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Employment in Asia-Pacific

Asia-Pacific employment law bulletin 2022

A jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction guide

Welcome to the 2022 edition of our Asia-Pacific Employment Law Bulletin!

In our bulletin a year ago, we focused on the impact of COVID-19 on our working lives as employers and employees in the APAC region.

One year on, it is clear that, around the world, the pandemic still permeates our everyday lives! Some of the early optimism on vaccinations offering the chance of a quick recovery and resumption of normal activity have waned. At the time of writing this bulletin, many jurisdictions in APAC are facing surges in the daily number of infections and going back into lock-down. As a result, employers and employees continue to be affected by COVID-19-induced disruption.

For this 2022 edition of our bulletin, we have again collaborated with our StrongerTogether colleagues across 15 jurisdictions to reflect on our collective experiences in the last year and importantly, to predict what the future holds for the workplace. A common issue we have identified across the region is the approach to mandatory vaccination of employees and COVID-19 testing of the workforce, which is related to the often tricky issue of differential treatment towards vaccinated and unvaccinated employees. Government policies toward COVID-19 remain markedly different across the APAC region and that in turn impacts attitudes and workplace policies.

For our multinational clients which operate across APAC, there is simply no one-size-fits-all approach. Those looking to adopt a globally consistent COVID-19 policy will likely find the exercise challenging and would need to tread very carefully to balance the needs of the business and the health and safety of employees, all while ensuring compliance with local laws and regulations.

The Freshfields Global People and Reward team has penned other articles in our WorkLife 2.0 series bringing together ideas and opinions from across the firm on a range of topics that we consider to be at the forefront of businesses’ minds as we begin to emerge from the pandemic.

We hope you enjoy reading this 2022 edition of our bulletin. Apart from covering pandemic-related updates, we have also outlined some of the key legal developments that are on the horizon across APAC.

Please reach out to your usual Freshfields contacts to get in touch with us if you would like to discuss any of the issues in our bulletin in more detail.

We also invite you to explore Freshfields’ WorkLife 2.0 initiative that looks at the post-pandemic trends in the world of work.