The easing of travel restrictions is posing an unexpected headache for employers.
Never before has it been easier for a worker to become fully mobile and work from anywhere. However, organisations should consider their views on whether they are prepared to employ staff who may be almost anywhere in the world.
Working overseas can give rise to a range of issues for an employer whether the plans are to make a long-term visit to Europe or one of the countries which have introduced new visa schemes for extended visits, such as the Cayman Islands and Barbados in the Caribbean or Dubai in the Middle East.
There may be working visa requirement issues, matters for insurance policies, invalidation of health cover (or other benefits), and of course, Data Protection considerations.
Key points to consider include:
- Can the employee work legally in the host country (following the UK’s departure from the EU, individuals may need relevant immigration permissions from a host country)?
- Will the employee be subject to local laws and employment protection?
- Can a safe working environment be maintained?
- Will there be any tax and national insurance implications for the individual?.
- Could it create a taxable presence for the employer in the host country, resulting in corporate taxes being due on locally generated profits?
- Is compliance an issue under data protection laws, for both the UK and the host country?
“The ability to provide a seamless service remotely has been possible for some time now, but it has been highlighted since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic when some who might not have thought it would be possible for them to work from home found themselves doing exactly that. Many businesses and their staff embraced the freedom and benefit of more flexible working so it is natural for some of them to wonder how far this can actually be taken. Why not work from a beach in Thailand where living costs are a fraction of the cost of working in Essex and where the weather and food are pretty perfect? But, while it might appear like a dream come true for some, it will require significantly more planning than just agreeing to a temporary arrangement to work more flexibly in the UK. Of course, as well as the legal issues to consider, there are plenty of social ones to think about as well with regard to the way in which a team will work if it is totally or partially remote” explained head of Thompson Smith and Puxon’s employment law team, Jolyon Berry.
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Jolyon Berry is recognised by the Legal 500 as a “Leading Individual” and the TSP Employment team is recommended as “Tier 1”, one of the top three in Essex recommended by the Legal 500 in this practice area.
Jolyon can be contacted directly on 01206 217 024 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org