From an employment law perspective, there are two primary issues to consider when creating a global reward strategy. The first is ensuring that the strategy does not breach discrimination laws in any country where it is implemented. The second is ensuring that the rewards provided comply with legally mandated minimums, which can vary significantly across the globe.
In terms of discrimination law, there are numerous issues to consider. Equality of pay between men and women is a relatively common requirement not only in Europe but also in Asia-Pacific and the Americas. The requirement for parity of benefits between workers of different ages, on the other hand, is essential across the European Union (EU) as a result of the Equal Treatment Directive. It is less common though in the Americas and a virtually non-existent requirement in Asia.
Sexual orientation often proves to be a tricky issue in some jurisdictions. It is therefore essential for employers to understand the varying legal and cultural approaches to equality and diversity in the countries where they do business and to decide how their strategy will address those differences.
In terms of legal minimum benefits, family leave is the area where this is probably at its most diverse. The US has no federally mandated requirement to give new parents paid time off work. China provides 98 days of paid maternity leave and between seven and 30 days of paid paternity leave. At the most generous end of the scale, in Norway, mothers can take 49 weeks’ leave on full pay or 59 weeks’ at 80% of pay and, in addition, 12 months of parental leave can be shared between the parents.
Those devising global reward strategies must ensure compliance with these vastly differing requirements, while at the same time achieving their goals of setting a reward strategy that attracts and retains top talent.
Clare Gregory (right) and Kate Hodgkiss (left) are partners, employment group at DLA Piper