The Strangest Labor Laws From Around the World

Whether you’re considering finding a job abroad, or you’re just curious about how your benefits and entitlements differ compared to other areas of the world – there are a number of international working rules that may surprise you. Here are seven weird working rules from around the world (that may or may not make you want to move immediately):

No Funny Hats In New Zealand

It turns out the tolerance for comedic hats in New Zealand isn’t particularly high; in fact it’s pretty much non-existent. Wearing one could be interpreted as breaking the uniform code – and the penalty could be a pay cut of up to 10% of your salary.

Keeping Trim in Japan

In a bid to reduce obesity in Japan, the ‘Metabo Law’ was introduced – setting a waistline limit (33.5 inches for men and 35.4 inches for women) for all employees within the above age range. Not only does this mean employers are legally obligated to measure the waists of their employees on a regular basis, it also means those who exceed the limit (and don’t lose the weight within three months) have to go to dieting classes.

No Overtime In Germany

If you work for Germany’s labour ministry, it’s illegal to work overtime. In fact, the ministry bans its managers from contacting staff outside of work hours; unless it’s an emergency. Similarly, employees in France are legally obliged to steer clear of out-of-work emails. Why? To protect staff from self-exploitation. In other words, if you’re prone to overworking, this will literally force you to stop. Unless, you know, you like breaking the law.

Government Permission to Fire In India

According to a law dating back to when Britain ruled the region, all companies with over 100 people on staff are required to consult the government before firing a member of staff. However, the law can be overruled if the reason for dismissal is criminal misconduct.

Get Paid To Travel In Belgium

Need a career break? It might be time to move to Belgium. Not only are employees in this country legally entitled to a year-long career break away from their job, they’ll also receive full pay whilst away. And that’s not all. They’re also guaranteed to be able to return to their job once they return, which is confirmed by the employer before they leave.

Sleeping On The Job In Japan

Staying awake at work can be somewhat of a daily struggle for many of us – but if you work in Japan, you no longer need to fight the urge to fall asleep. That’s right; not only do Japanese employers encourage napping (AKA ‘inemuiri’) on the job, it’s also seen as a sign of hard work. The only downside? You have to remain upright while asleep. No desk pillows allowed.

No Single Finger pointing at Disney Parks

Alongside a number of other strict working rules, cast members (AKA employees) at all Disney Parks also have very specific directions when it comes to giving directions. As pointing with one finger could be considered offensive in some cultures, they’re required to instead gesture with two fingers – or use their whole hand. Other weird Disney working rules include not saying the words ‘I don’t know’ (opting to give helpful/creative answers instead), and being a certain height to play characters.

No Guaranteed Pee Break In USA

Across the USA, there is no law guaranteeing employees a toilet break. Luckily though most employers don’t prohibit their employees from visiting the bathroom every once in a while.

Portugal’s No-Sacking Rule

In Portugal it’s illegal for an employer to sack an employee and there is no termination period in the country. If a company wants to dismiss an employee, they must offer them a good resignation package and hope the employee accepts. Because of this, many companies in Portugal only offer fixed term contracts and take on part time workers.

No Men In Women’s Stores

In Saudi Arabia, men are banned from working in women’s clothing or cosmetic shops. This employment law came into force in 2012, following a boycott of women of the nation’s shops as they were annoyed of continuously having to purchase these products from men.

What do you think of some of these laws? Do you wish some of these applied to you? Share your views in the comments below.

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