Employment

General environment
Austria Relatively strict and employee-friendly in many aspects due to a rich trade union history in Austria.

A large number of Collective Bargaining Agreements covering almost every industry sector.

No concept of employment at will. Only the first month of an employment relationship can be agreed as a probationary period, during which the employment can be terminated by either party with immediate effect without giving reasons.
China Chinese law is relatively employee friendly. There is no firing at will. Disputes that are not resolved amicably with employees frequently end up in labour arbitration/ litigation.

Well drafted bilingual labour contracts and employee handbooks are important in practice.

Trade unions are less influential in practice, compared with some Western countries.
Czech Republic Employees enjoy a wide statutory protection as the weaker side. There is no concept of “employment at will”, only the first three months of an employment law relationship can be agreed as a probationary period, during which the relationship can be terminated by either party with immediate effect without giving reasons. Any other dismissal by the employer must be justified by a real and serious cause; the reasons are stipulated in the Labour Code.
England & Wales Stricter and more employee friendly than the US, lighter than mainland Europe.
No concept of employment at will although the first two years’ employment is close to this.
France The concept of “employment at will” does not exist. Any dismissal must be justified by a real and serious cause, the absence of which may render the employer liable for damages.
Germany Stricter and more employee friendly than the US and UK. Strong protection of employees against unfair dismissal if the company has more than 10 employees. No concept of employment at will. Employment relationships are co-determined by works councils where established. Mandatory co-determined supervisory board if the company has >500 employees.
Hong Kong The HKSAR Government regulates employees’ rights and benefits, occupational safety and health through various labour legislation.

Hong Kong also applies 31 relevant International Labour Conventions as the local circumstances allow, which is comparable with neighbouring places with similar economic development as well as social and cultural background.
Hungary The Labour Code contains minimum provisions for employment contracts and applicable rules for an employment relationship just as for the termination of an employment relationship. The Labour Code contains sections that are binding while other parts allow derogations to a certain extent. The labour environment is stricter and more employee-friendly since the new Act.

Generally, there is strong protection of the employees by giving effect to the principle of equal treatment. Certain employee groups (such as women from the time of their pregnancy, until the child reaches three years of age or minor employees) enjoy special protection and benefits.
There are two levels of the statutory minimum wage:
The 1st level applies to all employment relationships under Hungarian law: The minimum wage in this level amounts to gross HUF 161,000 (approx. EUR 488) monthly (or HUF 926 [approx. EUR 2.80] per hour).
The 2nd level applies to all employees with secondary education level: The minimum wage in this level amounts to gross HUF 210,600 (app. EUR 638) monthly (or HUF 1,211 [app. EUR 3.67] per hour).
Ireland Employment law in Ireland is derived from the Constitution, legislation, common law and EU law.
Netherlands Strict, though much more employee friendly than the US and the UK.
Poland The Labour Market in Poland is considered as employee-friendly but lighter than in countries of Western Europe. No concept of employment at will.

In the case of an indefinite contract with the strongest employment guarantee, it is required to indicate the reason for termination in writing. The weaker protection of the labour code is characterised by a definite or trial period contract, which can be terminated without reason.
Singapore Generally not as strict as mainland Europe, closer to the US/UK.
Slovakia Strict and employee-friendly. No concept of employment at will, except for the probationary period in which the employer may terminate the employment with immediate effect and without giving any reasons. As a general rule, the probationary period may not exceed three months. A six-month probationary period can be agreed with employees in managerial positions.
United Arab Emirates Employment for onshore legal entities in the UAE and most business free zones are governed by Federal Law no. 8 of 1980 (as amended) (UAE Labour Law). Standard form employment agreements need to be completed when applying for work permits and residency visa for non-UAE national employees. These agreements are usually supplemented by another commercial terms employment contract. No employee is able to work without sponsorship from a locally licensed entity and approval from the local authorities.

Companies exceeding 50 members of staff are also required to have a prescribed percentage of UAE nationals employed, depending on the sector. The law differentiates between limited term and unlimited term employment agreements.
Unfair dismissal maximum damages (length of service needed for this to apply)
Austria Depending on length of service (six weeks to five months’ salary payment) according to law as well as compensation payments for unused holidays. Deviating contractual agreements in favour of the employee are possible.

Basically from the first day of employment. A one month probationary period can be agreed upon during which the employment can be terminated by both sides with immediate effect without further (monetary) consequences (unless the termination was discriminatory).
China In cases where an employer termination is found to be illegal, the employee is entitled to reinstatement or, if impossible, to double the statutory severance pay.
Czech Republic If the employment law relationship has been invalidly terminated, the employee may notify the employer in writing that he insists on being further employed. The employment relationship shall continue to exist and the employer shall be obliged to provide the employee with compensation for wages. The employee shall be entitled to compensation in the amount of the average earning from the date of notification to the employer until the time when the employer allows the employee to continue his work or when the employment relationship validly ends.

Invalidity of termination of an employment relationship may be claimed by both, the employer and the employee, at the courts no later than within two months of the date when the employment relationship was to end through such termination.
England & Wales Approximately £85,000 plus up to approximately £15,000 depending on age and years of service. Two years
France Maximum amounts of damages fixed by the French labour Code in consideration of the employees’ seniority: from a maximum of one month’s gross remuneration for an employee having less than 1 year seniority to a maximum of 20 months’ gross remuneration for an employee having more than 29 years’ seniority (not including any damages on other grounds, such as moral harassment, overtime, etc.).
Germany No statutory law for damage compensation;
A dismissal needs to have a justified reason (operational, personal or behavioural reason) if the German Act Against Unfair Dismissal (KSchG) applies where 6 months’ job tenure and more than 10 employees employed in the operation;
If the dismissal is void and the claim of the employee successful, the employee will have to be re-employed or the employer needs to buy-out by a severance payment (as a rule of thumb 0.5-1 monthly salary per year of employment);
Smaller businesses up to 10 employees are not subject to unfair dismissal protection.
Hong Kong In the case of an unreasonable dismissal, the Labour Tribunal may order:
- terminal payments (for a continuous contract of not less than 24 months)
In the case of an unreasonable and unlawful dismissal, Labour Tribunal may order:
- terminal payments; and
- an award of compensation not exceeding HKD$150,000
Hungary Once the probation period has expired, the termination of the employment relationship shall be justified with at least one of the listed reasons of the Act (in connection to the employee’s behaviour in relation to the employment relationship, or employee’s ability or the employer’s operations) which means the employer must provide a specific reason for dismissing an employee within a certain time frame following the occurrence of the cause.

In case of wrongful termination of an employment relationship the compensation paid by the employer for loss of income from employment payable to the employee may not exceed twelve months’ salary. In addition the employee is entitled to severance pay as well, if his employment relationship was wrongfully terminated. The concrete amount of the severance payment depends on the length of service at the employer (beginning with 1 month’s salary after three years and up to 6 month’s salary after 25 years).
Ireland The maximum damages for unfair dismissal is two years' gross remuneration. Generally, an employee must have 12 months' continuous service to bring a claim for unfair dismissal.
Netherlands Statutory compensation of 1/3rd of a monthly salary per year of service applies upon termination.

Possible unfair dismissal damages in exceptional cases, has no maximum amount
Poland Reinstatement to work with the former conditions or monetary compensation. This compensation amounts to the remuneration due for a period ranging from two weeks to three months not less than the remuneration for the period of notice (statutory max. three months).
Singapore There is no statutory maximum limit on damages to be awarded for unfair dismissal, whether the employees fall within or outside the Employment Act.
For employees covered under the Employment Act, after 12 months of work for the employer they have the right to submit an appeal to the Minister for Manpower within 1 month from date of dismissal. The Minister of Manpower may order (i) reinstatement or (ii) compensation
Slovakia Where the court decides on the invalidity of the termination of employment, the employee may receive wage compensation from the day he/she announced the employer that he/she insists on keeping a job until the employer enables the employee to keep working, or until a court rules on employment termination. Such a period may not exceed 36 months.

If this period exceeds 12 months, the employer may ask the court to reduce wage compensation down to 12 months. The entitlement of the employee to receive wage compensation for unfair dismissal is not conditional upon the length of his/her service at the employer.
United Arab Emirates The maximum compensation for an arbitrary dismissal that can be awarded to an employee is an amount equivalent of up to three times the employee's monthly salary.

No minimum length of service required to claim arbitrary dismissal after the expiration of the probation period.
Maximum statutory notice from employer
Austria Six weeks to five months depending on the length of service according to law.
Deviating contractual agreements in favour of the employee possible.
China No notice period in case of termination with just cause (limited statutory reasons). 30-days' notice period in other cases (also limited statutory reasons).
Czech Republic The notice period must be the same for the employer and the employee and shall equal at least 2 months. The notice period may be extended only by agreement between the employer and the employee; such agreement must be made in writing.

The notice period shall commence on the first day of the calendar month following delivery of the notice and end upon expiry of the last day of the relevant calendar month.
England & Wales After one month, one week per year worked, up to a maximum of 12 weeks.
France Depending on the terms of the contract and of the applicable Collective Bargaining Agreement: in practice between one and three months depending on status and seniority (in specific cases, up to 6 months).
Germany - 7 months to end of month (≥20 years service)
- 4 months to end of month (≥10 years service)
- 2 months to end of month (≥5 years service)
- 1 months to end of month (≥2 years service)
- 4 weeks to 15th or end of month (>6 months service)
- 2 weeks (≤6 months service).
Hong Kong During probation period:
- within first month of probation: notice not required
- after first month of probation: in accordance with the employment agreement, but in any case no less than seven days.

After probation period:
- with agreement: no less than seven days
- without agreement: in accordance with the employment agreement, but in any case no less than 1 month.
Hungary As a general rule, the period of notice is thirty days. The minimum notice period for dismissal increases with the length of the employment.

Where the employment is terminated by the employer, the thirty-day notice period shall be extended:
- by five days after three years;
- by fifteen days after five years;
- by twenty days after eight years;
- by twenty-five days after ten years;
- by thirty days after fifteen years;
- by forty days after eighteen years;
- by sixty days after twenty years
of employment at the employer.
Ireland The statutory notice period to terminate a contract of employment will depend on the employee's length of service. The maximum statutory notice is 8 weeks — this is when the length of service is more than 15 years.
Netherlands One to four months, depending on the years of service.
Poland The period of notice of termination of a contract of employment for an indefinite period and for a definite period depends on the period of employment with the given employer:
- two weeks to end of week if the employee was employed for less than six months;
- one month to end of month - for at least six months;
- three months to end of month - for at least three years

If a contract for employment is made for a trial period (which is maximum three months) from three business days up to two weeks.

Deviating contractual agreements in favour of the employee admissible (often used for managers).
Singapore For employees covered under the Employment Act:
- length of notice must be same for both employer and employee and determined based on the terms of the contract of service
- if there is no agreed length of notice in the contract of service, required notice of termination is dependent upon the employee’s length of employment which could be up to 4 weeks.
For employees who fall outside the Employment Act:
- Not subject to statutory minimum notice period
- Entitled to reasonable notice if his or her contract of service does not set out an express notice period
Slovakia One to three months depending on the length of service and the termination cause. The notice period starts on the first day of the calendar month following its delivery.
United Arab Emirates At least 30 days written notice is required after completion of the probation period where the employment agreement is for an unlimited term, and assuming termination is not for one of the prescribed list of offences for gross misconduct as set out in the UAE Labour Law. In the case of gross misconduct dismissals falling under Article 120 of the UAE Labour Law the employee would forfeit their entitlement to notice.
Collective agreements / Works Councils common?
Austria Very common. Collective Bargaining Agreements (between chamber of commerce and trade unions) covering almost every industry sector.

Works councils within the undertakings also very common and relatively powerful.
China A company with 25 or more employees must establish a trade union which may negotiate and conclude a collective contract. In practice, collective contracts are extremely rare.
Czech Republic Collective Bargaining Agreements are not as widespread as in other European countries, although rather common in heavy industries (eg automotive, mining).

Work councils and representatives for occupational health and safety protection may also be elected in an employer’s organisation. The establishment of such bodies is not mandatory, even if a certain number of employees is exceeded.
England & Wales Very rare.
France Industry-wide Collective Bargaining Agreements (“CBAs”) generally apply to companies in France.

Social and Economic Committees (new Works Councils) have to be implemented as from 11 employees over 12 consecutive months. In companies employing at least 50 employees over 12 consecutive months, the Social and Economic Committee has specific powers in economic, financial and strategic matters and benefits from a budget for its functioning and for social activities to the benefit of the employees.
Germany Collective agreements: Commonly applicable and varying depending on industry segment if:
- a company is member of an employers’ association and workforce is unionised or
- a collective agreement is statutorily generally applicable.
Hong Kong Collective agreements are very rare (coverage of less than 3%).

Works councils do not exist in Hong Kong. Employee representation in Hong Kong is implemented through trade unions.
Hungary Collective agreements can theoretically be concluded at the workplace level, at the professional/technical level, at the class level, at the sectoral level, at the territorial level or at the national level. Currently the micro level counts as dominant in Hungary, the professional or national level is not present yet. According to non-official statistics approximately one third of the employees fall within the scope of a collective agreement (those individuals mainly employed in the public sector).

If the average number of employees is higher than fifteen a shop steward, if it is higher than fifty a works council shall be elected. Both the shop steward and the works council have the same entitlements. Works councils are a right of the employee and not a duty of the employer.
Ireland They are not common.
Netherlands Collective agreements common, but not in technology.

Works Council is mandatory at 50 + employees.
Poland Collective agreements are not common in private business sector. They are more common in state owned companies and some industries (eg mining).
Singapore Trade unions are administered by the Industrial Relation Act, the Trade Disputes Act and the Trade Unions Act
Collective agreements are common within specific industries, such as transport and manufacturing
Slovakia Collective agreements are common both on an employer and sector level.
Works councils are also common but not as much as trade unions.

A works council can be set up in a company that has at least 50 employees. Companies that have more than two but less than 50 employees can have an employee trustee. The rights and obligations of an employee trustee shall be identical to the rights and obligations of a works council.
United Arab Emirates Labour unions are not recognised under UAE law and against public policy.
Maximum working hours
Austria 40 hours normal weekly working time according to law – although many CBAs provide for a weekly working time of 38.5 hours.

With overtime hours, a maximum of up to 12 hours per day and up to 60 hours per week is possible under circumstances. However, the maximum of 48 hours per week on average within a timeframe of 17 weeks must not be exceeded.
China In principal, eight hours per day and 40 hours per week (but subject to exceptions for allowed overtime).
Czech Republic 40 hours weekly working time, the duration of a shift may not exceed 12 hours.

Overtime work ordered to an employee may not exceed eight hours in individual weeks and 150 hours in a calendar year.
England & Wales 48 per week (opt-outs are common).
France 48 hours per week and 44 hours per week during 12 consecutive weeks (specific provisions can be provided by CBAs and company collective agreement).

10 hours maximum per day, subject to exceptions.
Germany 48 hours per week (Monday to Saturday), average eight hours per working-day, max ten hours per working-day; max. of 40 hours in a five-day working week common.
Hong Kong Currently, there is no legislation regulating working hours except for employment of young persons employed in certain industrial undertakings.
Hungary The rules relating to work schedules shall be laid down by the employer. As a general rule, work shall be scheduled for five days a week, between Mondays through Fridays. Where working time is defined within working time framework covering up to four months, working time may be irregularly for each day of the week or for certain days only (irregular work schedule).

According to the work schedule:
- the daily working time of the employee shall not exceed 12 hours;
- the weekly working time of the employee shall not exceed 48 hours.
Ireland The maximum working week is 48 hours, aggregated over a reference period the duration of which varies according to the nature of the employment but is typically four months, with some exceptions.
Netherlands An average of 48 hours a week during a period of 16 weeks.

In general 60 hours a week.
Poland Regular working time is eight hours per day and an average of 40 hours per week in an average five days working week (usually Monday-Friday) within an adopted settlement period not exceeding four months.

With overtime hours a maximum of 13 hours per day and 48 hours in a week.
Singapore Rules relating to working hours only apply to employees that fall under Part IV of the Employment Act (whether shift or non-shift workers)
o Shift workers: the hours of work must not exceed an average of 44 hours per week over any continuous period of 3 weeks (subject to a maximum of 12 hours per day, except in prescribed circumstances)
o Non-shift workers: for those who works 5 days or less per week, the agreed hours of work must not exceed 9 hours per day or 44 hours per week
o Overtime
o Maximum permitted overtime is 72 hours per month, unless employers successfully apply for and obtain an exemption from Ministry of Manpower.
o Employer must pay at least 1.5 times the hourly basic rate of pay.
Slovakia Maximum weekly working time is 40 hours. An employee working alternately on both shifts of a two-shift operation shall have a maximum working time of 38 and ¾ hours per week, and on all shifts of a three-shift operation or continuous operation, maximum working time of 37 and ½ hours per week.
An employee’s average weekly working time including overtime may not exceed 48 hours.
United Arab Emirates The maximum normal working hours for adult employees is eight hours a day, or 48 hours a week.

However, working hours for the employees of commercial establishments, hotels, restaurants, watchmen and similar operations may be increased to nine hours a day as determined by the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

Working hours for all employees are reduced by two hours for all employees during Ramadan.
Minimum paid time off
Austria Typically five weeks annual leave.
Six weeks after 25 years of service.
Further, Austrian law stipulates 13 public holidays that generally have to be paid time off.
China Depends on time in employment:

- if more than 1 year but less than 10 years, 5 days annually

- if less than 20 years, 10 days annually

- if more than 20 years, 15 days annually.
Czech Republic The duration of annual leave shall equal at least four weeks in a calendar year and at least five weeks in case of state employees.
England & Wales 20 days plus eight public holidays (but market is often higher).
France 25 working days (five weeks) per year.
Germany 20 days minimum statutory holiday entitlement in a five days-working-week plus public holidays (but market often higher).
Hong Kong Employees under a continuous contract are entitled to paid annual leave ranging from a minimum of seven days to a maximum of 14 days, depending on their length of service.
Hungary Employees are entitled to paid annual leave comprising vested vacation time and extra vacation time. The amount of vested vacation time shall be twenty working days and rises gradually based on the age of the employee up to a maximum of 30 working days in the year when the employee reaches the age of 45. In certain cases employees shall be entitled to extra vacation time (for example based on the number of their children).
Ireland There is a statutory annual leave entitlement of 4 weeks (contract of employment could give greater rights). In addition, there are 9 statutory public holidays.
Netherlands 20 days taking into account a 40-hour week, but the market is often higher than the minimum amount.

Public holidays are additional.
Poland The length of leave (in a full-time job – education partially included):
- 20 days - if the employee has been employed in his/her entire career for less than ten years;
- 26 days - more than ten years.
The length of leave for an employee working on a part-time basis is established in proportion to the amount of working time of such an employee.

National holidays are additional.
Singapore Employees who fall under Part IV of the Employment Act who have worked for his or her employer for at least 3 months is entitled to 7 days’ paid vacation / time off / leave for the first year of service. An additional day of leave every subsequent 12 months of service will be provided, up to a maximum of 14 days.
For employees who fall outside the Employment Act entirely or those who fall within the Employment Act but not Part IV, their paid vacation / time off / leave are based on contractual agreement.
Slovakia Employees younger than 33 years of age who are not taking care of a child are entitled to a minimum of four weeks of paid holiday per calendar year. Employees younger than 33 years of age who are taking care of a child and employees older than 33 years of age are entitled to a minimum of five weeks of paid holiday per calendar year.
United Arab Emirates 30 calendar days plus private sector holidays as announced by the UAE Federal government from time to time.
Requirement for Pension Plan
Austria No requirement for pension plan in the common sense. However, mandatory employer contributions of 1.53% of the gross monthly salary into an employee severance fund (for employment relationships commenced on or after 1 January 2003).
China Enterprise annuity plans exist but are currently voluntary.

Statutory basic pension insurance is part of the social insurance system.
Czech Republic A pension plan per se does not exist in the Czech Republic.

In general, the Czech public pension system consists of:
- a mandatory basic pension insurance, in the context of a pay-as-you-go system, and
- a voluntary complementary additional pension insurance with state contributions, capital funded.
England & Wales Obligations to automatically enrol workers into a pension plan were being phased in until 2018.

Minimum contributions are currently 3% employer and 5% employee.
France This is managed by the National Pension Fund, which provides base as well as complementary pension to French employees.
Germany Not statutory.
Hong Kong The amount of contribution required under the Mandatory Provident Fund Scheme
for either the employer or the employee is 5% of the relevant monthly income of the employee, subject to a maximum cap of HK$1,500 per month and except for where the relevant monthly income is less than HK$7,100.
Hungary What is mandatory is the state required pension insurance contribution which consists of the employee’s contribution deducted by the employer of/from the employee’s gross salary and the employer’s contribution (both paid by the employer to the Hungarian Tax Authority).
There is no statutory obligation to have a pension plan. It is only a possibility for employers to grant a pension plan, but it is highly unusual in Hungary.
You as employer may provide a certain supplementation of the pension your employees will receive by opening a voluntary pension fund account. (A voluntary supplementary pension fund is a non-profit organisation founded by private persons which provides supplementary pension insurance services to its members according to the Act LXXXII of 1997 on Private Pensions and Private Pension Funds). It is a more cost-conscious possibility than wage increase and also promotes the improvement of the self-provisioning and financial culture of the employees. In addition to this the employer can account the membership fee assumed (employer’s contribution) as cost.
Ireland Currently, there is no requirement for employers in Ireland to establish an occupational pension scheme for their employees. Employers are required to provide employees with access to a personal retirement savings account (or PRSA), a contract based retirement savings product. Employers are not required to make contributions to a PRSA on behalf of their employees. The Irish Government is currently considering introducing an auto-enrolment system to increase pensions coverage however this remains at an early stage and final proposals have not yet been presented.
Netherlands No statutory obligations.

Some sectors are covered by an industry-wide Pension Plan, but not in technology.
Poland It is not statutory or required however this can change in 2019 as legislation works on implementing a compulsory system of Employees Capital Plans with mandatory employers contributions (in addition to voluntary Pension Plans) are in progress.
Singapore Singapore’s compulsory pension plan is the Central Provident Fund (CPF) scheme. This is available to Singapore Citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents only.
Non-domestic employees are not eligible to pay/or receive CPF contributions.
Slovakia No, in case of EU or OECD citizens. Non-EU or non-OECD citizens need a residence permit.
United Arab Emirates There is no such benefit under UAE Labour Law. Non-UAE nationals are entitled to a statutory end-of-service payment provided continuous service of at least 1 year with the same employer was completed. This amounts to 21 days basic pay for each year worked for the first 5 years of employment and 30 days per year for subsequent years, capped at 2 years pay. This entitlement is forfeited in instances where the employee is terminated for gross misconduct.

For eligible UAE and GCC national employees, the employer and the employee must make contributions to a national pension system.
For eligible UAE and GCC national employees, the employer has to make contributions to a national pension system.