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Stay Updated with HR Regulations for Overseas Ventures HR activities play a vital role in combating the crisis of high attrition rates, shortage of skilled employees and poaching strategies. Human resources and recruiting issues are changing rapidly and in any international business expansion, human resources management has evolved considerably and experienced a major transformation in form and function. As labor disputes continue to rise in China, companies are using an increasingly popular option of labor arbitration — the first non government labor dispute mediation center that opened in Shanghai earlier this year. Previously, arbitration was conducted only by government agencies and the courts, and outcomes were very unpredictable. The new center opened in February 2010 has more flexibility than government agencies allow for more convenience and a less intimidating environment for the disputing parties. In another development, the State Administration of Industry and Commerce has introduced significant changes in the requirements for foreign representative offices including: • Restrictions on staffing (maximum of four foreign representatives). • Frequent renewal of registration certificate, annually instead of every three years. • Increased scrutiny by regulators to ensure only permitted activities (i.e. nonprofit making) are carried out. • The requirement for foreign companies to be established in their home markets for a minimum of two years before setting up a rep office in China. In any company international expansion more and more employers expanding their horizons and are hiring international employees making it difficult to keep abreast of the various HR regulations. An overview of a few of the HR regulations in different countries is as follows: France Redundancies The DGT (General Directorate for Work) has stated that rules on collective redundancies must be complied within full. Collective redundancies in France require extensive workplace consultation and also give employees rights to guarantees like redeployment, training and outplacement assistance. U.K. Data Protection From April this year, the U.K. Information Commissioner is authorized to issue fines of up to GBP 500,000 for breaches of the Data Protection Act. Companies should take particular care over the distribution of unencrypted personal data, in particular loss of data carried in laptops and memory sticks. EU Transnational Workers Companies based in the European Economic Area (EEA) who send employees to work in other EEA countries are facing new social security regulations since May 2010. In general, workers pay social security in the country they are employed in. The new provisions relate to employees working in two or more states. In this case authorities in the country where the employee is a resident determine, which country's Social Security legislation will apply. EU Four Months Leave for Parents The EU has extended parental leave rights from 3 to 4 months. The new Directive also requires that at least one of the four months may not be transferred to the other parent. These rights apply to all workers, including fixed-term contractors and temporary work agency contractors. EU member states remain free to decide whether the leave is paid or unpaid. Korea Working Hours/Expats New legislation is planned to reduce the country’s long working hours. The Ministry of Labor has promised a draft report by August 2010 with further action on this initiative planned within the next year. Expat workers no longer need to renew their visas abroad when changing jobs within Korea. Expats hired by either foreign or domestic intercompany transfer pricing can now renew their visas for up to two years without leaving the country (standard work visas in Korea last for 3 years) allowing firms in Korea to easily hire expats already residing in the country, reducing travel and administrative costs for the company. Taiwan Overseas Workers Under current regulations, overseas contract workers (OCWs) are regulated under a three-tier quota system. Positions in the lowest tier can currently utilize only up to 15% OCWs. The middle tier can utilize up to 18% OCWs. The top tier, which includes jobs considered more risky or labor-intensive, can utilize up to 20% OCWs. New regulations expected to come into effect July/August 2010, create a five-tier system of 10%, 15%, 20%, 25%, 35% categories. The move benefits many companies facing labor shortages, particularly in the electronics sector. In an international expansion, understanding HR regulations can be a mammoth task, and it is therefore essential to take professional help and work with someone who knows the culture and the legal system of the given country. Know more on • regulatory filings • expat tax advice

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