On the Covid-19 and Labor Relations in the Global World

On the Covid-19 and Labor Relations in the Global World

November 23, 2021

The Covid-19 plague stormed into our lives about two years ago, shuffling the cards and forcing the global and local labor world to quickly adapt to many immediate changes in the forms of employment and employee management. Only time will tell whether the medical storm will also lead to a flood at the Labor Courts.

The business corporation is the most important economic institution in the age of globalization in which we live and it has a direct impact on the world economy. Commencing the second half of the 20th century, the world has undergone a significant revolution in terms of the flourishing and empowerment of multinational corporations. While the more common method of employment in the past in Israel and world was the employment of employees by small employers, in recent years the trend moves to large corporations, some of which multinational, employing 100 or more employees. Even if required technological changes in the labor market began earlier, the Covid-19 led to the acceleration of such changes and the expansion of unconventional employment configurations based on technological developments that the Internet has opened for remote work and collaborative work for teams working remotely, some of which (or all, sometimes) working from home.

Even before the outbreak of the Covid-19, the Israeli labor market experienced significant changes. 'Traditional' professions are disappearing and are being replaced by new ones. Although these changes brought innovation and progress, they also created difficulties, such as the vagueness of boundaries between working hours and leisure time, and posed many questions about reviewing labor relations and their boundaries and ways to deal with such changes. The outbreak of the Covid-19 shuffled the cards and accelerated the requirement to make quick and practical changes, such as having meetings by video calls.

The global labor market experienced a significant revolution, with wide implications. The acceleration of the changes that the Covid-19 forced on the labor market caused perceptual changes in the manner of working, such as making work in a flexible or hybrid format in many workplaces an accepted standard. In an attempt to deal with the difficulties posed by the Covid-19, such as lock-down and ban on gatherings, many employees and employers were forced to work from home, even if they did not want to, which requires employers to change their perception of management, such as in the manner of employee supervision and control. There are also issues of the manner of remuneration of the employee and the consequences of the employee’s availability at work from home.

Working from home also raises many issues such as privacy protection, with the professional and private space also blurring the boundaries of working hours, consideration of sick days and illness in the family, the ability to terminate employees when it is not possible to meet with them for a hearing, and more. The new situation also creates legal uncertainty, as these issues have not yet reached a real legal hearing in high Courts. It is important to act correctly under these changes and ensure proper conduct, especially today, and protect employers from lawsuits through ongoing legal assistance by attorneys with years of expertise and experience in the field, who will help the employer duly manage employees and avoid legal exposures.