%. The increase was published Dec. 1, 2023, in the Council of Representatives of the National Minimum Wages Commission: 

Minimum professional salaries will also receive a 20% increase. The minimum wage increase will take effect throughout the Mexican Republic Jan. 1, 2024, once the law is published in the Official Gazette of the Federation. 

Japan - Introduces six-month digital nomad visa 

Japan has introduced a six month visa for digital nomads. Digital nomads are individuals who work remotely from any location and use technology to perform their job whilst moving between locations for short- or medium-term stays.  

Japan’s scheme is set to launch in late March. Individuals from 49 countries and territories, including Singapore, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, can apply. Some are calling this visa restrictive as applicants must earn a minimum annual income of ¥10 million and have private insurance.  

Visa holders will be allowed to live and work remotely from anywhere in the country. But they do not qualify for a residence card by virtue of having the digital nomad visa. After the six month expiration, the visa is not eligible for renewal. Though the terms are steep, the visa is the result of digital nomads expressing that they’d like to stay longer than the current, 90-day visa-free tourist stays allow. 

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South Korea - Law on human rights due diligence 

South Korean lawmakers have proposed a bill imposing mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence obligations on employers. If the bill is enacted, this law will be the first of its kind in Asia. 

On September 1, 2023, lawmakers in South Korea proposed a bill entitled the ‘Act on Human Rights and Environmental Protection for Sustainable Business Management’ to the National Assembly. This bill aims to address adverse impacts of business activities by mandating human rights and environmental due diligence.

Implications for employers 

The bill is set to include:
Requirements for companies to establish systems to identify, assess, manage and make disclosures in relation to human rights and environmental risks
Requirements for the government to prepare relevant guidelines and information disclosure standards to facilitate the implementation of human rights and environmental due diligence by companies
Implementation of penalties for companies who fail to fulfil a confirmed corrective order or fail to identify human rights and/or environmental risks arising from business activities that are directly or indirectly linked to war crimes, child labour or operations in a conflict or high-risk area

Current Affairs – ESG reporting 

In recent years, there has been a rapidly expanding range of environmental, social and governance (ESG) regulations. These include ESG reporting requirements, as well as the introduction of mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence obligations. 

ESG reporting is the disclosure of environmental stewardship, social responsibility and corporate governance data. As with all disclosures, its purpose is to shed light on a company's activities while improving investor transparency and inspiring other organisations to do the same. Consumers look to ESG reports to find out if they are supporting a company whose values align with theirs. 

As 2024 begins, ESG considerations are front of mind in many corporate boardrooms, often as never before. New regulations both in 2024 and in the years to come will likely require increase ESG reporting and compliance standards.  

More companies are feeling pressure to disclose how ESG matters can impact their business – both from a risk perspective and an operational perspective – and how they intend to live up to social responsibilities. A recent Deloitte survey of 2,000 C-level business leaders found that more than 60% felt a large to moderate degree of pressure to act on climate change either from consumers and clients (68%), shareholders (66%), employees (64%), or civil society (64%).  

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