Typically, non-compliance with employment laws leads to administrative proceedings which may lead to the payment of fines. If such non-compliance is based on violation of rights that deserve protection under criminal law, it may also lead to this type of judicial proceedings.
Breaches of labor law do not entail a criminal breach or sanction unless such a breach or offense is specifically regulated by the National Criminal Code as a crime. In that case, criminal sanctions will be applied for the breach of criminal law and not for the breach of labor law.
There are criminal sanctions for breach of relevant work health and safety laws, workers' compensation laws and taxation laws. The Queensland and South Australian labor hire licensing laws and underpayment laws in Victoria and Queensland provide for terms of imprisonment in respect of some breaches.
Criminal sanctions are not generally a concern.
Criminal sanctions may be imposed for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to the breach of health and safety obligations, breach of immigration laws, breach of data protection laws and breach of confidentiality.
Most legal dispositions with regard to labor law are subject to criminal or administrative sanctions in case of breach.
Violation of employment laws and discrimination can trigger criminal sanctions.
The main areas where criminal sanctions arise are under occupational health and safety legislation and related Criminal Code provisions. Both employees and directors may be subject to criminal sanctions.
Not applicable for this jurisdiction.
Limited circumstances, such as failure to pay salary in bad faith, may result in criminal sanctions.
Employees may be subject to criminal sanctions if they do not honor their non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements.
Employers may be subject to criminal sanctions if they perform actions to reduce enrollment to unions or to discourage such enrollment.
Illegal employment of foreigners may, under limited circumstances, constitute a criminal offense, as could avoiding tax and health and social security payments.
Non-compliance with employment law may lead to criminal sanctions. Examples include employing a person without a valid work permit, failing to report and pay holiday pay, reading private emails, disclosure of trade secrets, breach of anti-discrimination provisions and failure to inform and consult in relation to collective redundancies, or business transfers.
Apart from fines relating to a breach of the rules on work permits and to the lack of reporting and paying of holiday pay, criminal sanctions related to employment legislation are rarely seen.
Typically, employers face criminal prosecution in connection with alleged discrimination, or where breach of occupational health and safety obligations has caused damage to an employee, or if the employer has not complied with working-hour regulations. Failure to comply with the Employment Contracts Act or with information obligations in connection with the transfer of an undertaking may also be sanctioned with a criminal fine.
Yes (eg, for discrimination, harassment, offense of obstruction, or where an employee is discovered undertaking "concealed" work).
Both the company's representative and the company as a legal entity can be held criminally liable. The company’s representative can through a delegation of authority transfer his powers and liability to another employee competent notably in health and safety matters. Il ensures that the employee actually in charge of these questions is the one accountable.
Significant frequent violation of works council information and consultation rights may lead to criminal charges; however, this rarely occurs.
Hong Kong, SAR
The provisions of the EO are enforced, first by criminal law sanctions (where the usual penalty is a fine, except for payment-of-wages offenses, which can give rise to a sentence of imprisonment), and secondly, by way of civil remedies at the instance of the aggrieved employee. Further, in some instances, liability can be passed to the individual decision-maker of the employing company.
Not applicable for this jurisdiction.
Sanctions for violating labor statutes include both imprisonment and fine. The extent of such penal provisions will depend on the statute and the nature of the breach.
The Wage Code, SS Code and OSH Code also provides for a single authority to carry out inspections of the compliance status of establishments under these codes and advise employers and employees on better compliance. Further, the inspector/ facilitator is required to give an opportunity to the employer to comply with the provisions of the said code within a stipulated timeline before initiation of certain prosecution proceedings. Additionally, the labor codes allow for the compounding of offenses, at any time before or after initiation of the prosecution.
Imposed on employers who breach the Manpower Law, including where employers participate in anti-union activity; intentionally and without any rights or illegally access computers and/or electronic systems owned by somebody else for the purpose of obtaining electronic information and/or electronic documents; violate workplace health and safety regulations; fail to submit written annual reports on their industrial relations to the Minister of Manpower; or fail to pay severance pay, the term of service recognition payment and/or compensation as entitlements that should have been received upon termination of employment or overtime due; employing the employees for overtime without the their’ consent or exceeding the statutory maximum overtime.
Failure to notify the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment about mass layoffs is a criminal offense, although prosecution is rare. Employing a non-EEA or Swiss national without the required work permit is also a criminal offense. Failure to provide employees with a written statement containing 5 core terms of employment within 5 days of them commencing employment is also a criminal offense.
Failure to comply with various labor laws (such as minimum wage, work hours, unlawful discrimination and prohibited termination) is a criminal offense and may result in criminal proceedings (at least in theory).
Generally limited to the most serious cases of failure to comply with regulation regarding health and safety in the workplace. Under certain circumstances, failure to fulfill a court decision may lead to criminal liability.
Some violations are subject to criminal sanctions. For example, violations of the worker dispatch law or failing to pay wages, including overtime allowances, may result in criminal sanctions.
Although criminal sanctions are not a general concern in employment and labor practices, failing to comply with the provisions of the labor laws is punishable in a court of law either by imprisonment or fines.
Criminal sanctions may be imposed for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to the setting up of a trade union, breach of health and safety obligations, breach of immigration laws, breach of data protection laws and breach of confidentiality.
Certain mandatory labor law rules are criminally punishable by fines and/or imprisonment, notably:
Publishing a job offer without informing the Administration of Employment (ADEM)
Hiring an employee without arranging a compulsory medical examination
Hiring an employee from outside the EEA without authorization
Paying wages below the minimum social wage
Failing to comply with the rules on paid leave and
Failing to comply with the rules on public holidays.
None specific to employers.
Employees may be subject to criminal sanctions if they do not honor their non-disclosure agreement.
Employers may be subject to criminal sanctions if they pay to their employees less than the minimum wage or employ children under 15 years old.
Ranges from fines (up to EUR30,000) to the closure of the company.
Possible, but separate from labor process.
If any employer fails to sign an employment contract, it can be punished with imprisonment for not more than 6 months, a fine, or both.
If anyone violates any matters contained in an employment contract, he/she shall be punished with imprisonment for not more than 3 months, a fine, or both.
Employers or employees may be criminally liable for certain violations and subject to a fine, imprisonment, or both.
Criminal sanctions are not generally a concern.
Generally, none. However, there are criminal sanctions for breach of relevant health and safety laws.
Criminal sanctions are not applicable.
Willful or negligent breach of the Working Environment Act by the proprietor, employer or person managing the undertaking in the employer's stead is liable to a fine, imprisonment up to 3 months or both. In particularly aggravating circumstances, the penalty may be up to 2 years' imprisonment. This does not apply to breach of provisions regarding appointment and termination.
Criminal sanctions may be imposed for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to breach of health and safety obligations, breach of immigration laws, breach of data protection laws and breach of confidentiality.
According to the Criminal Code, violation of employment laws and discrimination may trigger criminal sanctions in the following cases:
- Harassment, sexual harassment, sexual blackmail and the spreading of images, audiovisual or audio materials with sexual content
- Forced labor
- Forcing or preventing an employee from joining a union or
- Deliberate infringement of Health and Safety at Work regulations and endangering the lives, health or integrity of employees in a serious way.
COVID-19 Special Regulations
The employer may instruct employees to work from home until December 2022. In case of employees at high risk of a COVID-19 infection, the employer must prioritize home office.
If the employer cannot maintain its workforce because its financial situation has been affected by the COVID-19 crisis and/or can’t apply the home office, it is possible to furlough employees. The application must be approved by the Labor Administrative Authority. The furlough may last until April 5, 2021, at most.
COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan
Peru is under lockdown measures as of March 16, 2020. The economic reactivation process started in May of 2020 and consists of 4 stages. If the employer’s activities are allowed, according to such reactivation process, it is necessary to elaborate and register a COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan prior the restarting of operations after quarantine.
Employees who perform work activities in person must prove that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In case of non-compliance, the employer can require the employee to work from home. If this is not possible, employers may furlough employees unless agreed otherwise.
An employee who vaccinates against COVID-19 is entitled to up to 4 hours days of paid leave. To enjoy this benefit, the employee must notify the employer within 48 hours before the day of vaccination.
As of January 31, 2022, individuals 40 and older must demonstrate that they have received their third vaccine dose against COVID-19 in order to enter to closed places, such as offices, shops, restaurants, supermarkets and clubs, among others.
Criminal penalties may be imposed for violations of the Labor Code of the Philippines and relevant Special Laws as provided therein, such as but not limited to illegal recruitment, sexual harassment, child labor, non-remittance of SSS, PhilHealth and Pag-Ibig contributions, and violations of collective bargaining agreements amounting to unfair labor practices.
An employer may be fined from PLN1,000 to PLN45,000 for committing offenses specified in the Polish Labor Code which relate to the employer's basic obligations.
There are criminal sanctions related to employment issues such as improper use of child labor, violation of the autonomy or independence of trade unions, discriminatory acts, disobedience to the labor authority, fraud in respect of withholding taxes or social security contributions and breach of safety rules.
Generally, legal persons are held criminally accountable for felonies committed by their legal representatives and de facto or de jure administrators in their name or on their behalf and to their benefit.
Criminal sanctions can be imposed for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, the breach of health and safety obligations, breach of immigration laws, breach of data protection laws and breach of confidentiality.
Infringement of health and safety rules may lead to criminal sanctions where human life has potentially been put in jeopardy. Criminal liability is also triggered, for example, in cases of repeated breach of the obligation to pay minimum salary, repeated refusal to permit labor inspectors access to any of the company's locations or refusal to provide inspectors with requested documentation.
Criminal sanctions are not generally a concern for employers acting as legal entities. However, company officials, including the general director of a Russian legal entity, may be subject to criminal sanctions for certain crimes (eg, labor safety violations).
Not generally a concern under Saudi Labor Law.
Criminal sanctions include fines or imprisonment for offenses under the EA or other applicable statutes. Offenses under the EA include, but are not limited to, wrongful detention of an employee by the employer after a contract of services have been determined, obstructing an employee appearing before an inquiry held by the Commissioner, fraudulently inducing an employee to emigrate out of Singapore to work and failure to pay salary as stipulated.
Any director, manager, secretary or other officer of the company may also be charged with the same offense and punished upon conviction if it can be shown that the offense is committed with the consent or connivance of any act or default of such persons.
Non-payment of wages or severance pay may be punished by a prison sentence up to 12 years, depending on the circumstances, motive and damage caused.
Employment law is largely decriminalized; however, specific legislation renders some behavior a criminal offense – for example, fraudulent behavior. Law enforcement bodies must be notified if the employer knows or suspects that the employee has viewed child pornography. Section 34 of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, 2004 requires an employer to report certain criminal offenses committed by an employee. These include criminal offenses such as theft, fraud, forgery and extortion involving an amount over ZAR100,000. It also includes corruption regardless of the amount involved.
If the ruling of unfair dismissal is finalized by the court and the employer does not comply with the re-instatement order from RLRC, the employer may be subject to an imprisonment of up to 1 year or a criminal fine of up to KRW10 million.
There are criminal sanctions related to employment issues, such as those linked to work-related accidents and social security fraud.
Additionally, the recent amendment made to Article 311 of the Spanish Criminal Code provides for individual liability for company managers and directors who engage in the criminal offense of “impos[ing] illegal conditions on their workers by hiring them under formulas outside the employment contract, or maintain them against a requirement or administrative sanction”.
An employer who intentionally or negligently fails to comply with an order or prohibition issued by the Swedish Work Environment Authority pursuant to certain regulations may be fined or sentenced to imprisonment for a maximum of 1 year.
Failure to comply with health and safety legal requirements; undeclared or illicit work; sexual or psychological harassment.
Taiwan, Republic of China
Not a concern.
The LPA and LRA both provide criminal sanctions including penalties of both fine and imprisonment. Further, in some instances, liability may be passed to the director of the employing company.
Most employment offenses in Tunisia lead only to fines at the low rate of TND 24 - 60. However, some specific offenses can result in imprisonment including:
- Intentional interference with the free selection of members of the Consultative Commission or with the selection of workers’ delegates
- Repeat offenses regarding the formation of unions
Foreign workers working illegally who continue to work after being ordered to stop
Offenses concerning dangerous or unhealthy work environments
Interference with those who inspect establishments for compliance with health and safety provisions.
Illegal strikes or lockouts
Failure to comply with requisition measures
- Stealing company equipment
Criminal sanctions are not generally a concern, except in cases such as sexual harassment or an occupational accident.
Violation of certain provisions of the Employment Act may trigger criminal sanctions. For example, a person who records or causes to be recorded wrong, inaccurate or deficient information in an employee's records of service with an intention to defraud the employee or employer or any public authority, or who acts to conceal such fraudulent acts, commits an offense, as does an employer or employee who fails, without justifiable cause, to reply to a labor officer's written request for information within a period of 14 days from the time the request was received by the employer or the employee, as the case may be.
Ukrainian labor law provides for the following categories of liability for violations of the labor law:
Financial penalties, which may apply to the company as a legal entity.
Administrative fines, which may be imposed on company officers (ie, the director).
Criminal liability (up to imprisonment), which is applicable to the company officers (ie, the director).
United Arab Emirates
Criminal sanctions can be imposed for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to the setting up of a trade union, breach of health and safety obligations, breach of immigration laws, breach of data protection laws and breach of confidentiality.
Failure to notify the Secretary of State about mass layoffs is a criminal offense. Prosecution is fairly rare, but there has been an upward trend in prosecutions in recent years.
During the COVID-19 pandemic a number of criminal offenses were introduced, primarily in relation to self-isolation obligations and the wearing of face coverings.
Employers may be criminally liable for certain violations of federal and state employment laws such as wage and hour and health and safety laws. For example, California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) violations can carry criminal penalties – not only against employers, but also against managers and supervisors. A California law that took effect on January 1, 2022, makes intentional wage theft punishable as grand theft. In limited circumstances, employers may be vicariously liable for the criminal acts of their employees. Employers may be liable for monetary statutory penalties (such as double or treble damages) for violations of wage and hour and other laws.
There are criminal penalties set in the labor law when an employer:
- Refuses to execute a reinstatement order
- Violates strike rights
- Fails to comply with or obstructs actions or procedures from the labor authorities or
- Illegally or fraudulently closes or ceases operations.
In these cases, the employer’s representatives or managers would be subject to criminal liability with imprisonment between 6 and 15 months.
Employers may also be held liable where an employee dies due to a serious breach of health and safety obligations in the workplace, subject to imprisonment between 8 and 10 years.
Employers may be criminally liable for certain violations, such as unlawfully dismissing an employee or using force or threats which cause an employee to resign, and may be subject to a fine, imprisonment or both.