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30th July 2021
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Bumble to give staff unlimited paid leave
Dating app Bumble has said its 700 employees can take unlimited paid leave providing their manager approves it. It is understood that the unlimited holiday is contingent on staff still managing to complete their work. The firm, which temporarily closed its offices in June to combat workplace stress, said the pandemic had made it "reflect on" the ways staff worked and prompted a new policy. As well as announcing plans for unlimited paid leave, Bumble will also look to shut its office for a week twice a year. Bumble said when the firm shuts down, some customer staff across its offices in Barcelona, London, Moscow and Austin will still work in case any of the app's users experience issues. "It's becoming increasingly clear that the way that we work, and need to work, has changed and our new policies are a reflection of what really matters and how we can best support our teams in both their work and life," said Bumble president Tarek Shaukat.
German unemployment rate falls after Covid restrictions are relaxed
The unemployment rate in Germany fell to 5.7% in July, according to the federal labour agency, as Europe's biggest economy recovers after coronavirus restrictions were relaxed  in May. Seasonally adjusted figures indicate the number of unemployed people fell by 91,000 in July, and the unemployment rate dipped from 5.9% in June. “The situation in the jobs market is continuing to improve. Despite the beginning of the summer holidays, there has been another significant decrease in joblessness and underemployment,” said Detlef Scheele, head of the BA federal labour agency. “The employment figures continue to grow, and businesses are now looking for more employees,” he added, noting the 744,000 new jobs which were registered this month, 171,000 more than in July 2020.
Unemployment rate in Spain falls to 15.3% in second quarter
Spain's joblessness rate fell in the second quarter of the year as employers hired more workers following the relaxation of COVID-19 protocols, according to data from the National Statistics Institute (INE) which showed the unemployment rate fell to 15.26% in the April-June period from 15.98% in the previous quarter.  The government expects the unemployment rate to fall to 15% at the end of 2021 and to 14% in 2022, Economy Minister Nadia Calvino said earlier this week. Around 465,000 new jobs were added in the second quarter, according to the official data.
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Google workers will need Covid shots to return to office
Google workers will need to be vaccinated before returning to the office, the US tech giant has said. The policy will begin at the company’s US campuses within weeks and then be rolled out globally for its 144,000 employees. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post that "anyone coming to work on our campuses will need to be vaccinated." How the policy is implemented "will vary according to local conditions and regulations, and will not apply until vaccines are widely available in your area," he said. In addition, Google will extend the full reopening of its global campuses from September 1st to October 18th due to an increase in cases caused by the Delta variant of coronavirus. People in special circumstances can apply to work from home until the end of 2021. However, any Google employee can apply to work from home permanently if they choose, and transfer offices. Google expects that over time in any given week, 60% of employees will work in the office for a few days each week, one-fifth will be working in new office locations and another fifth will be working from home. Google's decision to extend remote-working follows a similar move by Apple, which recently also moved its return-to-office plans from September to October.
LinkedIn reverses course on remote working
LinkedIn is to allow staff to opt for full-time remote work or a hybrid option as offices gradually reopen, the company’s Chief People Officer Teuila Hanson has told Reuters. The updated policy, offering the flexibility to work remotely full-time or work at an office part-time, will apply to LinkedIn's global workforce of more than 16,000 employees. "We anticipate that we'll definitely see more remote employees than what we saw prior to the pandemic," Hanson said, adding that some jobs would require in-office work.
Credit Suisse profit slides in Q2
Credit Suisse has recorded a 78% fall in second-quarter net profit after the bank took a hit from the collapse of family office Archegos Capital. Revenues were down by 41% to $1.7bn compared to a year earlier. A Credit Suisse-commissioned report by law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison said the lender's “lackadaisical” attitude to risk and a lack of action on red flags led to its $5.5bn loss from the collapse of Archegos. Credit Suisse said that it will “put risk management at the heart of our decision-making processes” as a result of the Archegos failure.
Germany's top court rejects appeal in cum-ex tax evasion case
The German Federal Court of Justice, the country’s top court, has confirmed an earlier regional court ruling in a trial over so-called cum-ex tax fraud and upheld fines amounting to millions of euros against a bank and two London share traders. The court classified all such trades as illegal tax fraud. Cum-ex fraud sees traders use a legal loophole to trick governments and receive millions in tax repayments for taxes they had never paid. The Bonn district court had earlier issued a fine of around €14m ($16.5m) for one of the traders held responsible for cum-ex trades and ordered the private German bank MM Warburg to pay back around €176m. The sentence also included suspended jail time. The Federal Court confirmed that "there could be no doubt" regarding the intentions of the accused.
Driver shortage threatens UK milk supplies
Arla Foods UK, the largest milk processor in the UK, warns that milk supplies are under threat from a growing shortage of delivery drivers. Brexit-related issues have been compounded by the pandemic, with thousands of UK drivers told to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace app. Arla Foods UK managing director Ash Amirahmadi said this means 600 of the 2,4000 stores the company routinely supplies have missed out on shipments. He said: "Since around mid-April we have been experiencing driver shortages, particularly in southern England. It's progressively got worse and our assessment is that the food industry is now in a driver shortage crisis." National Farmers' Union dairy board chairman Michael Oakes added: "We are getting drivers that don't normally do the job and that is due to the high demand.'' There are up to 100,000 unfilled driver vacancies, but the government has so far refused to add driving to the list of "shortage" occupations or designate it a skilled profession, which would allow drivers from the EU to work in the UK.
Number of IT employees in Norway increases
The number of IT employees in Norway increased by 21.1% from 2015 to 2020, according to Statistics Norway (SSB), which noted that a large part of the increase had occurred within the occupational group of software and app developers/analysts. People with IT occupations accounted for only 3.2% of employees in Norway at the end of 2020, but this group accounted for 14.5% of the total increase in the number of employees from the fourth quarter of 2015 to the same period last year, SSB said.
German companies eye opportunities in Qatar's security sector
A delegation of companies from Germany's civil security technology sector is expected to visit Qatar later this year to explore local investment opportunities. Kathrin Lemke of the German Industry & Commerce Office Qatar (AHK), which is facilitating the visit,  said twelve companies specialising in the fields of security applications, automotive security technologies, aerospace defence security systems, cybersecurity, broadcast and media solutions, biometric verification services, IT security solutions, and personal protection have already confirmed their participation. She said security technology is one of the major upcoming industries in Germany. “The sector's growing significance and generous government aid will make the industry one of the winners in the decades to come. The German security technologies market is characterised by high growth and dynamic and constant change, which is helping create numerous opportunities for co-operation.”
Canadian start-up 1Password is valued at $2bn
Canadian security and privacy tech start-up 1Password has announced a $100m fundraising round led by Silicon Valley venture capital firm Accel, valuing the company at $2bn. 1Password CEO Jeff Shiner noted the increasing cybersecurity challenges faced by organisations. For example, employees using apps an employer may not know about, and the difficulty of tracking employee usernames and passwords that has led to IT employees continuing to have access to their former employers' system.
Tunisian labour union seeks political crisis roadmap
Tunisia’s UGTT labour union says it is preparing a roadmap for steering the country out of political crisis that it would present to President Kais Saied. The UGTT, which won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for its work to negotiate through an earlier democratic crisis, has recruited economic, political and constitutional law experts who can present a solution to the crisis to the president, union officials said. Saied, who has been accused by critics of a coup for taking over governing powers, held talks with the union on Tuesday in one of his first major meetings.

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