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European Edition
11th June 2021
Most Dutch people who lost their job in first lockdown found new work easily
Most people in the Netherlands who lost their job during the first coronavirus lockdown found new employment within six months, even if they worked in sectors hit hard by the public health crisis such as hospitality and events, the Dutch state jobs agency UWV said. The UWV said in its latest jobs market review that 61% of people who lost their job between March and October last year found a job within six months – and the figure was 63% for bar and restaurant workers.
Brussels demands Germany recognise supremacy of EU law
The European Commission has retaliated after Germany’s constitutional court ruled that the European Court of Justice (ECJ) had overstepped its powers by backing the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing and bond-buying last May. Brussels has now started infringement proceedings against Germany demanding case law is changed to recognise the primacy of the ECJ. The ruling by Germany’s federal constitutional court established “a serious precedent” that other EU member states could use to challenge the supremacy of the ECJ over national courts, the commission said. A commission spokesman observed: “The German courts thereby deprived the judgment of the European Court of Justice of its legal effect in Germany, breaching the principle of the primacy of EU law," adding that the decision by the German court was a “violation of fundamental principles of EU law,” even though the ruling was resolved without stopping the ECB’s efforts to stimulate the eurozone economy.
Former Bombardier employee charged over rail deal
A Swedish prosecutor has charged a former employee of a subsidiary of Canadian aircraft maker Bombardier, now owned by French firm Alstom, on suspicion of bribing an Azerbaijani official to win a $340m rail equipment contract in 2013. The prosecutor said Bombardier’s Swedish railway unit had secured the contract by steering $100m to an Azeri company run by an official linked to the Azerbaijan railway authority with oversight of the tender. An Alstom spokesperson said : “This matter concerns a former Bombardier Transportation employee, and it does not concern in any way Alstom or any Alstom employees.”
Woman wins case over headphones at work
A woman in the UK has won a case over using headphones to listen to music at work. A judge at an employment tribunal ruled that by not allowing Misbah Hanif to listen to music, her bosses “deprived her of a coping mechanism” that helped manage her anxiety. “The disadvantage was more than minor or trivial because anxiety had the potential to affect [her] productivity at work, as well as her mood,” observed employment judge Adele Aspden. Hanif, who worked as presenting officer in the Department for Work & Pensions’ office in Stockton, Teesside, is now set to receive compensation. Employment tribunal rulings in the UK do not create legal precedents.
Free bespoke educational offers for adults in Norway
Norway is allocating NOK 81 million for new courses and educational offers for unemployed people, young people, and recent graduates. Universities, colleges, vocational colleges and other private institutions will receive money to scale up existing flexible educational offerings, the Ministry of Education and Research said. “Young people and those with low education have the most difficulty in the labour market, and now, they will get more opportunities to get an education while they wait to enter working life again,” Minister of Research and Higher Education Henrik Asheim (H) observed, adding “The offers are free for those who want to sign up and often digital. It makes it easy to combine with job search, family life, or work. Some of the courses start already in June, so I hope many people use the opportunity to acquire more competence quickly.”
Fewer Finns took sick leave in 2020 despite pandemic
Kela, the Finnish government agency in charge of settling benefits under national social security programs, paid out less overall in sick pay in 2020 as fewer municipal employees took sick leave, according to official data. The amount of long-term sick leave taken by municipal workers declined despite the pandemic.  The fall in sickness-related absences from work may be due to changes related to the pandemic, including teleworking, reduced social contact, changes in employment practices and shifts in the way people sought and accessed care. However, a third of workplace absences were related to mental health. 
Turkey's unemployment rate increases to 13.9% in April
The rate of joblessness in Turkey reached 13.9% in April, up 0.9 percentage points from the previous month, according to data released by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat). A seasonally adjusted measure of labour underutilisation rose to 27.4% from 25.7% a month earlier. The number of unemployed people aged 15 and over increased 275,000 month-on-month to 4.5 million in April, the data showed.
Tax reforms result in a net loss for the UK
Analysis by Tax Watch contends that the G7 agreement on a global minimum corporation tax rate will see lower UK tax bills for US tech giants. The think tank concluded that the tax rate for Amazon, Facebook, Google and eBay from Pillar One – which is aimed at making firms pay tax in the countries where they have users - would be below or at the same level as their current UK tax liabilities. But with the local Digital Services Tax removed, the overall effect would be a tax cut. Pillar Two - the 15% global minimum corporate tax rate - will enable the UK to collect more tax from its own large corporations, but will have no impact on US-based companies, Tax Watch argues. Tax Watch is a UK charity that says it is "dedicated to compliance and sound administration of the law in the field of taxation." Its backers include Julian Richer, of Richer Sounds, and James Timpson, of the eponymous shoe repairer. 
Denmark cracks down on crypto-traders
Denmark is cracking down on crypto-traders after finding that two-thirds of local transactions made using cryptocurrencies aren't properly taxed. The Danish tax ministry says the country's century-old existing tax code isn't designed to deal with crypto-assets, including a heightened risk of fraud. The specific challenges that cryptocurrencies pose to taxation authorities are first of all to be defined, the ministry said, and then changes to legislation can be considered. Danish tax minister Morten Bodskov said the goal is to be “vigilant and ensure that our rules are up-to-date and limit errors and fraud.” About 16,000 people and companies in Denmark traded cryptocurrencies between 2015 and 2019; of those transactions, two-thirds weren't accompanied by an accurate tax filing.
New law in Jordan obliges hiring of people with disabilities
Jordan is introducing legislation that obliges both private and public sector companies that employ between 25 and 50 workers to hire one employee with a disability. Organisations with more than 50 employees must hire 4% of the workforce from people with disabilities, according to the new law. The Higher Council for the rights of Persons with Disabilities (HCD) Secretary General Muhannad Azzeh observed that people with disabilities account for 11.2% of the overall Jordanian population, and he noted the big economic cost of their exclusion from working life. ‘'Hiring people with disabilities enhances corporate social responsibility and diversity. It also adds value to the workplace,'' he said. Samer Atout, head of disabled training centre at the Vocational Training Corporation (VTC), which offers various free training programmes for people with different types of disabilities to help them qualify for jobs, said: ‘'People with disabilities can work and contribute to the community in an environment that understands and respects their special needs. We as a community need to raise awareness of disability and believe that people with disabilities can learn, train and work.”
Apple's 'private relay' feature not available for users in China
Apple has said that a new ‘private relay’ feature designed to obscure a user’s web browsing behaviour from internet service providers and advertisers will not be available in China for regulatory reasons. The feature was one of a number of privacy protections Apple announced at its annual software developer conference on Monday, the latest in a years-long effort by the company to cut down on the tracking of its users by advertisers and other third parties. Apple’s decision to withhold the feature in China is the latest in a string of compromises the company has made on privacy in a country that accounts for nearly 15% of its revenue.
Free sports hijabs in bid to boost diversity in Finland
Finland’s football association is offering free “sports hijabs” to players to boost diversity. The headscarves are made out of technical fabric particularly suited to activity, said Heidi Pihlaja, head of development of women and girls’ football. “In Finland, it’s been really hard to get girls of immigrant backgrounds into football clubs,” Pihlaja said. “It’s easier to run in it,” said Kamila Nuh of her sports hijab during a training session at her club VJS in Vantaa, in Helsinki.

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