chapter  14
13 Pages

Employee benefits around the world


In his latest bestseller The World is Flat, Thomas L. Friedman talks about how the current state of technology-driven globalization has resulted in a high level of interconnections between the economies of various parts of the world. This means US employers will be increasingly required to do business with entities in many other countries as erstwhile underdeveloped parts of the world experience tremendous economic, trade and standardof-living growth. Additionally, the move from traditional manufacturing to knowledgeand service-based employment also means jobs as well as markets are more likely to be geographically dispersed. As the need increases for employers to interact globally, human resource management professionals will have increased opportunities to develop employment practices for US employees in foreign assignments, as well as deal with indigenous employees in the parent company’s foreign offices. While most employers may choose to offer attractive benefits above and beyond the minimum required by the host nations, so as to attract the desired talent, it’s important to first know the basic legal employment context and the minimum employment statutory employment standards of the country where they propose to do business. In this chapter, we provide a glimpse of the wide variety of employment practices around the world, we peruse basic benefits issues, including paid time-off, protection programs (for instance, retirement, healthcare) and stand-out benefits in particular regions. We start off each review with a brief treatment of that country’s governmental structure, norms and historical events in order to help shed light on its version of employee benefits.