Website Logo

Remote working from overseas – Taking the splash

One of the most significant consequences of Covid-19 has been the shift and adaptation to homeworking.  Indeed as the borders have opened up, many employees are looking to exploit opportunities of homeworking by working from abroad – perhaps from a holiday home or to return to a home nation where their family is based. A request to work abroad poses many legal and practical considerations which need to be addressed by the company and individual before a company is likely to accept such a request. If you are planning on working remotely in the future, here are ten key considerations:

  1. Check your contract of employment. This is likely to stipulate your normal place of work is your UK office address. You and the company may need to agree to vary your contract of employment to ensure you are not in breach of this clause by working abroad (and possibly consider amending the working hours clause if you plan to work flexibly or across different time-zones).
  2. Consider who is to bear the cost for expenses such as utility costs, telephone and broadband internet access. Some employers may be willing to reimburse or pay a contribution so you should check with your employer or perhaps volunteer to pay yourself if this is likely to be a sticking point.
  3. Consider whether you or the company will need to take out or maintain a valid policy of insurance covering company property against fire, theft, loss or damage. If company insurance is in place, will protection extend to other countries? Consider your own personal insurance and ensure that working from abroad is covered. If you are covered by the company’s private health insurance will that extend to your new location?
  4. Consider how you will protect confidential information. If you are working from a hotel, company property and sensitive documents left out can easily create a risk. Check if there is a safe to store company laptop and documents. As is the case in the UK, be mindful of working from a café or restaurant as confidential information is at risk. It is likely that the company will insist you work only from a specified address.
  5. Consider the costs of and likely frequency of returning to the UK for you and potentially your family. Will you be required to return to the UK at short notice? What impact will that have on travel costs and who will bear that?
  6. The business is more likely to be more accommodating to your request if you can demonstrate how you will fulfill management responsibilities remotely. What measures can be put in place to ensure adequate management such as training and supervision of staff?
  7. Depending on your nationality and the location of where you decide to live, you may need to consider immigration requirements and apply for any necessary visa. Who will pay for such costs and will it impact on your ability to return to the UK at a later date?
  8. Consider how your role can be performed most effectively from the country in question to ensure productivity is not diminished. Consider time-zones and use of proper equipment and technology to bridge the location gap.
  9. If you are planning on working abroad for a substantial period of time, it may be necessary (and certainly useful) to obtain local advice on any tax, social security and employment obligations that may arise in the host country and on any Covid-19 stipulations that have been issued.
  10. If you are a director or business owner working from abroad, there are risks if you refuse similar requests from less senior staff. Carefully consider your company policy on working from abroad before taking that step yourself.

If you would like any more information on the implications of working abroad, please contact Eoin Broderick on +44(01892) 765 410.

Posted in: Business