• Following the pandemic, and a shift towards remote working, many businesses are seeing an increase in employees wanting to relocate abroad and continue to work remotely.

    With the current challenges to staff recruitment and staff retention, businesses are now considering whether they should accommodate additional flexibility by offering this option of overseas remote working for staff.

    Whether it’s three months of the year in the Algarve, or a permanent move to New Zealand, we have put together our top 10 issues for employers to consider if they have staff interested in working abroad.

    Top 10 issues for employers to consider

    1. Right to work – You should consider whether employees will need a visa in order to work in their intended country, and  if so, whether there any conditions on that visa that you need to be aware of. Would making this move affect any current visa the employee has to work in the UK?
    2. Tax – Are the employees and you, the business, clear on what your tax obligations will be and who will be responsible for these? If employees return to work in the UK after a period abroad, also consider how would this be impacted.
    3. Employment rights – Check whether there are employment rights in the countries employees wish to work in, which may apply to them.
    4. Health and safety – Are you clear on how you will practically comply with your health and safety obligations? You should also make sure you are aware of any obligations in the countries employees wish to work.
    5. Contracts and policies – Review whether changes need to be made to employment contracts and/or staff policies to reflect employees working overseas. Contract clauses you may want to revisit include (among others) intellectual property, place of work, travel requirements, working hours, pay and restrictive covenants.
    6. Data protection – Check if additional safeguards need to be put in place where personal data is being transferred outside of the UK. We recommend also familiarising yourself with the data protection requirements of the country in which the employee wishes to work, and whether relevant  training should be provided to employees.
    7.  Insurances – Check if your employees working overseas will be covered by your insurances.?
    8.  Regulated industries – Check whether there are any specific requirements if you work in a regulated industry.
    9.  Staff benefits – Will employees still be able to access staff benefits whilst overseas?
    10.  Practicalities – Carefully consider implementing a process for how employees will be supervised/supervise others if working abroad. Consider for example, how line management duties will be dealt with if there is a difference in time zone work.

    It is a good idea if you are getting a number of requests to develop a policy to deal with such requests to ensure they are dealt with fairly and consistently.

    Practical payment issues to consider for employees working overseas

    In our recent webinar we partnered with Clear Currency, who are experts in foreign exchange payments, to discuss the legal and financial issues for UK-based organisations with employees working remotely overseas.

    There are a range of options available to you when using a payments provider to make payments to employees or contractors overseas. Below, Clear Currency’s Senior Partnerships Manager Naomi Feltham outlines some top tips for businesses.

    Businesses should consider the best way to transfer funds overseas in any given circumstance. This may include consideration of:

    • A spot contract – You may want to consider booking in a deal on the spot at today’s rate. This can be convenient if you have a one off or immediate payment to make.
    • A forward contract – This is beneficial for businesses who have a longer time frame to transfer but have seen a big spike in the market. If the rate shoots up to a desired amount, but you are not ready to move everything just yet, you can book in the full amount at today’s rate for a small deposit and hold the rate for up to a year. This gives you peace of mind knowing that if the rate drops off, then you have the guarantee of the higher rate.
    • A limit order – A limit order works by initiating a payment when the rate hits a certain limit. This can be good if you are waiting for the rate to hit a certain amount and want to trigger the transaction as soon as it hits. For example, if the live rate for GBP EUR is currently 1.15 and you are waiting for it to hit 1.17, the provider can set the payment to trigger as soon as it hits 1.17. This is a good option if you don’t have time to keep checking the rate but still want to benefit from the spike.
    • A virtual IBAN – A virtual IBAN allows you to send and receive money from a named account in multiple currencies. For example, if you are paying an invoice overseas, the provider can send funds to a named account quickly and efficiently. This product can be very helpful for businesses who do not have bank accounts setup overseas.
    • Rate alerts – This is a notification process where you can be informed of any major movement or key pieces of information from the currencies you intend to transfer. This product takes the stress away from you and means you don’t have to keep checking.

    Further support

    If you would like to discuss any of the issues covered in this article, you can book a free initial consultation with a member of the Brachers Employment team, or get in touch with Clear Currency  to discuss any currency needs you may have..

    You can also revisit a recording of our webinar, Remote working overseas and right to work check changes: What you need to know, which is available to view on demand.

    This content is correct at time of publication

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