World Briefs

Illinois helping victims of violence • London offering retirement info • Japan reviews pension contributions • Corporate audits down in the U.S. • Age discrimination costing billions in U.K.

LEAVE ADDRESSES DOMESTIC ABUSE

SPRINGFIELD, ILL. — A new Illinois law gives victims of domestic violence 12 weeks of unpaid leave a year to recover, seek legal aid and undergo counselling. The law also requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for staff suffering domestic abuse.

RETIREMENT INFO FOR ALL

LONDON — The British government has published a white paper on pension legislation that proposes requiring all employers to provide retirement investment planning advice, regardless of whether the firm even offers a pension plan. Although firms would have to provide a “decent standard of information,” the specifics haven’t been worked out.

PAY UP YOURSELF

TOKYO — To deal with a national pension system in danger of bankruptcy, Japan is considering raising contribution levels. But revelations that politicians haven’t been making mandatory payments to their own pension fund have forced one cabinet minister and the head of the nation’s opposition party to resign.

LOTS OF TALK, LITTLE ACTION

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — While executive wrong-doing is under media scrutiny, the same can’t be said for Internal Revenue Service investigations. Researchers at Syracuse University found corporate tax enforcement has fallen with fewer audits, penalties or prosecutions. “President Bush and the I.R.S. commissioner have been running around talking about how they are going after corporate scofflaws, but the I.R.S. data suggest that the effort against corporate scofflaws is continuing to decline,” said researcher David Burnham.

AGE DISCRIMINATION COSTS A FORTUNE

LONDON — Age discrimination costs the British economy £36 billion annually ($88.5 billion Cdn) in lost production, according to Britain’s Trade and Industry Secretary. A white paper is being prepared on the subject and “a ban on age discrimination in the workplace will hopefully take effect from 2006,” a government spokesperson said.

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