Germany Restricts Access to Non-Essential Businesses for Unvaccinated Individuals

Germany announced that it will impose new restrictions on individuals who are not vaccinated. Although an official version of the rules has yet to be released, Germany’s government website has provided a summary of the new restrictions.

Based on that summary, individuals who have not been vaccinated are allowed to shop only in grocery stores, pharmacies and drugstores. Only individuals who have been vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 are allowed to enter all other stores. Restaurants, cinemas, movie theaters, and other “leisure facilities” are limited to vaccinated and recovered individuals as well.

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Portugal Responds to Work from Home by Prohibiting Bosses from Texting After-Hours

On November 5, 2021, in response to a rise in work from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Portuguese parliament passed a law that prohibits employers from contacting employees outside of work hours. Employers who violate the law’s mandate may face penalties. The law will also require employers to pay cost of increased gas and electricity bills associated with employees working from home.

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Possible Changes to Employment Law on the Horizon in Ontario

On October 25, 2021, Ontario’s government introduced the Working for Workers Act, 2021 (the Act), which, if passed, would amend certain aspects of the Employment Standards Act, 2020 and other laws impacting employment practices in the province.

“Disconnecting From Work”

The Act requires employers with 25 or more employees to have a written policy regarding employees’ “disconnecting from work.” The Act defines “disconnecting from work” to mean “not engaging in work-related communications, including emails, telephone calls, video calls or the sending or reviewing of other messages, so as to be free from the performance of work.” In a news release related to the Act, the Ontario government stated that such policies might include, “for example, expectations about response time for emails and encouraging employees to turn on out-of-office notifications when they aren’t working.” The government further stated that the measure is intended to “prioritize[e] workers’ mental health and family time.”

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The Next Wave of COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements?

As the global community continues to manage the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic, countries have taken different approaches to addressing COVID-19 vaccinations. As we have discussed, Italy requires both public- and private-sector employees to possess government-issued health passes (i.e., the Green Pass) that demonstrate proof of (i) vaccination, (ii) a recent negative COVID-19 test result or (iii) recovery from COVID-19 in the six months prior to returning to the workplace. Although this measure stops short of requiring private-sector employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, it represents one of the world’s strictest COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

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BREAKING: Green Pass Required for All Employees in Italy

On Friday, October 15, 2021, Italy rolled out one of the world’s strictest COVID-19 requirements.  In an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to move beyond the pandemic, Italy required the country’s entire workforce, including both public and private sector employees, to possess a government-issued health pass (i.e., the Green Pass).

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Luxembourg Again Extends Cross-Border COVID-19-Related Agreements with Belgium

As we have previously discussed, Luxembourg has developed solutions with its neighboring nations to ease the economic burden of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers. Specifically, Luxembourg authorities worked with their counterparts in Belgium, France and Germany to develop measures to minimize workers’ tax and social security concerns and implications when cross-border workers telework.

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