2 minute read 18 Feb 2022
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What regulations govern returning to the office as we enter the ‘beyond’ phase

Authors
Paula Hogéus

EY Global Labor and Employment Law Leader and Nordics Law Leader

Advisor to clients on a wide range of domestic and international employment law issues - workforce restructuring, strategic workforce planning, workforce risk management and HR transactions.

Cornelius Grossmann

EY Global Law Leader

Global Law Leader. Passionate about integrity and diversity. Father of five. Fond of classical music.

2 minute read 18 Feb 2022
Related topics Law Tax

For global organizations, the focus has now turned, in many jurisdictions, to understanding the relevant legal requirements for returning to the workplace. 

Three questions to ask
  • How prepared is your organization for your employees return to the office?
  • Can employers make vaccinations against COVID-19 mandatory for all employees?
  • How does your organization handle “high-risk” employees that will need special treatment in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?

As organizations around the world adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, employers in many jurisdictions have started preparing for the “beyond” phase. Unlike ever before, key reputational, strategic and human resources questions must be answered about whether the organization can ask all, some or certain employees to resume working from the office or official business premises, either partially or in full.

Collected and consolidated by our labor law professionals in more than 55 jurisdictions, the EY Law Global Return to Office tracker captures answers to employers’ eight key questions, including

  • the existing legal framework for returning to the office
  • the position regarding mandatory vaccination of employees
  • an employer obligation to establish health and
  • safety standards in the workplace as well as other relevant employment law considerations

Find EY Law Global Return to Office tracker (pdf) to view the answers to these critical questions.

In our latest update, we cover the recent developments arising from the production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. The tracker explores employers’ ability to oblige employees to obtain a vaccination before returning to the office. Based on the legal position as reported by local EY Law professionals, the majority of jurisdictions indicate that employers cannot mandate vaccination for their employees.

However, in a growing number of jurisdictions, the law stipulates that mandatory vaccination may be possible, depending on a number of factors such as the industry or sector in which the employer operates and whether such a condition would be reasonable. A number of jurisdictions indicated that, for example, healthcare workers could reasonably expect to be obliged to obtain a vaccination. Similarly, a growing number of jurisdictions permit employers to make mandatory vaccination a condition of new employment as long as it is reasonable for the nature of the job role.

All jurisdictions require adaptation and awareness at the workplace including mandatory bio-security measures such as hand sanitizer, social distancing and, in some countries, also wearing a face mask. At the time of writing, jurisdictions such as the United Arab Emirates, India and Singapore mandate all employees must download and utilize government-developed applications on their mobile devices. Employees must also be aware that in some jurisdictions, the standard employment contract implies that any refusal to attend the office may constitute grounds for summary dismissal – no matter the ongoing pandemic.

Download our EY Law Global Return to Office tracker (pdf) to understand the regulations governing this area in more than 55 countries.

(While this document is updated on a regular basis, it has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, legal or other professional advice.)

Summary

The EY Law Global Return to Office Tracker provides regular updates on the key reputational, strategic and human resources questions to be considered by employers.

About this article

Authors
Paula Hogéus

EY Global Labor and Employment Law Leader and Nordics Law Leader

Advisor to clients on a wide range of domestic and international employment law issues - workforce restructuring, strategic workforce planning, workforce risk management and HR transactions.

Cornelius Grossmann

EY Global Law Leader

Global Law Leader. Passionate about integrity and diversity. Father of five. Fond of classical music.

Related topics Law Tax