Business Recovery in ASEAN After COVID-19 – Latest Issue of ASEAN Briefing Magazine
In this issue:
- Government Measures to Counter COVID-19 Impact in ASEAN
- Legal Provisions to Manage HR and Employment Concerns
- New Investment Opportunities in ASEAN
In this issue of the ASEAN Briefing magazine, we begin by introducing the different incentives and measures issued by ASEAN’s largest economies from March to June 2020 to mitigate the economic impact of the virus. We then analyze the HR and employment issues faced by businesses during the pandemic. Finally, we focus on the investment opportunities in ASEAN in the post COVID-19 era.
Poland: May an employee refuse to come back to the office after working from home?
The anti-COVID-law stipulates no maximum deadline as to how long the home office order may stay in force. This means that the employer is entitled to decide unilaterally on this issue in the scope of its general authority to issue orders and directives to employees. Should an employee refuse to obey, the employer is even entitled to terminate the employment on the ground of violation of a direct employer’s order. However, this kind of misconduct should not be treated as a very serious offence, as far as the employee carries out their working duties properly. Indeed, termination on that basis could be difficult to defend in the labour court.
Recruiting in China After COVID-19: HR Planning and Talent Acquisition for SMEs
COVID-19 has caused great disruptions to China’s economic activities. Industries, such as catering, tourism, film and television, and retail, have been hit badly due to the pandemic outbreak. Many enterprises, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), have had to suspend new hiring or even downsize staff to cut labor costs and survive financial difficulties.
That said, now is also a great time to reconsider the firm’s human resources (HR) planning and recruitment arrangement. Here is why.
Firstly, SMEs can evaluate and adjust their business development plan, dissolve unnecessary business units, and set up new lines of business that meet the new market needs.
Romania’s Image Has Improved
How has the corona pandemic affected your business?
What sort of mandates are you currently working on in Romania? Unfortunately, the pandemic also had a major impact on the Romanian labour market, especially in the executive segment.
In certain sectors, there is still uninterrupted demand – these include the IT, food, retail, consumer goods, and online trading sectors. On the other hand, it particularly affected the automotive industry, the transport and logistics sector, and of course tourism and hotels, restaurants, and catering (HoReCa).
Christian Tegethoff Talks About The Challenges In The HR Sector Post-COVID-19 At The Online Webinar Organised by The Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber Of Commerce In Russia
On June 25, 2020 Christian Tegethoff, Managing Director, CT Executive Search spoke at the online event organized by the Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Russia (CCBLR) titled, Decoding COVID-19 HR Challenges.
Mr. Tegethoff addressed several burning issues, such as:
- How did COVID-19 affect the HR sectors in Russia, Germany, and Eastern Europe (CEE/SEE)?
- What measures were taken by the governments and companies operating in these regions to retain employees and curb unemployment rates?
Present at the event were business owners, Heads of Belgian-Luxembourg Chambers of Commerce in Asia and the CIS, the Russian Ambassador to Luxembourg, and top executives of Belgian, Luxembourg and Russian companies with business operations in these regions.
German Companies Benefit From The Size of the Market
Sebastian Metz, Executive Board Member of the German-Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bucharest
What measures has Romania taken to respond to the coronavirus pandemic?
What medium and long-term effects do you expect for the country? Romania reacted quickly and took early measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic. Schools and kindergartens were closed in mid-March, when the state of emergency was declared. Other measures to prevent and control infections have been introduced, such as the requirement to wear a mask in public transport and in closed rooms.
To support the business environment, the Romanian government has also taken measures to mitigate the long-term economic consequences. These include bank guarantees for SMEs and micro-enterprises, deferrals of loan repayments, deferrals for rent and ancillary costs, changes in the payment deadlines for debts to the state budget, granting free working days for parents, tax support measures and 75% of the (technical) unemployment benefits borne by the state.
Legal Framework In Romania
Cristiana Stalfort, Managing Partner, STALFORT. Legal.Tax.Audit.
As the second largest country in Eastern Europe, Romania with its approximately 23 million inhabitants is an interesting place for foreign investors. As a result of the corona crisis, it should become even more attractive as a nearshoring location.
When entering the Romanian market, foreign companies should first conduct extensive research into the geographic and economic environment in which the Romanian subsidiary is supposed to operate. Certain aspects such as infrastructure and geographical location, nearby university cities (for research, development and IT activities) or available labour in the area (for production activities) can be decisive.
Marcus Honkanen to support CT Executive Search as Senior Advisor
We are pleased to welcome Marcus Honkanen as a Senior Advisor to our team. We are thus strengthening the long-term cooperation with Nordic Minds, which is headed by Mr. Honkanen as Managing Partner. The international executive search firm has offices in Germany and Scandinavia.
Marcus advises and supports his clients in the recruitment of management positions in the Central and Northern European markets, as well as conducting pan-European searches for top-tier executive positions.
A Look At The Eastern European Labour Markets During COVID-19
The Coronavirus pandemic and the political measures that followed have also had an impact on the Eastern European labour markets. Over the course of April, we asked our clients and partners, mainly manufacturing companies in areas such as agricultural machinery, building materials, and industrial components, how they are dealing with the situation in Eastern Europe.
All of the companies we surveyed have so far not had any redundancies. All the companies have switched most of their administrative staff to remote work, some have closed canteens and other non-essential facilities to minimize contact.
ONLINE CONFERENCE: Decoding COVID HR Challenges
Online Conference Organised by the Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce
Decoding COVID HR Challenges: A look on the European and Eurasian labor market and opinions from professionals
Date: 25 June, 2020
Time: 11 am Moscow time (GMT +3)
Participation: Free of charge
Christian Tegethoff, Managing Director, CT Executive Search, and Lodewijk Schlingemann, Managing Partner, Juralink will shed more light on the ongoing situation in the HR sector, post-COVID-19. You will get an introduction to the current HR market situation and an overview of the current trends in Russian and European labor law.
Register here for the event
Romania: Technical unemployment indemnification in the context of Covid-19
issues of legality and interpretation
According to the Labour Code, during technical unemployment: "employees whose activity has been reduced or interrupted, who no longer work, shall benefit from an indemnification, from the salary fund, which may not be less than 75% of the basic salary for their position".
Due to the international epidemiological situation caused by the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and the institution of a state of emergency, a series of measures has been adopted to combat the effects of the pandemic, including some regarding indemnification for technical unemployment.
Executive Jobs that are Well Suited for Remote Work
Almost 90 percent of the companies we surveyed recently responded to the corona pandemic by largely switching to remote work. Some industries have already been familiar with this way of working, such as management consulting, whose employees are usually highly mobile and can work practically from anywhere. In other areas, companies struggled - production processes cannot easily be carried out remotely and office routines also have to be re-formed over a distance.
From the results of our global survey, it is quite clear that remote work is likely to become a part of “The New Norm” during and post COVID-19. Over 80% of those who took the survey said that some of the employees were currently working remotely, and of these, over 50% said that after the pandemic is over, not everyone will be returning to the office.
Vietnam’s Regional Labor Market: Labor Cost, Workforce Optimization and HR Strategy
- Vietnam’s labor market varies across the country and can prove challenging for first-time investors.
- Businesses interested in Vietnam should be aware of the different regional landscape, labor pools, industries, and infrastructure among other factors best suited for their business needs.
- We highlight the opportunities and challenges for businesses looking to hire labor in the northern and southern parts of the country.
Vietnam has a population of over 97 million people spread over 330,000 square kilometers. The country is still predominately rural, with urban centers providing a home for just 35 percent of the population. Companies entering Vietnam for the first time often fail to account for regional variation in the labor market and invest in locations ill-suited to their industry.
Romania: Support measures for employees and employers in force as of June 1, 2020
Emergency Government Ordinance no. 92 of May 28, 2020 has been published in the Official Gazzette no. 459, of May 29, 2020 (“EGO 92/2020”). The ordinance institutes active support measures for employees and employers in the context of the epidemiologic situation generated by the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The act also modifies other legislation.
The Government has decided on the following support measures from June 1, 2020:
I. Employees who have benefited from technical unemployment in the context of the SARS-COV-2 pandemic and whose employment relationships are maintained after employers resume work will be entitled to receive payment of salary from their employer for three months. The payment is calculated at 41.5% of basic salary for their position, but not more than 41.5% of average gross earnings established by the State Social Insurance Budget Law No. 6/2020.
Doing Business in India 2020
An Introduction to Doing Business in India 2020, the latest publication from Dezan Shira & Associates, is out now and available as a complimentary download on the Asia Briefing Bookstore.
The guide explains the basics of company establishment, tax, accounting, and audit regime, annual compliance, human resources, payroll, and social insurance obligations in this dynamic market.
This publication, designed to introduce the fundamentals of investing in India, was compiled by the experts at Dezan Shira & Associates, a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business intelligence, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence, and ﬁnancial review services to multinationals investing in emerging Asia.
COVID-19 Travel Ban Series: How to Pay Your Foreign Employees Out of China
Paying your foreign employees out of China
Some foreign employees may wish to receive their Chinese salary in their overseas bank accounts in foreign currency, providing them enough money to support their international expenses and offering them more financial security during this special period.
For a Chinese employer, in practice, remitting an employee’s salary overseas will first involve confirmation from the respective bank and accountant, in China.
Romania: Teleworking during the state of alert
Employees’ consent – a sine qua non condition for implementing teleworking and working from home during the state of alert. But is an additional act necessary for this?
This article offers a brief analysis of measures for preventing and combating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic under article 17, Law no. 55/2020.
Article 17 of Law no. 55/2020 allows employers, during the state of alert, to decide, with employees` consent, that activities are to be carried out as teleworking or as working from home, that the place of work is to be modified, or that duties may be changed.
Indonesia Issues Safety Guidelines for Businesses Post Lockdown
- On May 20, 2020, Indonesia’s Ministry of Health issued Decree 228/2020, which provides safety guidelines for businesses after the lockdown ends.
- The measures include requiring all employees to wear masks and implement social and physical distancing.
- Businesses should also prepare procedures on how employees can identify suspected COVID-19 symptoms and the steps to report them to the authorities.
Indonesia’s Ministry of Health issued Decree No. HK.01.07/MENKES/328/2020 (Decree 228/2020) on May 20, 2020, which provides safety guidelines that offices and industrial workplaces should implement once the lockdown period comes to an end.
Can I Get a Residence Permit by Working in Russia?
Gaining a Russian Residence Permit and Citizenship Working as a Qualified Specialist
Today, one of the easiest ways to obtain residency in Russia indefinitely is to work as a qualified specialist. As of February 2020, the Russian government has approved a list of 135 “qualified specialist” professions, which they deem essential to Russia’s continued economic and cultural development. Foreign citizens who come to Russia to work in one of these professions are allowed to obtain a residence permit after 6 months of working officially in any of the professions from the list. Interestingly, the Russian government is also offering a fast track option to gain Russian citizenship for these professionals as well.
Survey: HR Issues During COVID-19
The ongoing pandemic has changed the way business is being done globally. This includes working conditions and the current state of the HR industry. As COVID-19 continues to transform the workplace, what does the future hold in terms of “The New Normal” of working?
CT Executive Search conducted a global survey, in partnership with the Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce, to get answers to questions regarding:
- Remote working;
- Salary cutbacks;
- Work processes after COVID-19.
Business owners, Vice presidents, General managers, Directors, and other employees from 75 companies with offices in several countries gave their feedback on HR-related issues during COVID-19.
Advisory Boards: Competence Centres For Difficult Markets
What is an advisory board and what does it do?
As the name suggests, an advisory board is a committee with a purely advisory function. Unlike the management, an advisory board has no decision-making powers. In contrast to supervisory boards, advisory boards also have no formal control function. Advisory boards have no governance tasks or legal responsibilities. This means that companies are free to compose their advisory boards as they please. There are no rules as to who can join an advisory board, how often the board meets, and what issues it deals with. Formal elections, term limits, and disclosure of advisory board remuneration are not required.
Companies Benefit from Smartly Selected Advisory Boards
Dr. Alireza Azimzadeh, Persia Consulting and Persia Financial
How popular are advisory boards in Iran? How do they usually operate?
Advisory boards are not particularly common in Iran as a distinct institution. However, the typical functions of an advisory board - mainly advising and establishing contacts – are carried out differently.
The boards of directors and supervisory boards of Iranian companies are often staffed with more people than in other countries. One reason for this is that some of these directors perform tasks that are covered by advisory boards in other countries.
Advisory Boards Tie Know-How and Networks to the Company
Dr. Frank Schauff, Honorary Council Member and outgoing CEO, AEB
What specific tasks were associated with your advisory mandates?
At Expobank, I worked as an independent member of the supervisory board, in an advisory role. My agenda at Expobank was heavily influenced by financial issues. The quarterly meetings of the supervisory board dealt with the financial situation of the bank, such as credit risks or accounting issues. In addition, of course, there were also strategic questions, such as answers to the crisis of 2014 and 2015. There were also issues in the area of corporate management.
For me personally, the area of government relations also played a role, especially, after the acquisition of subsidiary banks in the Czech Republic and Latvia.
Slovakia: A summary of state aid to support employers
An update from bnt attorneys in CEE
An overview of measures adopted by the Slovak government to support employers.
In order to maintain employment, the Slovak government adopted several measures in April to support employers, self-employed persons and citizens without income. Each of the five measures determines who is the entitled applicant, as well as the amount of the subsidy and the conditions for granting it.
Under Measure No. 1, employers (including self-employed persons) who have had to close down their business as a result of the decision of the Public Health Authority may apply for compensation for the employees' salary up to 80% of their average wage. The maximum amount paid by the state for an employee is EUR 1,100.
Read the complete update here.
STATE RESCUE PACKAGE FOR START-UPS IMPLEMENTED AS TWO-PILLAR MODEL
An article from BEITEN BURKHARDT
After long negotiations between the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Federal Ministry of Finance as well as VCs and start-ups, the matching fund for start-ups is finally a done deal!
The official press release of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) can be found here. The corresponding statement of the German Start-ups Association (Bundesverband für Deutsche Start-ups) can be found here.
The following has been decided:
- In addition to the measures implemented so far, the government is making a total of EUR 2 billion available to support start-ups.
- Both start-ups that are already VC-financed start-ups and those that are not will be eligible for support.
Read the complete article here.