Philip whitely reports on what's happening in HR around the world
Furore in Spain as court outlaws pay freeze
A major constitutional controversy has erupted in Spain after the High Court ruled that a public sector pay freeze imposed by the government in 1997 was unlawful.
The court has decided that the incoming centre-right government of Jose Maria Aznar broke an agreement signed by its predecessor with the unions, which would have seen public sector salaries rise by as much as 2.6%.
Trade unions have promised a "hard and virulent" fight to ensure that the government meets the back-dated payments in full, which could cost the Spanish Exchequer close to Ptas500bn (US$3.45bn). The two main national trade union bodies, the UGT and the Comisiones Obreras, were discussing the possibility of a national strike as globalhr went to press.
Home-based staff gain more rights
European businesses will have to ensure that home-workers receive the same treatment as other employees, under regulations due to be in place by the start of 2002. The European Union's social affairs commissioner, Anna Diamantopolou, signed the agreement on teleworking on 7 February this year.
The main features are to guarantee equality of access to training and career development; equal protection under health and safety rules; and continuation of employment status and collective rights. www.worldatwork.com
Big payoffs linked to "non-litigation" clauses
Employers in the US are cutting down on litigation by linking increased severance payouts to clauses that bar an ex-employee from suing the company, according to a report in USA Today.
One example is ICG Communications, a data, voice and Internet communications provider, which offers an additional two weeks' severance pay for every year of service to employees who sign a non-litigation agreement.
Companies are anticipating a short economic downturn and they do not want to have a negative profile, because they may be hiring again in the near future, the report noted.