Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the Russian government has imposed several restrictions that may affect employers with operations in Russia. The restrictions prohibit:
On February 21, Britain’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced that all of England’s COVID-19 regulations and restrictions would be revoked in coming weeks. Shortly thereafter, countries across the globe began to follow suit.
- In the United Kingdom, mandatory vaccination regulations for employees in England’s health and social care settings that were due to be implemented April 1, 2022, will be revoked by March 15, 2022.
- In Austria, the country’s universal COVID-19 vaccination mandate will be suspended. The measure was signed into law on February 4, but compliance checks were not scheduled to start until March 15.
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing many employers to reconsider the need for employees to return to the office in any capacity. At the same time, many employees have requested to work remotely from other countries. This presents potential tax (both corporate and individual), permanent establishment, and immigration issues. In response, as of the beginning of 2022, over 20 countries are now taking a dynamic approach to these changes and have introduced “digital nomad” visas that allow individuals to live in the respective country while working for a company that has no presence there.
Brazil has joined this growing number of countries that are offering digital nomad visas, issuing the long-awaited Resolution No. 45. Resolution No. 45 allows non-Brazilian workers to apply for visas that allow them to work in Brazil as digital nomads for up to 90 days during a 180-day period, or up to 180 days in a one-year period. Such visas will be valid for up to one year and will be eligible for renewal for another year. The maximum period a worker may remain in the country pursuant to Resolution No. 45 depends upon the worker’s nationality.
Austria made headlines this week by becoming the first country in Europe to implement a general mandate for vaccinations against COVID-19.
The regulation applies to all adults, with limited exemptions for individuals who are pregnant, who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, and who have recovered from COVID-19 within the last 180 days.
On January 12, 2022, Luxembourg’s Minister of Justice submitted to the country’s legislature Bill 7945, which transposes Directive (EU) 2019/1937, otherwise known as the Whistleblower Protection Directive (“Directive”). The official deadline for EU member states to transpose the Directive into national law was December 17, 2021, however, nearly every state, including Luxembourg, failed to meet this deadline. Now that Bill 7945 has been presented to the legislature, experts will review it and compare the legislation against the requirements of the Directive. Given the expiration of the deadline for transposition in December, the legislature is expected to act quickly in passing Bill 7945 into law, so as to avoid the European Commission taking legal action for non-implementation.
Bill 7945 provides a framework to protect individuals who have obtained information in the work context about acts or omissions that violate national law or are against the public interest, and report protected information in any of the manners proscribed by the draft law. Specifically, Bill 7945 protects reports made by current and former employees, prospective employees, volunteers, trainees, self-employed individuals, shareholders, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers. To be protected under the draft law, individuals must have reasonable grounds to believe the information they report is true and that it falls within the scope of the measure. The measure prohibits retaliation against individuals based on them reporting protected information in accordance with the draft law’s provisions.
On January 21, 2022, France’s Constitutional Council approved a law requiring individuals who are 16 or older to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (a “vaccine pass”) before entering certain public places, such as restaurants, bars, and stores. The law also permits business owners to check a customer’s vaccine pass against the customer’s identification documents where they have good reason to suspect that the vaccine pass being shown does not genuinely belong to the customer presenting it.
Currently, individuals in France are required to present proof of vaccination or of a negative test result to enter public venues. Under the new law, which will take effect on January 24, 2021, a negative test result will no longer be accepted.