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Multinational Human Resource Management and the Law

Common Workplace Problems in Different Legal Environments

Matthew W. Finkin, Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, Takashi Araki, Philipp Fischinger, Roberto Fragale Filho, Andrew Stewart and Bernd Waas

Multinational corporations face considerable complexity in setting the terms and conditions of employment. Differing national laws prevent firms from developing consistent sets of employment policies, but, at the same time, employees are often expected to work closely with colleagues located in many different countries and seek comparable treatment. This critical volume offers a comprehensive analysis of how these contradictory issues are dealt with in five countries – Australia, Brazil, Germany, Japan and the United States.
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Matthew W. Finkin, Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, Takashi Araki, Philipp Fischinger, Roberto Fragale Filho, Andrew Stewart and Bernd Waas


In Part VI, three compensation and benefit questions are posed. The first problem (Problem 14) involves the prospect of a common share ownership and supplementary pension scheme. The second problem (Problem 15) considers requests for equal treatment by members of a virtual team operating in different countries. The third problem (Problem 16) considers the extraterritorial implications of restrictions on executive compensation (in this case imposed by the U.S. government). Underlying most compensation and benefit issues are issues of internal and external equity in order to attract, retain and motivate a workforce, which are compounded by the need to have a consistent set of policies that spans national boundaries. A fourth problem (Problem 17) concerns the enforceability of an agreement not to disclose business information and to engage in competitive activity after the termination of employment. Compensation and benefits vary considerably across nations. Wage levels vary with the degree of industrialization, though wages are rising rapidly in many newly industrialized nations. If we define the middle class as people earning between $10 and $100 a day, there are approximately 1.8 billion people in the middle class in the world today and it is estimated that there will be 3.2 billion by 2020 and 4.9 billion by 2030.1 For multinational corporations, this means that a growing proportion of their global workforce will approach wages and benefits with middle-class expectations.

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