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Employment in Asia-Pacific

Asia-Pacific employment law bulletin

Horizon-scanning - 2024

Welcome to the latest edition of our Asia-Pacific employment law bulletin which scans the horizon and assesses what we can expect for the remainder of 2024.

In 2023, the employment law landscape in Asia witnessed significant developments as countries across the region continued to grapple with the evolving nature of the workforce and the challenges posed by changes in local governments, geopolitical dynamics and socio-economic pressures.

Change was the name of the game.

One of the central themes dominating the employment law landscape in Asia was the increasing focus on safeguarding workers' rights and welfare. Several countries have introduced or strengthened measures to ensure fairer working conditions for employees. For instance, Japan passed amendments to the Labor Standards Act aimed at improving work-life balance and addressing issues related to excessive overtime. Indonesia and Taiwan implemented regulations to combat workplace harassment and discrimination, ensuring a safer and more inclusive work environment for employees.

Another theme was the response to the challenges posed by the rise of the gig economy and digital platforms. Recognising the need for a regulatory framework that adequately addresses the rights and protections of gig workers, more countries have taken steps to revise their labour laws. For instance, in India, new legislation was enacted to provide gig workers with social security benefits and formalize their employment status. Similarly, in Singapore, the government introduced measures to extend certain employment rights to gig economy workers.

In addition to addressing contemporary workforce trends, Asian countries have also focused on enhancing gender equality and diversity in the workplace. Jurisdictions such as Japan and Australia introduced legislation to promote gender inclusivity, requiring companies to report on gender pay gaps.

Now that the Lunar New Year has arrived, we can see that these themes are set to continue.

For this bulletin, we have once again collaborated with our StrongerTogether colleagues to identify key employment law developments in the Asia-Pacific region.

As always, we hope you enjoy this update. Please get in touch with us or reach out to your usual Freshfields contact if you would like to discuss any of the issues in our bulletin in more detail.