With the summer holiday season approaching, you may receive requests from home or hybrid workers to temporarily work remotely from overseas locations. What are the potential pitfalls?
In addition to the fact that you need to act in a fair, consistent and non-discriminatory way if agreeing to requests for overseas remote working, you need to be aware of the following potential legal issues:
- time zones – if the employee is to be in a different time zone, how will that impact the work they do?
- work location – is the proposed working environment suitable?
- health and safety – will a risk assessment be conducted to ensure the working environment is safe?
- right to work – does the employee have the right to work in the host country under its immigration laws, or do they need immigration permission to do so?
- employment law – will the employee be in scope of mandatory foreign employment protections because of working overseas?
- tax and social security – could the employee’s stay in the host country create risks of income tax or social security liability in that country?
- data protection – if the employee’s role involves processing personal data, will any transfer of personal data to and from them be lawful, and what data protection regime applies?
- insurance – if the employee has a work-related accident while working overseas, does your employers’ liability insurance still cover them?
In summary, you should only accept a request if the employee’s role can be effectively performed remotely and carried out lawfully from the host country, and so you’ll need to take local advice on any legal obligations you may have in the host country. Many employers therefore don’t allow overseas remote working because of the potential pitfalls.