For many, working remotely has become the new normal since the pandemic. The ability to work remotely in the UK merely requires access to the internet and laptop. But unfortunately, working abroad is not as simple. There are many factors to consider when deciding to allow and employee to work abroad. A policy that allows employees to work remotely in another country has may legal implications concerning, employees’ rights, tax, immigration and much more, whether the duration is long or short-term. Both employers and employers should be aware of the issues that may arise before making this decision.
Implications for employer and employee: what if an employee wishes to work abroad?
Since COVID-19, many companies have amended their policies to allow and accommodate employees working remotely. However, these provisions may only apply to employees working in the UK. A contract of employment might stipulate working abroad is permitted by their company as the work is within the British jurisdiction, written in English, and the employee is being paid in British sterling pounds. However, the employee may be subject to local employment rights when working abroad. This may include matters that concern minimum wage, annual leave, and rights on termination of employment. Employers should be aware that employees working abroad may seek to rely on these foreign employment laws that give further rights to employees in other countries.
If an employer is considering allowing an employee to work abroad, they must give regard to how it may affect the employees contract. Working abroad may affect benefits set out in a contract such as an employee’s pension or private health care benefits as well as expense policies including travel. It is essential to revise these policies before allowing an employee works abroad. It is essential employers exercise an employee’s request to work abroad fairly and consistently to ensure omission of any discrimination.
Whilst tax implications may apply in certain circumstances where an employee wishes to work abroad, tax law is not our prerogative, therefore, we recommend consulting a tax lawyer for official advice on any taxes you as and an employer or employee may be a liable to pay.
Additionally, working abroad also concerns matters of immigration regulations such as requirements for work visas. However, as previously stated, our firm specialises in employment law, and we advise you seek advice from a firm that handles immigration law.
So, what should an employer do if an employee requests to work abroad?
- Implement a ‘working from home abroad’ policy covering requests to work from abroad
- Create a formal process for employees to follow when an employee makes a request for such arrangements
- Make it clear in any written agreement that the employee may be liable for certain taxes as well as social security and that they will be responsible for paying them
- Ensure the employee is aware of any covid restrictions that may still be in place in the host country
- Draft a ‘temporary working abroad’ agreement setting out obligations of both employer and the employee.
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Please note this blog is for reference purposes only and is only accurate at the date it was published. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action. Please contact us if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org