Employees are the backbone of any supply chain operator. As such, upholding fundamental labor standards and protecting worker rights is a complex undertaking. Further, COVID-19 has introduced additional complexities regarding employee safety and remote work. The following are some considerations to help employers navigate the global framework of ever-evolving laws that touch the supply chain.

Modern Slavery

One of the major priorities for an employer in the supply chain industry is to avoid and prevent forced labor. Globally, millions are thought to be in trapped in forced labor. Many of these victims are linked to the supply chains of the international businesses supplying our goods and services. According to the Walk Free Foundation’s Global Slavery Index, published with input from the United Nations’ International Labor Organization and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), as of 2016, about 40.3 million men, women and children were trapped in modern slavery, including 24.9 million people who were victims of forced labor in global supply chains. Slavery can exist in all stages of the supply chain, from the picking of raw materials such as cocoa or cotton, to manufacturing goods such as mobile phones or garments, and at later stages of shipping and delivery to consumers.

To combat this human rights issue, several governments, on the global and U.S. federal and state levels, have passed laws to prevent human trafficking and require companies to ensure that they are not using forced labor:

  • In the United States, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act makes human trafficking a federal crime, allows victims to sue traffickers; expands the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act’s list of crimes to include human trafficking, provides deportation protections for victims and their families, requires annual reports to Congress on efforts to prevent human trafficking, requires the government to notify all applicants for work and education visas about workers’ rights in the US and screen all unaccompanied immigrant children. Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 prohibits the importation of goods mined, produced or manufactured, wholly or in part, in any foreign country by forced labor, including convict labor, forced child labor and indentured labor. Regulations promulgated by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) allow for issuing withhold release orders, requiring detention of goods at ports of entry when CBP agents reasonably believe that an importer is attempting to enter goods made with forced labor.
  • Further, California enacted the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010, under which companies with over $100 million in gross sales who do business in California must disclose on their websites any efforts taken to eradicate human trafficking from their supply chains.


Continue Reading Employment Considerations in the Global Supply Chain

With special thanks to our Australian colleagues Michael Michalandos and Carmel Foley for this post. 

This briefing contains a summary of everything an employer in Australian needs to know about the operation of the award system.

Why this is important?

We have prepared this briefing because there has been a high incidence of employers in the information technology industry failing to have regard to the application of modern awards in their workforce or misunderstanding how these awards operate. In particular, many employers have issued employment contracts which do not identify the applicable award and do not contain provisions which comply with the award.

This may result in a potentially serious compliance issue which could cost the business a significant amount of money in terms of back-payments, penalties, and potential reputational damage.


What is an award?

Modern awards (or, simply, “awards”) are industrial instruments created by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) that set and regulate minimum terms and conditions of employment for certain employees in Australia. Currently, there are 122 awards and almost all businesses in Australia will employ award-covered employees. Awards operate in a similar way to legislation and their application can only be circumvented in very limited circumstances.

Who do awards cover?

Awards generally fall into one of two categories: “industry awards” or “occupational awards.” Some awards apply on both an industry and occupational basis, for example the Professional Employees Award 2010 (Professional Employees Award) which, for example, covers engineers on an occupational basis but also covers employers operating in the “information technology industry” (as defined) on an industry basis.


Continue Reading A Quick & Timely Guide to the Australian Award System

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a rapid, severe, and unprecedented disruption to the movement of workers around the globe. In an effort to impede the spread, many governments have implemented travel and immigration restrictions that have impacted visa processing, work authorization, and cross-border entry for foreign nationals employed by multinational companies.

In order to allow

In 2020, trade tensions, uncertainties over Brexit, significant changes in the political landscape and unexpected global events, such as the Coronavirus outbreak, continue to present challenges for the global employer. Meanwhile, the relentless advance of technology is accelerating workplace transformation, creating an opportunity for employee growth and diversification across industries.

To help navigate the global

(With thanks to Michael Michalandos and our Asia Pacific Employment and Compensation team for this post.)

The recent outbreak of COVID-19 (the Coronavirus) raises challenging issues for employers, particularly those that operate in multiple locations, provide a variety of services, and employ a global workforce which travels routinely. Now is the time for employers to

The world is facing yet another year of unprecedented changes and complex challenges making uncertainty the new normal.

In the Global Employer Magazine: 2019 Horizon Scanner we review the key themes and trends that dominated the employment law landscape in 2018, and explore the global trends and issues employers need to know about in 2019.

Listen in! We just released three new episodes of The Employer Report podcast series. Each 15-20 minute episode offers on-the-go learning opportunities to navigate the latest developments impacting multinational employers.

  • 2019 Employment Law Changes in China, Australia and Singapore
  • 2019 Employment Law Changes in France, Germany and the UK
  • 2019 Employment Law Changes in Mexico

In recent years, joint employer liability has emerged as a persistent threat for companies who use franchise business models. Franchisors are increasingly facing claims brought by employees of franchisees for entitlements flowing from their employment. The outcome in these cases is unpredictable because the law is undergoing change. As such, the joint employer aspects of

Two recent events in the US vividly illustrate the growing centrality of gender pay equity issues. On one side of the ledger, in early April 2018, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in Rizo v. Fresno County Office of Education, held that an employee’s prior salary—either alone or in a combination