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In brief

As organizations settle into more flexible working arrangements in the wake of the pandemic, we are seeing a wave of changes in Inclusion, Diversity & Equity (I,D&E)-related legislation. Across the globe, governments are seeking to augment long-established, generic laws on equality to promote inclusion and diversity in the workforce and keep up with measures that many organizations are already implementing.

In this update, we summarize recent trends and developments in I,D&E, focusing in particular on those relating to women in the workplace and work-life balance.
 


Supporting women in the workplace

Governments are recognizing the need for laws to protect the rights of and alleviate difficulties unique to working women. A menstrual leave for female employees is under discussion in Spain. In the UK, menopause in the workplace has gained much traction in the light of businesses, governments and regulators having publicly recognized menopause as a health priority. In China, a provincial court issued its first equal opportunity case judgment in favor of a pregnant employee. In Latin America, Colombia has required the implementation of nursing rooms in private companies with less than 1,000 employees, while Argentina has required employers to provide maternity and day care rooms for companies with more than 100 employees.

Meanwhile, Brazil, Singapore and Japan have launched initiatives to strengthen career advancement opportunities for women, and in Europe, the European Commission has proposed a directive for EU member states to enforce a quota on the participation of women in corporate boards, following the initiatives of Germany and the Netherlands.

Work-life balance and family-friendly changes

With the European Union’s deadline on implementing the work-life balance directive now having passed, several member states including Poland, Italy, Denmark and the Netherlands are slated to enforce enhanced parental and carer’s leaves. In the Asia Pacific region, several jurisdictions including China, Japan and Malaysia have improved parental leaves for employees, including giving options for employees to request flexible working arrangements to accommodate the needs of their young families.

To read our full report on the latest regional developments and thought leadership pieces in I,D&E click here.

Author

Michael Brewer is the Managing Partner of Baker McKenzie's California offices in San Francisco, Palo Alto and Los Angeles and Chair of the Firm’s Global Employment & Compensation Practice. A trial lawyer who represents global and domestic clients, Michael has tried class action and single plaintiff employment cases before judges, juries and arbitrators. Super Lawyers has repeatedly recognized Michael for his superior defense of employment claims.

Author

Susan Eandi is the Chair of Baker McKenzie's North America Employment and Compensation Practice Group, head of the Global Employment and Labor Law Practice for North America, and a member of the North America Regional Management Council. She also serves on the Firm's Antiracism Legal Impact Board. Susan speaks regularly for organizations including ACC, Tech GC, Silicon Valley AGC and World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Susan publishes extensively in various external legal publications in addition to handbooks/magazines published by the Firm. Susan is a recognized leader in employment law by International Employment Lawyer, The Daily Journal, Legal 500 PLC and is a Chambers-ranked attorney.

Author

Monica Kurnatowska is a partner in the Firm's London office. She is a leading employment lawyer who is recognised by The Legal 500 and Chambers UK as a "highly respected, extremely impressive and an exceptional legal mind; she has a tremendous appreciation of the details." Monica is a member of the Consultation Board of PLC Employment Online and is a regular speaker at internal and external seminars and workshops.