Today’s workforce is increasingly international, with companies competing for talent on a global scale.
Employers have sent “expats” abroad for decades, as well as recruiting skilled migrants to fill gaps in their home markets. But now, in the post-Covid world of remote work, a request to work from an overseas location is as likely to come from an employee or a potential recruit as it is from the employer. The legal issues this can give rise to are complex and multi-faceted, and it’s crucial to get the approach right to minimise risk and secure the right talent. We provide an integrated approach to address these complex global mobility and remote working issues across jurisdictions and guide employers to manage their global workforce with greater ease and efficiency.
Employee driven requests
As increasing numbers of jobs require nothing more than a laptop and a Wifi connection, it’s become increasingly common for employees to ask to “work from anywhere”. Requests range from a week or two tacked on to a summer holiday, to permanent relocation to be nearer family and friends. For employers, this can give rise to a host of issues to think about:
- Corporation tax: particularly if you don’t already have a presence in the would-be host location, you risk ending up with a (possibly unwanted) “permanent establishment”, with consequent financial and administrative headaches;
- Income tax and social security: depending on how long the employee wants to work in the host location, they may become tax resident there, creating withholding obligations for the employer. There may also be obligations to pay employer social security contributions;
- Immigration: does the employee have the right to work in the country they want to work from? If not, could they secure permission?
- Employment law: what mandatory employment rights will the employee benefit from in the host country? Should you move them on to a local employment contract, or keep them on their home contract with a side letter? What will happen to home country benefits? Who will meet any additional costs?
- Engagement model: will the employee stay employed by their home employer? Or be seconded to a local entity? Or will you use an “employer of record” to engage them, at least for a period? And how will you protect your confidential information and IP, and guard against competitive threats?
- More generally, what will be your policy approach to such requests, and should you document it? Will it be yes to some employees, and no to others? Do you create “red lists” and “green lists” of host countries? How far does the duration of the time spent abroad affect your approach?
We work with leading tax, immigration, employment and other experts from around the world to ensure you can use the skills of the modern cross border workforce in a cost-effective, risk-managed manner.
Employer driven requests
While more and more requests come from employees, the more traditional “overseas posting” hasn’t gone away either. We can help you with the tax, employment, immigration and other legal considerations arising from this, from secondment agreements and visas, to tax equalisation agreements and relocation packages, and helping out with disputes when things go wrong.
As businesses look to strategically deploy and secure talent, getting this right is a critical, but complex, process. Expert advice that can smooth the transition is vital. Our specialist approach minimises the risk of avoidable problems which can slow progress and provides fast turnaround solutions to any unexpected issues that arise.
From relocations for senior executives or even entire teams to high net worth individuals or high-profile celebrities or athletes – and their families – relocating on a temporary or permanent basis, we provide a truly personal, end-to-end service, operating from our offices across UK, Ireland and Hong Kong and via our Ius Laboris international alliance. Knowing how time-sensitive and stressful the process can be, we have the expertise to hit the ground running and minimise the impact on your business and the lives of the people involved.
Learn more about how our team can help with Global Mobility and get in touch.
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