Returning to work Part 4: Employees who continue to work remotely

Returning to work Part 4: Employees who continue to work remotely 1013 1520 Commissioning HR
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In many cases, employees are likely to continue working remotely for the foreseeable future for all or part of their working time.

Employers should consider how they will continue to remain in touch with a remote workforce.  Providing support for employees’ mental health will also be paramount as some individuals find long term working from home an isolating experience. Employers also need to ensure that their employees have a safe working environment at home and, as such, businesses may need to consider providing additional equipment to those who will be working from home on a long-term basis.  Additionally, employment contracts might need amending if the base of work changes on a longer term arrangement or more agile working is required

In some cases, employees may decide to take advantage of working remotely and move further away.  We are starting to see requests for working from overseas. Employers should ideally make it clear to employees that they are still expected to reside in the UK.  If they wish to move overseas, they must obtain approval from their employer first. Although moving overseas may seem attractive for some, with technology providing the means for employees to work from virtually anywhere in the world, this can give rise to a number of complicated tax, social security, immigration and employment law issues which should all be carefully considered before agreeing to the move.

Before agreeing to working from overseas Employers will need to:

  • Evaluate the tax withholding and tax position
  • Review the social security
  • Govern where and how the pay should be delivered

Some companies set up a corporate presence in another country. 

There is some useful guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/paying-employees-working-abroad

Another key consideration is that the employer would need to understand and follow the employment law in that country. For example, employment rights, holiday entitlements and working time would need to be understood. A new contract of employment would most certainly need to be issued and comply with the relevant legislation within the country which the employee was residing. The employer would also need to think about whether they would pay for flights and subsistence should the employee be requested to attend the UK for any reason and what the rules would be.

So, employing people overseas is not for the faint hearted and specialist advice from both tax, payroll and employment experts should be taken before embarking on such a decision.

This is part 4 of a 4 part series. Please visit the ‘People’ section of the blog to discover more blogs in the series. 

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Commissioning HR specialises in transformative change and putting people at the heart of business. We are passionate about ensuring Good Work is embedded in organisations and helping South West businesses emerge as ethical employers. Contact us for advice and support on returning to the office, and other HR matters.

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Commissioning HR

Deliver professional and credible HR advice, guidance and structure, for positive outcomes for employees, managers, directors, customers, stakeholders and investors across Devon and Cornwall.

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