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Remote working overseas

Covid-19 has seen many employees asking if they can work from “home”, often for an extended period in another country.

Queries range from short term requests related to the crisis, to permanent moves now individuals have learned they can work from home pretty much anywhere. Although many employers feel sympathetic towards such requests, there are potential pitfalls for the unsuspecting with legal consequences relating to employment, tax and social security, benefits, immigration, regulatory issues and data protection including:

  • An employee’s stay creating a risk of host country income tax and social security liabilities in addition to UK obligations
  • Whether the employer has created a permanent establishment in the host country with the company thus being subject to corporate tax
  • Immigration restrictions for non-EEA nationals following Brexit as well as local emergency Covid-19 legislation
  • Immigration issues on employees returning to the UK
  • Employees benefitting from local mandatory employment protections (e.g. minimum rates of pay, paid annual leave, rights on termination)
  • Contracts of employment becoming unfit for purpose as employees acquire additional rights
  • Employees no longer being covered by benefit schemes or able to remain in the company’s pension scheme
  • Employees processing personal data, particularly if they wish to work outside the EEA where GDPR and EU data privacy laws may not apply
  • Regulatory issues (in sectors such as financial and professional services) limiting and employer’s ability to agree to working from overseas

These issues can be particularly daunting for businesses who have not previously needed international advice.

One stop solution

We have a team of experienced individuals who can support across all these issues in a seamless and cost-efficient way. We can support you to put in place policies to deal with such requests and evaluating requests involving specialists for the relevant overseas jurisdiction. On agreeing a path forward, we will support you with advice and documentation required to put any arrangement into effect in a legally sensible and risk managed fashion.

With our offices in Ireland and Hong Kong and through our membership of Ius Laboris, the world’s leading employment law practice, we can source specialist advice that is both commercial and pragmatic in just about any jurisdiction.

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