Sunday, July 9, 2017

Macron's Plans for Labor

MacronMany thanks to Dennis Nolan (South Carolina emeritus; NAA) for forwarding Sylvain Cypel, Macron’s California Revolution, which has a detailed discussion of French President Emmanuel Macron's plans for French labor law. Here's an excerpt:

Continuing deindustrialization has shut millions of older employees out of the job market. And unemployment among the young is beating all records: at the end of April 2017, the number of officially registered jobseekers hit 5,836,000—the same number as in the United States, a country with five times France’s population! For the past forty years, whether governed by the right or the left—or even during short periods of “cohabitation”—neither side has been able to curb unemployment.

...

[N]ew macroniste politicians closely follow their leader’s core socioeconomic philosophy: that in today’s world, the people who rise to the top, or at least stay afloat, are those who’ve succeeded in adapting to the relentless process of globalization and its technological disruptions. There will be less and less room for job security and more and more for people who have a capacity for innovation and adaptation. Gone are lifelong professional careers. Likewise gone are rigid job descriptions and fixed work schedules. In this, Macron once again embodies a very American way of thinking. And he believes that France has to catch up to the current reality of the labor force.

...

But the first real test of the new president’s mandate will be the new labor law that he intends to issue as an executive order, before asking France’s parliament to vote on it. Macron wants to move fast. He wants to take advantage of the “big bang” of his election and his opponents’ stunned paralysis to abolish much of the existing French labor code, which, because of powerful labor unions, was designed to cater to the best-protected employees—especially those in heavy industry—and has long been skewed toward the interests of workers in general at the expense of greater flexibility and efficiency for private enterprise. Just how far does he mean to take this? Clearly, as far as he can.

The real question is whether Macron is ready to take on the unions or will seek to compromise with them. His approach to economic reform has been well known since his tenure as economics minister (2014–2016): a major deregulation of existing laws to allow employers to practice less “rigid” employment and hiring policies, including fewer restrictions on salaries and working conditions. These measures, he argues, are essential if there is to be a revival of the French job market. Employers, who are also asking for a freer hand in firing workers, claim these measures will bring a reduction in labor costs. The corollary to these ambitions, and the condition for their success, is a significant reduction of what remains of the unions’ power, already enormously diminished. (Fifty years ago, 22 percent of all employees were union members, while that number is currently 7.7 percent, according to the OECD).

When Macron tried to put these reforms into effect as economics minister under François Hollande, he encountered very strong resistance from the unions and from the public itself. After a series of protest marches and demonstrations, the law had to be issued by Prime Minister Valls, through a procedure designed to avoid a parliamentary vote, which it seemed quite unlikely to pass. Today the basic problem is much the same. The unions are so hostile to reforming the labor market because, behind the apparent “change,” it is possible to glimpse a policy that’s been at work for a long time already. Ever since 1984, all governments, right and left, have worked tirelessly to shatter administrative and legal “rigidity” with respect to hiring and firing. And yet, France’s steadily worsening joblessness has never been brought under control. Even worse, in France as in nearly all the rest of the Western world, inequality has become ever more deeply entrenched, in lockstep with the deterioration of middle-class purchasing power. It’s not hard to imagine, therefore, that the unions might once again be the front line of resistance to still more radical measures to deregulate the labor market.

rb

July 9, 2017 in International & Comparative L.E.L., Labor Law, Workplace Trends | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

New Center for Contemporary Labour Law (CCLL) Established in Tbilisi

Logo_Transparent (2)The Center for Contemporary Labour Law (CCLL) is a new labor-focused Center directed by Professor Giorgi Amiranashvili of Tbilisi State University in Tbilisi, Georgia. The goals of CCLL include (1) educational and scientific research activities, (2) dialogue & collaboration with all actors in the labor field, (3) consultative activities, and (4) collaboration with foreign experts and institutions.

Founding members include Prof. Amiranashvili, Prof. Dr. Andrea Borroni (Italy); Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vakhtang Zaalishvili (Georgia); Ph.D. Candidate Tornike Kapanadze (Georgia). Other members include Assoc. Prof. Dr. Elena Sychenko (Russian Federation); Prof. Dr. Francesco Bacchini (Italy); Prof. Dr. Roberta Caragnano (Italy); Dr. Marco Seghesio (Italy); Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nicos Trimikliniotis (Cyprus); Prof. Rick Bales (U.S.).

 

CCLL has hosted several lectures at Tbilisi State, including:

  • Prof. Dr. Andrea Borroni & Prof. Dr. Francesco Bacchini on “The position of Labour law in the private law system”.
  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. Elena Sychenko was held at Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University on “The European Convention on Human Rights as a Source of Labour Law”.
  • Mr. Kari Tapiola, Special Advisor to the Director General of the International Labour Organization, on “The Role of International Labour Standards in strengthening Social Justice and Economic Efficiency”.

rb

June 11, 2017 in International & Comparative L.E.L., Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

ABA Int'l LEL Committee Meeting

Laboremployment-vert-blackThe Annual meeting of the ABA International LEL Committee just wrapped up in Dublin. I was pleased to be joined here by Laura Cooper (Minnesota), Marley Weiss (Maryland), and Ben Sachs (Harvard). Anyone interested in becoming involved in this Committee can contact me or any of these folks. Topics covered the gamut of LEL law and practice, and included:

 

  • Ireland: The Changing Labor and Employment Landscape on the Emerald Isle
  • Brexit, Trump and Beyond: How the New Political Landscapes in the U.S. and U.K. Will Impact Workplace Law around the World
  • With Trump Towering in the U.S., How Will Labor & Employment Laws and Standards Change at Home?
  • With the U.K. Exiting the EU and Similar Movements Gaining Ground Elsewhere, How Will Labor and Employment Laws & Standards Change Abroad?
  • Globalization’s Impact on Labor and Employment Law: How the Issue Is Shaping the Workplace
  • Enforcing Responsible Business Conduct in a Changing Political Environment
  • Where the Work Gets Done: The Changing Climate for Corporate Decision-making
  • Anti-Immigration Efforts in the U.S., U.K. and E.U. and Their Impact on Labor & Employment Law and Practice
  • Hot Cross-Border Issues
  • Please Mind the Gap: A Cross-Border Comparison of New Laws and Initiatives to Equal Pay
  • Company Relocations and Restructurings: More Brexit Implications for Multinationals and their Workforces
  • The Legal and Other Challenges to the “Gig Economy” around the Globe: What's the Score?
  • Industry Day: Exploring Key Global Labor and Employment Issues in Three Industry Groups
  • Technology
  • Pharma and Health Care
  • Energy and Infrastructure

rb

May 11, 2017 in International & Comparative L.E.L. | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 7, 2017

Doorey's New Book: The Law of Work

WorkCongratulations to David Doorey (York-Osgoode) on the publication of his new book The Law of Work: Complete Edition  (Emond Publishing 2017). Here's a brief description from David: 

The book is the first Canadian text to explore in depth all three regimes of work law, including Common Law, Regulatory Law, and Collective Bargaining Law and it emphasizes the interaction between the three regimes.   For those interested in understanding Canadian work law, this is the book.  Also, you might be interested in knowing that the book was written to be accessible to non-lawyers, including the thousands of business, HRM, industrial relations, labour studies students learning work law in Canada.  I wrote it because I frequently teach business students and there was no book in Canada that explained the law of work in a sophisticated, contextual manner but that doesn’t also assume the readers have already studied law for a year or two.   Finally, the book also extends the subject matter beyond most labor law texts, by including chapters on subjects such as work and intellectual property law, work and privacy law, trade law, immigration law, and bankruptcy law. 

rb

April 7, 2017 in Book Club, Employment Common Law, International & Comparative L.E.L., Labor Law, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

LLRN3

Llrn3Guy Davidov sends us this update on the LLRN3Toronto conference:

The LLRN is a network of labour law research centers from all over the world (currently 65 centers). It holds bi-annual conferences which are open to all labour/employment/workplace discrimination law scholars. After two very successful conferences in Barcelona and Amsterdam, LLRN3 will be held at the University of Toronto on June 25-27 this year. The deadline for submitting papers has past, and the best paper and panel proposals have been selected through a peer-review process. The provisional program which has recently been published is extremely rich and includes many senior, well-known scholars alongside young up-and-coming ones, from across the globe. The organizers are keen on having more North American colleagues involved. For more information and to register please see the conference website. If you’d like to chair one of the panels, please contact the organizers

rb

 

April 5, 2017 in Conferences & Colloquia, International & Comparative L.E.L. | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Brudney on the Quiet Importance of ILO Norms

BrudneyJames Brudney (Fordham) has just posted on SSRN his article The Internationalization of Sources of Labor Law, 39 U. Pa. J. Int'l L. 1 (2017). The abstract is below. I think James is dead-on correct. Having attended a slew of labor conferences in the developing world recently, in both academic and governmental circles, folks are acutely aware of how their own country's labor laws measure up (or not) to ILO standards, and progress is defined as the incremental process of achieving those standards. Here's the abstract:

This article examines in depth an important but underappreciated development in international labor law: how norms promulgated by the International Labor Organization (ILO) have affected the development and implementation of domestic labor laws and practices since the early 1990s. The newly globalized focus of labor law—energized by substantial expansions in international trade and investment—has been recognized by scholars, practitioners, and governments, but it has not previously been explored and analyzed in this systematic way.

The article focuses on two central regulatory areas—child labor and freedom of association—and relies on doctrinal and policy developments in these areas, as evidenced by the actions of legislatures, courts, and executive branches in more than 20 countries. In doing so, the article addresses how international labor standards have influenced national labor law and practice in the Americas (excluding the U.S.)—directly through the soft-law route of convention ratification and ILO supervisory monitoring, and indirectly through trade agreement labor provisions that incorporate ILO norms. The resultant changes in domestic laws and practices have been evolutionary rather than transformative, and developments in law outpace those in practice, but within these parameters the changes have been substantial. The article then places this internationalizing trend in the context of two recognized theories that seek to explain the socialization of human rights law.

rb

March 18, 2017 in International & Comparative L.E.L. | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Australia Launches Supply-Chain-Based Anti-Slavery Inquiry

AustraliaPaul Harpur (Melbourne) sends word that the Australian Government has announced the launch of a broad inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia. The inquiry will consider whether the introduction of anti-slavery legislation would help combat supply-chain-based slavery and human trafficking. Paul explains:

Human trafficking, slavery and slavery-like practices are already criminal offences in Australia.  Recent slavery-like practices in Australian supply chains has motivated a new inquiry.

the Australian Federal Attorney-General referred an inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia to the Foreign Affairs and Aid Sub-Committee of the Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade on February 15, 2017. The committee is tasked with strengthening and improving Australia's current regulatory regime to prevent slavery occurring in Australia and Australian natural and corporate persons engaging in slavery overseas. The Committee has called for submissions to be lodged by interested parties by 28 April 2017.

For more, see this discussion by the Australian law firm Allens.

rb

February 21, 2017 in International & Comparative L.E.L. | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

New Book by ILO: Comparative Labor Dispute Resolution

IloAaron Halegua (NYU) writes to give us the heads-up on a free, downloadable book by the ILO: Resolving Individual Labour Disputes: A Comparative Overview. Here's the ILO's description of the book:

The number of individual disputes arising from day-to-day workers’ grievances or complaints continues to grow in many parts of the world. The chapters in this book cover individual labour dispute settlement systems in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Each chapter examines and assesses the institutions and mechanisms for settlement of individual labour disputes, including the procedures and powers available, the interaction of these institutions and mechanisms with other labour market institutions (e.g. collective bargaining and labour inspection) and the broader system for resolution of legal disputes (e.g. courts of general jurisdiction, specialist commissions and tribunals).

And here's Aaron's description of the chapter he wrote on the U.S.:

I contributed a chapter on the United States, which I think provides a good overview of the role played by administrative agencies (USDOL, EEOC, NLRB, New York State DOL, NYS Division of Human Rights, etc.), federal and state courts, firm's internal efforts, and both labor and employment arbitration -- as well as how ADR is used in all those contexts. It also seeks to evaluate each one and pulls together statistics on the performance of each institution. I think that people already familiar with the United States might find the evaluation/statistics part and use of ADR in these institutions useful. I also think it would be particularly useful for people trying to understand our complex system with its web of overlapping institutions, or professors ... who might be teaching such students.

rb

February 12, 2017 in Arbitration, Book Club, International & Comparative L.E.L. | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Fifteenth Annual Marco Biagi International Conference

Capture
Susan Bisom-Rapp (Thomas Jefferson), member of the Marco Biagi Foundation Academic Advisory Board writes to let us know that annual conference in Modena, Italy is coming next month. the Fifteenth International Conference in Commemoration of prof Marco Biagi is entitled "Digital and Smart Work." Organized by the Marco Biagi Foundation at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, it will take place in Modena (Italy) on March 20th and 21st, 2017.

As usual, attendance to the conference is free. Further information, including the Conference programme and the registration form, is available on the Marco Biagi Foundation's web site, at the link:
http://www.fmb.unimore.it/on-line/home/international-conference/xv-international-conference-in-commemoration-of-professor-marco-biagi.html.

MM

February 8, 2017 in Conferences & Colloquia, International & Comparative L.E.L., International Contacts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

ITC ILO Opens Registration for International Labor Standards Training Conference

Itcilo

The course is  “International Labour Standards for Judges, Lawyers and Legal Educators”, and will take place in Turin, Italy, from 22 May to 2 June. Here's a brief description:

International labour standards are legal instruments that establish basic minimum social standards agreed upon by governments, employers and workers.

Our mission is to support the development of knowledge and skills to promote international labour standards (ILS) and rights at work, to strengthen their application and to advance the achievement of decent work for all women and men.

We do this by designing and implementing training and capacity development activities for constituents, ILO staff, partners and other national and international actors.

More information is available at the conference website or brochure. Thanks to Panthip Pruksacholavit (Chulalongkorn - Bangkok) for the heads-up.

rb

February 7, 2017 in Conferences & Colloquia, International & Comparative L.E.L. | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 23, 2017

Teaching Labor in Saigon


TDTU

I've mentioned on Facebook that I've spent the last couple of weeks teaching at a Saigon labor college. I'm writing now to give an update -- and a heads-up to anyone who might be interested in either a short-term gig or a longer-term Fulbright here. Both, I think, would be terrific options.

TDTU is a public university located in an affluent (mostly Korean ex-pat) suburb of Siagon. Students come from middle- and working-class families. They are dedicated and work hard. The school aspires to be a top-100 university worldwide, and a big part of its definition of success is ensuring that all students know English (which is still a work-in-progress).
 
The campus is beautiful. It is indistinguishable from a suburban American campus and is very well-maintained. Security is tight and everyone feels safe walking around campus at all hours of the day or night. Students are incredibly deferential to faculty - a head-bow is the norm even in casual passing with students you've never seen before -- and students often approach to speak informally and practice their English skills.
 
Though facilities and groundskeeping are generously funded, domestic faculty workloads are heavy. The Uni supplements its faculty by hiring copious adjuncts in the law school and by inviting foreign visitors to teach for anywhere from 2 weeks (my gig) to a year (my successor who is coming on a Fulbright). The Uni has robust business schools and a labor relations school. It also has a new law school, which despite being only 3 years old already enrolls nearly 1000 (mostly undergraduate) students.
 
Visitng faculty are treated well. I was housed in a University apartment, which was a spacious accommodation immediately underneath the soccer bleachers. Staff are incredibly attentive to your every need, including laundry. Food is plentiful and dirt-cheap at the student canteens, faculty dining hall, and street-food stalls across the street, (There's also plenty of higher-end, sit-down service nearby, but I only went there when the Uni folks took me out -- the other options were cheaper (hard to spend more than $2/meal) and at least as good.
 
There's a group of about 10-ish Americans, mostly labor-activist types, who teach at TDTU regularly on a purely volunteer basis. These tend to be Vietnam-war-activist-types who see this as a way of giving back. I get the impression that their virulent pro-labor quasi-socialist ideology is taken with a grain of salt by the more pragmatic University folks and students. Official government policy is still socialist, but Saigon is as wildly capitalistic as you can imagine. Workers rights are important but so is overall economic prosperity. Most folks here recognize that the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Indeed, the ILO and he Better Works Program have accomplished huge strides in convincing foreign brands and local manufacturers that reasonable workplace standards make good business sense.
 
I suspect that many of you would be most interested in either a short-time visit like I did or a Fulbright. A short-time visit can be for as little as two weeks (that's what I did - I tag-teamed a course with an American instructor who will finish the course I started. I paid my travel; TDTU provided my accommodation, but did not provide a stipend (not did I ask for one). They treated me like royalty. An ideal visit might be on a Fulbright,which would pay you nicely for your time and travel. The Uni is  also looking for retired American faculty who are looking to do something different for a year. Under that arrangement, room/board would be provided generously, but the stipend, which I believe is still under negotiation, would be reasonable but hardly generous by Western standards.
 
The huge academic plus from my perspective is that this is where all the action is in labor law/markets. Major labor law reform happens here every couple of years. In 5 years Vietnam has gone from an undeveloped country to a middle-income country. Five years ago garment manufacturing was king and was ruled by foreign capital and management. In 5 short years Vietnam (especially the south, in the Saigon area) has invested heavily in ports/highways/education/general infrastructure, so the big manufacturing facilities increasingly are being managed (and staffed with back-office professionals) locally. As in China, wages are rising proportionally, leading to some migration of low-cost work to Bangladesh Cambodia and Myanmar. Labor markets and labor law are in tremendous flux, and though I would not pretend to be any expert on it, it is fascinating to observe from both an snails-eye and an bird's eye view.
 
Feel free to email me if I can answer any further questions.

rb

January 23, 2017 in International & Comparative L.E.L., Teaching | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Harpur: Aussie Wage-Setting Tool Found Discriminatory

HarpurPaul Harpur (Queensland) writes to tell us that an Australian disability wage-setting tool has been found discriminatory, and that the Australian government has agreed to pay 9,735 intellectual disabled workers entitlements which may reach $100 million AUD. Here's Paul's analysis:

An Australian government disability wage setting tool used to assess the wages of intellectually disabled workers who were employed in an Australian Disability Enterprise (a form of government subsidized employment) resulted in people with certain disabilities being under paid. 

The tool in question, the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool, was used to determine how much each worker should be paid and if they were entitled to wage increases.

It was alleged that the imposition of the condition or requirement that wages be fixed using the tool amounted to indirect disability discrimination within the meaning of s 6 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth).  

The tool fixed the amount of a wage by an assessment of competency and of productivity.  The assessment of competency was made by reference to eight elements.   Some of these competencies were irrelevant to the work actually undertaken by workers and the assessment processes relating to other competencies was flawed.  The assessment processes used abstract answers in an interview situation with intellectually disabled workers.  If workers did not provide a prescribed response they scored zero.

The Australian government accepted that this tool was discriminatory and has agreed to pay back  wages for thousands of workers.  The government introduced legislation to create a framework to repay wages in the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool Payment Scheme Act 2015 (Cth) (see also the Business Services Wage Assessment Tool Payment Scheme Bill 2014 (Cth) Explanatory Memorandum) and on 16 December 2016 the wage claims and discrimination claims by a class of 9,735 workers was approved by the Federal Court of Australia in Duval-Cowrie v Commonwealth of Australia (2016) FCA 1523.  The length and size of these under payments are substantial and are estimated to cost the Australian government $100 million AUD.

 

rb

December 17, 2016 in Disability, Employment Discrimination, International & Comparative L.E.L. | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

TPP -DOA or a Rose by Another Name?

RoseAs someone who's about to guest-teach for a couple of weeks at a Vietnamese labor college, I've been more attuned than most on TPP post mortems. There is a lot of pro-labor language to like in TPP -- it could be a game-changer in SE Asia, where some of the most appalling labor abuses on the planet currently exist. Is TPP dead?

I'll go out on a limb and predict -- contrary to everything I've seen everywhere -- that TPP is alive and well. (1) Trump values business above all else, and global trade is good for business. I'd bet the ranch that he will negotiate a few minor face-saving adjustments, re-brand the entire treaty as a Trump initiative (the Trump-Pacific Partnership!), and throw his weight behind it. (2) The alternative to TPP is ceding SE Asia to China (both politically and economically). That would make Trump a loser. Trump does not want be a loser. Thus, I predict that, just as Trump has walked back several (though not nearly enough) of his more reactionary ideas, TPP goes forwarded by another name.

rb

November 17, 2016 in International & Comparative L.E.L. | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Bisom-Rapp & Sargeant: The Lifetime Disadvantage

DisadvantageCongratulations to Susan Bisom-Rapp (Thomas Jefferson) and Malcolm Sargeant (Middlesex U. London) on the publication of their book Lifetime Disadvantage, Discrimination and the Gendered Workforce.Here's the publisher's (Cambridge U. Press) description:

  • Lifetime Disadvantage, Discrimination and the Gendered Workforce fills a gap in the literature on discrimination and disadvantage suffered by women at work by focusing on the inadequacies of the current law and the need for a new holistic approach. Each stage of the working life cycle for women is examined with a critical consideration of how the law attempts to address the problems that inhibit women's labour force participation. By using their model of lifetime disadvantage, the authors show how the law adopts an incremental and disjointed approach to resolving the challenges, and argue that a more holistic orientation towards eliminating women's discrimination and disadvantage is required before true gender equality can be achieved. Using the concept of resilience from vulnerability theory, the authors advocate a reconfigured workplace that acknowledges yet transcends gender.
  • Proposes a new model of lifetime discrimination suffered by women at work, leading to an holistic solution rather than the current incremental approach.
  • Examining how the law approaches each stage of women's working life cycle allows readers to identify the disjointed incremental approach and see its disadvantages.
  • Provides a new framework for discussing the issue of disadvantage that women suffer in employment.

rb

October 25, 2016 in Books, Employment Discrimination, International & Comparative L.E.L. | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 21, 2016

Assistance Animals in Australia

KangarooSpeakers at a workshop in Queensland predict that employers Down Under could soon see a sharp increase in employee requests to bring service animals to the workplace. Per Disability assistance animals or not? Problems in policy and practice workshop: Summary and Scoping Discussion Paper, with Paul Harpur, Martie-Louise Verreynne, Nancy Pachana, Peter Billings and Brent Ritchie:

Employers of the one in every five Australians that have disabilities could face increasing demands to bring "assistance animals" such as dogs and miniature horses into the workplace, a workshop heard recently.

Speakers at the workshop on the issue at the Queensland Supreme Court on September 27 said that recent court rulings and an uncertain regulatory regime have made it difficult to determine or challenge whether a worker is entitled to bring such an animal to work.

Former disability discrimination commissioner Graeme Innes told the forum that four million Australians have disabilities that would give them protection under the Disability Discrimination Act.

Speakers at the workshop suggested while most of these people might not generally regard themselves as disabled, the existence of a medical condition usually enables such a person to assert they have a disability within the meaning of s4 of the Disability Discrimination Act.

They said it would be "relatively easy" for most of those people to claim an animal accompanying them was an assistance animal protected under section 9 of the Act, according to the chief investigator appointed by the workshop, Paul Harpur, a senior lecturer in the University of Queensland's TC Beirne School of Law.

A scoping paper circulated at the workshop – Disability animals or Not? Problems in policy and practice – said the Act defines assistance animals as those that are trained to help a person with a disability to alleviate the effects of their disability and to meet standards of hygiene and behaviour appropriate for an animal in a public place.

It said courts had interpreted the definition broadly to encompass "a self-trained dog that has not been accredited by a recognised disability training organisation".

Continue reading

October 21, 2016 in Disability, International & Comparative L.E.L. | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Halegua on Protecting Workers' Rights in China

HaleguaAaron Halegua (Research Fellow, NYU Law) is featured today in a Wall Street Journal article on Protecting Workers' Rights in China: Q&A with Aaron Halegua.

rb

October 19, 2016 in International & Comparative L.E.L. | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cherry and Aloisi on "Dependent Contractors" in Canada, Italy, and Spain

    As some debate whether to add “dependent contractor” to the set of worker classifications ({employee, independent contractor}) in the US, a new working paper looks to the experience of Canada, Italy, and Spain: Miriam Cherry and Antonio Aloisi, “‘Dependent Contractors’ in the Gig Economy: A Comparative Approach (SSRN).  Here’s the abstract:

In response to worker misclassification lawsuits in the United States, there have been recent calls for the creation of a hybrid category in between employee and independent contractor specifically for the gig economy. However, such an intermediate category is not new. In fact, the intermediate category has existed in many countries for decades, producing successful results in some, and misadventure in others. In this article, we use a comparative approach to analyze the experiences of Canada, Italy, and Spain with the intermediate category. In our analysis we focus on a set of questions: Is labour law fundamentally outdated for the digital age? Does the gig economy need its own specialized set of rules, and what should they look like? What role does digitalization and technology play in the casualization of work? We ultimately conclude that workable proposals for a third category must also encompass other forms of precarious employment.

The paper itself surveys the law and legal commentary in Canada, Italy, and Spain.  It finds that Canada’s “dependent contractor” category, which originated in Arthurs (1965), succeeded in “expanding the coverage of laws aimed at ‘employees’ to encompass vulnerable small business and tradespeople." In contrast, Italy “saw systemic arbitrage between the standard employment category and the intermediate category,” which caused confusion and “a movement to strip workers of their rights by misclassifying them downwards.”  Meanwhile, in Spain, the category covers only a “tiny” portion of workers, because of “burdensome requirements and a seventy-five percent dependency threshold to enter the third category.” (p. 3).

 

--Sachin Pandya

October 19, 2016 in International & Comparative L.E.L., Labor Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Halegua: Who Will Represent China's Workers?

HaleguaAaron Halegua (Research Fellow, NYU Law) just returned from spending a month in Malaysia with the ILO, working with the government to revise its labor laws to comply with TPP. Meanwhile, his report for the Ford Foundation has been released: Who Will Represent China's Workers? Lawyers, Legal Aid, and the Enforcement of Labor Rights. It examines the legal needs of China's workers, the landscape of legal service providers, and the remaining "representation gap" between legal needs and services--and offers some strategies to narrow it. It also has a lot of information and statistics on labor litigation there. Here's a summary:

In the past decade, China has made considerable progress in legislating new legal protections for workers, expanding their access to arbitration and courts, and paying for more lawyers to represent them. Nonetheless, in China, as elsewhere, labor violations persist and a substantial “representation gap” remains between legal needs and services.

This new Report ... provides an original and in-depth analysis of that gap—and strategies to narrow it. Based on over 100 interviews, observations of legal proceedings, and extensive documentary research, [the Report] examines the legal violations suffered by workers, the range of legal service providers, and how workers fare in litigation. Despite government efforts, problems with unpaid wages, social insurance contributions, workplace injuries, and discrimination endure, which increasingly lead to labor protests and strikes. Workers are also litigating more cases in arbitration and court, but statistics show that they are often unsuccessful.

Continue reading

October 6, 2016 in International & Comparative L.E.L., Labor Law, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Bisom-Rapp on lifetime disadvantage for working women

Bisom_rapp_book_cover-1_240Congratulations to our friend Susan Bisom-Rapp (Thomas Jefferson) whose book (with Malcolm Sargeant, Middlesex Univ., London), Lifetime Disadvantage, Discrimination and the Gendered Work Force is available to pre-order from Cambridge University Press. It will be out September 30. From the press release:

In many countries, including the United States, women are significantly more likely to fall into poverty in retirement than are men. Understanding why this is so and what can be done about it is the aim of this new book.

"Susan Bisom-Rapp's scholarship tackles some of the most pressing real world challenges facing the modern workplace," said Thomas Jefferson School of Law Dean and President Thomas F. Guernsey. "I am delighted about the publication of her latest book."

Beginning in girlhood and ending in advanced age, "Lifetime Disadvantage, Discrimination and the Gendered Workforce" examines each stage of the lifecycle and considers how law attempts to address the problems that inhibit women's labor force participation. Using their model of lifetime disadvantage, Professor Bisom-Rapp and her British co-author Malcolm Sargeant show how the law adopts a piecemeal and disjointed approach to resolving challenges with adverse effects that cumulate over time.

"The problem unfolds over the working lives of women," said Bisom-Rapp. "Women's experiences with education, stereotyping, characteristics other than gender like race and age, caregiving, glass ceilings, occupational segregation, pay inequality, part-time work, and career breaks over a lifetime make it difficult to amass the resources necessary for a dignified retirement."

In order to achieve true gender equality, Bisom-Rapp and her co-author recommend a more holistic approach. Employing the concept of resiliency from vulnerability theory, the authors advocate changes to workplace law and policy, which acknowledge yet transcend gender, improving conditions for women as well as men.

"One must know the end goal – decent work and dignified retirement – and monitor progress towards it in order effectively address the problem," noted Bisom-Rapp.

The book is the culmination of nearly a decade of collaboration between Professor Bisom-Rapp and Professor Sargeant, who teaches at Middlesex University Business School in London. Beginning with a project that examined the plight of older workers during the global economic crisis, they have been struck by differences in workplace law and protections in their respective countries; the United Kingdom is far more protective.

Equally noticeable, however, are similarities in outcomes, including women's economic disadvantages in retirement. By examining why more protective law in one country coexists with comparable outcomes to the other country, the book reveals lessons for understanding a problem that is global in nature. At a time in which an aging population makes a retirement crisis a distinct possibility, and employment has become increasingly insecure, they recommend a regulatory approach that would enhance work life and retirement for all.

Susan and Malcolm have published a few articles related to these topics in the last few years in the Employee Rights Employment Policy Journal, the Elder Law Journal, and the Loyola University Chicago Law Journal. I can't wait to read more of their work.

MM 

September 21, 2016 in Books, Employment Common Law, Employment Discrimination, International & Comparative L.E.L., Labor Law, Pension and Benefits, Scholarship, Wage & Hour, Worklife Issues | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Co-Authoring with Non-American Profs & Practitioners

TransnationalI just uploaded my most recent article, Transnational Employment Trends in Four Pacific Rim Countries, 34 UCLA Pacific Basin Law Journal ___ (forthcoming 2017) (co-authored with Lia Alizia, Masako Banno, Maria Jockel, Melissa Pang, and Catherine Tso). I mention this not because this is a groundbreaking work of legal scholarship, but instead to encourage others to consider co-authoring scholarship with non-American  faculty members and practitioners. This article, for example, had its genesis in a panel I served on at a LawAsia Employment Conference. I find it rewarding to bring together a disparate group of folks to pool their interest and expertise in topics related to labor/employment law, and a huge side benefit is creating relationships that can far outlast a specific project.

rb

September 20, 2016 in Employment Common Law, International & Comparative L.E.L., Workplace Trends | Permalink | Comments (0)