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COVID-19 HR pulse: w/c 1st June

Our weekly news pulse for Human Resources leaders rounds up the latest news and insights impacting people professionals amid the developing COVID-19 pandemic. Quick click to jump to the relevant updates:


Government updates

New Zealand’s finance minister, Grant Robertson, has announced that anyone made jobless due to COVID-19 will be able to claim $490 tax-free for the next 12 weeks in order to help them adjust, retrain or find new employment. Read more

As Jordanian governmental staff this week resumed work at ministries, official departments, institutions and public bodies, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced it will be easing restrictions from 28th May. People there will now be able to travel by car between cities during permitted curfew times. Read more

Panama’s health minister, Rosario Turner, has confirmed that the next phase of lockdown restriction-easing will start from 1st June, with the textile, electronics, and electricity sectors able to resume. Places of worship, parks, and sporting facilities may also reopen at 25% capacity. Read more

The government of the Czech Republic has lifted restrictions (first introduced in March), requiring people to wear face masks in public. The announcement coincides with the final phase of its easing of sanctions in pubs, restaurants, hotels, and museums. Read more

Germany’s so-far coordinated response is reportedly splintering after the state of Thuringia announced it would break from the recommendations of the federal government and ‘go it alone’. The state’s premier said he would end obligatory face-mask wearing and limitations on the number of people gathering in the next two weeks. Read more

Palestinian prime minister, Mohammad Shtayyeh, has said courts, ministries and official bodies will resume work after the three-day Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr ends. It has had just 602 people diagnosed with coronavirus since the beginning of March. Read more

The Japanese government has said it will ease restrictions on social and economic activities in stages every three weeks now that it has lifted its state of emergency. Read more

New South Wales’ premier, Gladys Berejiklian has announced a 12-month pay freeze for public servants, in line with decisions made in other jurisdictions. Read more

Iceland has this week eased its national alert level, allowing public gatherings of up to 200 people, as well as permitting the opening of night clubs and gyms. The move is seen as a sign it has completely recovered from its outbreak. Read more

The Spanish government has allowed cafes with outside seating to open for the first time since March 14, and says it will also allow tourists in from outside the country from July onwards. It this week also passed a universal basic income bill, guaranteeing 850,000 households half the country’s minimum wage of 1,108 euros per month. Read more

Unions/Association updates

India’s ten central trade unions have accused federal and state political leaders for going against the interests of working people by introducing rules designed to kickstart the economy, but which outlaw collective bargaining and require some to work 12 hours’ without paid overtime. Read more

The UK’s National Education Union has accused the government of taking a “cavalier approach” to the opening of schools next month. Read more

The Unite and GMB union, have accused British Airways of planning to re-hire staff, on less favourable terms than they were already on. They claim this includes being on lower pay and with worse conditions. Read more

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has published a policy document, claiming there can “be no going back” to pre-coronavirus times, with it claiming there is a need for an “expansion of employer social security contributions, as well as increased taxation of wealth, passive income and environmentally damaging activities.” Read more

The SFL-CIO union, which represents more than 13 million workers in America, has filed papers to sue to country’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for failing to force companies to protect workers from COVID-19. Read more

Corporate HR announcements

F1 giant, McLaren has said coronavirus has forced it to cut 1,200 jobs - or 10% of its global workforce - as it continues to be impacted by cancelled sporting events, and a fall in car sales globally. Read more

Oxfam International is proving the charity sector is suffering too. It has announced layoffs of 1,500 staff, and the closure of operations in 18 countries - including places like Afghanistan, where it has worked for the past 50 years. Read more

Lloyds Bank says it will delay making any decisions about job cuts until October at the earliest. Any member of staff placed on notice of redundancy will also not leave until the autumn. Read more

Car maker Renault could “disappear” if it does not get state aid soon, according to French finance minister Bruno Le Maire - who is said to be considering whether to grant the company a 5-billion-euro loan. The news comes as Nissan is considering plans to cut 20,000 jobs across its global network. Read more

Walt Disney Resorts has submitted a reopening proposal to authorities in Florida, while Universal Studios will open its Orlando theme park at reduced capacity next week. Read more

Boeing has told the Wall Street Journal that the first wave of job cuts as part of its planned 10% reduction in its global workforce will start with 2,500 voluntary layoffs. Read more

Fiji Airways is axing a huge 51% of its workforce. It is also reducing the pay of those that remain by 20%. Read more

The executive board at Deutsche Bank has agreed to forego one months’ pay and have requested hundreds of their tops managers also give up a month of their salaries. Read more

Apple has said it will begin reopening its retails stores in Japan from 25th May onwards. Temperature checks will be required before customers can enter shops, and they will also be asked to abide by strict social distancing rules. Read more