Asia Pacific

New COVID directions apply from 15 October 2021

Just a quick but important note to make sure that you are on top of the new COVID-19 directions in relation to mandatory vaccinations and how they apply to your business.

In summary:

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The minefield of mandatory vaccinations

Directions around the Victorian government’s expansion of the mandatory vaccinations were made today.

The Directions, which previously covered health care, construction and teachers, now apply to all workers in Melbourne and regional Victoria who perform work outside their place of residence.

We look at the key points, including employer responsibilities, important dates, and what to do when employees refuse to be vaccinated .

If you would like to discuss these or any other Employment Law issues, please contact Heather Richardson or Isabella Royce. Read more…

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Clarification on CSR Funds for Covid-19

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (“MCA”) vide its circular no. 09/2021 dated May 05, 2021 (“Circular”) has expanded the Covid related expenditure which would qualify as eligible Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”). Now, spending CSR funds for ‘creating health infrastructure for COVID care’; ‘establishment of medical oxygen generation and storage plants’; ‘manufacturing and supply of Oxygen concentrators, ventilators, cylinders and other medical equipment for countering COVID-19’; or similar such activities would be considered as CSR.

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How should employers manage the COVID-19 vaccination rollout?

With COVID-19 vaccinations rolling out in Australia, employers may be considering asking their employees whether they have been, or will be, vaccinated against the virus. They may also be wondering whether they can, or should, require that their employees get the vaccine.

It is extremely important that employers consider their obligations, as well as their employees’ rights in relation to the collection, use, storage and disclosure of information regarding the health of employees, and in particular in relation to their COVID-19 vaccination status.

They should also understand that there are very limited circumstances under which they may be permitted to mandate that their employees are vaccinated.

In order to assist employers in managing the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out, we ask the big questions in the context of Fair Work and Privacy considerations. Read more…

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Telemedicine Practice through Consultation Centres/Clinics in India: Guidelines and Regulatory Approvals

Onset of COVID 19 pandemic created an urgency in provision of medical services to remote areas through digital and online means and adoption of technology. Prior to March 25, 2020, there was no single consolidated regulation or guideline in India which dealt with the practice of telemedicine. Telemedicine was accordingly governed by the same statutes that govern the ‘practice of medicine’ in India such as Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 (as superseded by the National Medical Commission Act, 2019, the “IMC Act”) and the subsequent rules and regulations issued thereunder.

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Recent changes in consumer behaviour due to the COVID-19 pandemic mean that few businesses can afford to ignore the internet, and the opportunities for efficiencies and scale that it offers.  Operating a business online presents tremendous opportunities for growth by opening up new geographical markets, however it also creates new challenges for businesses in ensuring that their key intellectual property assets, which are made available online, are adequately protected.

So how can businesses manage their intellectual property, and ensure they are not infringing on the intellectual property rights of others, when trading online?

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Extension for holding AGM for FY 2020

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has given directions to extend the due date for holding Annual General Meetings for the financial year ending on March 31, 2020, taking into account the difficulties faced due to Covid-19 pandemic situation in the country.

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Calcutta High Court Calls for Expenses Incurred by Schools during Pandemic

Case: Vineet Ruia vs. State of West Bengal [WP 5890(W) of 2020]

Forum: Hon’ble High Court of Calcutta (“CHC”)

Order delivered on: August 18, 2020

Substance of the Order: Establishment of a committee to ascertain the expenses incurred by schools during lockdown to determine if any concession in fees can be passed on to the students in view of the financial distress caused by the COVID 19 pandemic.

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ILN: Unprecedented Aid During the COVID-19 Crisis

The ILN’s Labor & Employment Group has put together a summary document, addressing the question, “In the UK the government has stepped in with unprecedented aid such as paying 80% of employees’ salaries who are at home and not working up to £2500 per month. There are also a raft of other financial measures. What measures have been enacted in your jurisdictions, and what are the impacts?” Click the guide below to see responses from 11 jurisdictions.

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Negotiation/Settlement of Lockdown Wages is a Way Forward Holds Supreme Court

Non-payment or substantial reduction of wages for the period the Indian industry was closed or operating at limited capacity due to COVID-19 despite the Central Government’s order to continue paying wages to workmen during the lockdown period has led to filing of several petitions before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.  In  the matter of Ficus Pax Private Ltd. & Ors. Vs. Union of India & Ors. [Writ Petition (C) Diary No. 10983 of 2020] (clubbed with various writ petitions), the Supreme Court has issued interim measures aimed at negotiating and settling the wages to be paid by employers to its employees for the lockdown period pursuant to the order dated March 29, 2020 (“MHA Wage Order”) issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (“MHA”) in exercise of its powers under Section 10(2)(l) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 (“DM Act”) and its subsequent withdrawal vide MHA’s order dated May 17, 2020 with effect from May 18, 2020. The settlement, if any, will be without prejudice to the rights of the employers/employees which is the subject of adjudication of the aforesaid petitions.

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