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Italy Implements Mandatory Green Pass for Workers

Italy Implements Mandatory Green Pass for Workers

​Gero Bongiorno works as the head of research and development at an industrial machinery company in Milan, which is preparing for Italy’s Green Pass for workers. As the Oct. 15 implementation date for the Green Pass approaches, Bongiorno isn’t worried about his own direct reports, who are fully vaccinated. But there are other people in the company who aren’t. Employers and Employees Prepare for Green PassItaly’s Green Pass—a domestic COVID-19 passport that indicates if someone is fully vaccinated or has tested negative for the virus in the last 72 hours—has been required at restaurants, entertainment venues and other public places, but will soon be required for any employees who are working onsite. “The employer is obliged to verify whether people working in the work environment have the Green Pass,” said Vittorio De Luca, an attorney with De Luca & Partners in Milan. Verification can be done occasionally, he said. “There must be a policy applicable in the company stating who is responsible to check how and whom, which information may and which may not be checked, and what happens in the case of [the] lack of [a] Green Pass,” De Luca said.Green Pass and PrivacyEmployees have three options to acquire a Green Pass. They can get fully vaccinated, which is the encouraged option. Otherwise, they can present a negative antigen test that allows a Green Pass for 72 hours, or they can prove that they have recently fully recovered from COVID-19. The Green Pass itself does not specify which category an employee falls under, and because of the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation, companies can’t ask. “The company cannot ask, ‘Are you vaccinated,’ or ‘Is your Green Pass active because you took the test this morning, or the PCR [polymerase chain reaction] test three days ago,’ ” Bongiorno said. The employer is free to define who is responsible to verify if employees have the Green Pass. “But the people who are in charge must be formally in charge, that must be part of a policy, [and] the policy must be communicated to the employees,” De Luca said. Even then, the people responsible for checking Green Passes can only see if the person has one, and not under what circumstances. The Green Pass app just shows “the employee can get into the company or not, no other information in the Green Pass may be subject to examination,” he said.No Green Pass, No PayThere are consequences for both employers and employees who don’t abide by the new mandatory requirements. If an employee declares that he or she does not have a Green Pass before entering the workplace, or is found to not have a Green Pass when asked, the employee will be turned away and won’t get paid until he or she gets a Green Pass.Though the vaccination is not mandatory, the use of the Green Pass and its consequences have already led to an increase in vaccinations, De Luca said. Bongiorno knows people who were persuaded by the Green Pass requirements at restaurants …

British Columbia Updates Rules for Investigations, Working Children

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British Columbia Updates Rules for Investigations, Working Children

​British Columbia, Canada, has broadened and clarified its ability to investigate employment compliance matters and will tighten rules for hiring children younger than 16 years old under changes to the province’s Employment Standards Act (ESA).The changes arose from 2019 amendments to the ESA meant to ensure employment standards are evenly applied, properly enforced, and reflect workers’ and employers’ evolving needs. New Investigatory FeaturesAs of Aug. 15, 2021, new rules went into effect governing investigation, complaint and determination processes under the ESA. Among other changes, British Columbia’s employment standards director may conduct an investigation to ensure compliance with the ESA “at any time for any reason,” and expand a probe stemming from one worker’s complaint, according to the amendments.”The director of employment standards has always had the power to investigate compliance with the ESA and Employment Standards Regulation regardless of whether or not a complaint has been filed,” said George Vassos, an attorney with Littler in Toronto. “The changes now make it clear that the director can initiate or stop or postpone an investigation ‘at any time or for any reason.’ “In addition, he said, “The director will now be able to expand an investigation of one worker’s complaint to the broader workplace if needed. This certainly strengthens protections for workers.”Other employees need not sign on to the original complaint for the director to broaden the investigation, noted Ritu Mahil, an attorney with Lawson Lundell LLP in Vancouver. If the wider probe isn’t completed or doesn’t resolve the matter, the director must rule on the original complaint.The employment standards director isn’t required to hold hearings when investigating but must give investigated parties the opportunity to respond, Mahil noted. When an investigation concludes, the law now requires the director to issue a written report summarizing the findings, she said.The report must be provided to the complaining party, the person cited in the complaint and anyone whom the director believes deserves an opportunity to respond. “This step provides procedural fairness for everyone involved before a decision is made,” Vassos said.While fired employees must file any complaint within six months of their last day of work, the new rules allow a worker an extension if the director believes that special circumstances delayed the filing or that an injustice would otherwise occur without the extra time.The director must investigate any complaint considered to be filed validly. Under the new provisions, the director can now use alternative dispute resolution during an investigation, calling on a neutral mediator to help settle or arbitrate matters. Vassos called the option beneficial for employers and employees.Child Employment RulesESA amendments also put into place several new rules going into effect on Oct. 15 related to hiring children, including specifying the type of work permitted and permissions required.”New changes to employment standards will better protect young people at work by raising the general working age in British Columbia from 12 to 16 and defining the types of jobs appropriate for those under 16,” the government said in a press release, which noted …

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