Top Takeaways From “Going Global: Employment Solutions in Retail and Hospitality”
1. Employees are looking for employers who care about their mental health/well-being. Employers who spend some time and energy focusing on their employees’ needs and safety are better positioned to retain and attract talent.
2. Talk to employees about needs and work/balance issues. But talk without action does little to enhance goals of retention or attracting new employees. Some countries and states have existing or pending “right to disconnect” laws – France had one on the books and Germany has one pending. In the US, non-exempt employees cannot work off the clock without being paid, so this difference requires a disconnect at least for hourly workers. Argentina adopted a right to disconnect for remote work during the pandemic. The United Kingdom (UK) is exploring how employers can be more flexible to bring back workers.
3. Union organizing and bargaining are markedly different. In Canada and the US, unions and grassroot organizations are using technology, such as QR codes, and social media, effectively to easily communicate and enlist support. In the UK, unions are pushing pay equity audits as a way to gain members. In Argentina, employers should expect that most workplaces are unionized. In Ireland, most unions are public sector and unions target only the largest private employers. Most of Ireland is comprised of small businesses which are not of interest to unions.
4. The impact of the pandemic on women and caregivers was profound. Countries, providences, states, and individual employers employ a variety of strategies to address this impact.
- Argentina has non-discrimination legislation against caregivers and employers with 100+ employees must provide on-site child care or reimburse employees for care (and this is not included in compensation for tax purposes);
- Argentina law provides remote workers who have caregiving responsibilities have the right to perform tasks compatible with their care tasks and to interrupt the work day to do so, but there must be clear communication and accurate recording of when work begins, ends, or is interrupted;
- Canada has subsidized, very affordable, public child-care, typically $10-$12 per day, but this gets a bit complicated when different provinces have different rules than the “federal” rule.
- In the UK, employers in this sector are really struggling as many relied on foreign nationals to work. With COVID, many of these employees returned to their home countries and have not returned, leaving a labor shortage.
- In Ireland, statistics show that 40% of women do not return to work after a second child. The pace of legislation to provide sick time, or parental leave has been slow, with reliance on EU standards. Ireland is also experiencing a labor shortage.
- In the US, no federal law addressing and most of the response has come from private employers who provide on-site daycare, subsidies for caregiving, or emergency backup childcare.
5. Audits (pay or productivity), employee surveys, and listening to employees are imperative to managing burnout, attrition, and making changes to correct course.
- Mercedes Balado, Managing Partner, MBB Abogados
- Paul Callaghan, Partner, Taylor Wessing
- Millie Kempley, Associate, Taylor Wessing
- Danny Kaufer, Senior Counsel, Borden Ladner Gervais
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