Global Overview By Mark Zelek

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American companies have gone increasingly global in recent years. Many US firms now have far-flung operations and employees (as well as customers) spread around the world. US-based multinationals often learn the hard way that they cannot deal with overseas employees in the same manner they do with their American counterparts because of the dramatic differences between the US and the rest of the world’s labour and employment laws. This overview highlights and summarises these principal distinctions and discusses recent reforms and proposals in some foreign countries to narrow that gap.

Employment-at-will versus job stability -

The United States regulates its labour market significantly less than other countries do. Unlike much of the rest of the world, there is no comprehensive statutory labour law governing individual employment relationships or constitutional recognition of labour rights in the US. The terms of employment relationships are determined largely by employers and accepted or rejected by workers rather than imposed by the government. This is generally designed to encourage business development, job creation, and the movement of workers from declining sectors of the economy to expanding sectors. The result is that the United States has a historically lower unemployment rate than that of most other nations.

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