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Employment law review of 2021


What's been happening?

The world of work has seen seismic changes in 2021. Organisations hit by pandemic-driven economic forces have been forced to restructure, while Brexit, immigration and mobility restrictions, waves of infection and quarantine requirements have led to acute workforce shortages at some points and in some industries. Remote working, initially expected to be a ‘quick fix’ in the context of the COVID-19 crisis, has become deeply embedded in many organisations, effecting a profound shift to more flexible working patterns and shaping new employee expectations. Health and safety at work has been foremost in employers’ thinking, from tackling COVID-19 outbreaks in the workplace, to considering possible vaccination mandates and addressing how best to support employee wellbeing, particularly for a remote workforce.

In addition to Covid concerns, the climate crisis has heightened scrutiny of the way corporations and pension funds operate and forced employers in some parts of the world to adapt to more hostile working conditions. The irresistible rise of the platform economy has continued, but regulators and courts have subjected the model to ever-closer scrutiny.

How have we been reflecting on the world around us?

Ius Laboris strives to offer innovative and practical responses to the challenges facing employers, with targeted expert advice and up-to-date information.

Our wide-reaching New Workplace project on the challenges and opportunities of the world of work in 2021 explores key aspects of managing a more geographically disparate, often home-based workforce, from looking after remote employees’ physical and mental health, to remote workplace investigations, labour relations and expenses.

With the entry into force of the EU Whistleblowing Directive on 17 December, we have put investigations and whistleblowing under the spotlight. Our Workplace Investigations page includes Dos and Don’ts for internal investigations, and a tracker showing where the EU member states are up to in implementing the Directive.

Our Climate Change and Ethical Business Practice page explores how climate change is beginning to shape employment law and work practices. It also provides advice for employers and pension providers on new environmental and social governance obligations, and how to meet them.

We have also created an Employer Obligation Finder tool covering over 30 countries, which provides a simple and intuitive way for international organisations to monitor their obligations across the world as workforces contract and expand.

The Ius Laboris Global Guide, our indispensable guide to employment law in over 50 countries, has been updated to reflect a raft of recent changes, with the addition of a comprehensive new chapter on Investigations, Whistleblowing, Grievances and Performance Management.

The Word, our annual review of what’s driving debate in employment, focuses on the forces for change, with research-driven analysis on mental health and employee wellbeing, cybersecurity and new world incentives, among other topics.

We have also continued with our series of podcasts and webinars this year. Here’s a selection of the most popular:


When we debate, all across Ius Laboris, the result is often an article by a particular country, with comments from all across the world. Here are some of our most interesting debates from this year:

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