Unique Labor Laws Around the World

The internet has successfully turned our world into a global village – a community that freely communicates, share, and work together. Despite the many online jobsites and platforms that link international freelancers with potential employees, hiring and staffing virtual offices could still hit a snag. The world, after all, is still made up of countries divided by borders, practicing divergent cultures, and governed by different sets of laws.

Knowing the labor laws and local work practices will give you a better understanding of the freelancers that will lead to more productive and harmonious working relationships. Here are some unique labor laws that you might find weird or excessive but are totally acceptable and considered a right by other nations.

Take a nap at work? If you’re in Japan, you’ll be a candidate for employee of the month or year. This is because falling asleep at work is considered a sign of hard work. But there’s a catch to this sleeping habit, you have to stay upright and behind your desk for your naps.

It is almost impossible to lose a job in Portugal. It is illegal to fire an employee in the country. An employer can only offer attractive resignation benefits and hope the intended employee accepts it. Portuguese remote workers could expect the same with their online employments.

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Austrians have a law that requires employees to take as much as 30 days of paid leave! That is enforceable after six months of employment. If the employee has been with the company for over 25 years, his or her annual paid vacation leave is upped to 36 days.

The Philippines has a law that requires employers to pay their employees an annual bonus equivalent to the employees’ monthly salary, it’s called the 13th Month Pay. The bonus is required to be released before December 25th of each year, with the option to release half in June and the rest in December. Filipino freelancers usually include the pay when negotiating for their asking salary.

In Belgium, travel is a right. An employee can file for a ‘career break’ of up to one year. Career breaks allow employees to pursue their passion, travel, and just get away from the humdrum of work. The best part is, career breaks are paid and employees can secure their place in the company upon their return. Do not be surprised when your Belgian freelancer asks for a year off!

Another unusual labor law from Japan requires employers to monitor their employees’ waistline! Employees from 40 to 74 years old must not exceed waistline measurements of 35.4 inches for women and 33.5 inches for men. Those who exceeds the limits will undergo diet programs.

Leaving a job in Italy is not so stressful, financially-wise. Employers are required by law to pay resigning or fired employees an end-of-employment payment called the TFR or Trattamento Di Fine Rapporto. The TFR is equal to one month pay for every year of employment. For companies with over 50 employees, the TFR is paid to the employee’s pension fund.

Australian employees can work on Flexitime. There is a law that grants employees the freedom of managing their working hours and days. They can use accumulated overtime hours to offset regular work hours. So, if you want to take the Friday off, you can just work eight more hours from Monday to Thursday. This practice is also a prerogative among remote workers and freelancers around the world.

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