UK employers falling foul of non-UK regulations
UK employers are at risk of falling foul of non-UK regulations due to changing working habits, with people working remotely abroad.
Since the pandemic made remote working the norm, many employees are now choosing to work from locations outside of the UK. Employers based in the UK with employees overseas are, however, often not aware of their responsibilities under non-UK regulations.
There are many obligations and regulations relating to health, safety, and wellbeing, as well as wider employment and tax considerations, that are determined by the country in which the employee is based, not the origins of the company.
Just because the person is employed by a UK company, and even if they are a British national, does not mean they are covered by UK regulations alone if they work in a different country.
Local expertise required
Unfortunately, there is no all-encompassing solution. Regulations differ around the world and it is not possible therefore for an employer to provide a blanket, one-size-fits-all support option that is compliant on a global scale. It is vital that employers take specialist advice and tap in to local expertise to ensure they meet regulations required in every country where employees work.
Supporting the health and wellbeing of global staff is a case in point, all countries have different rules, with some not allowing work visas if healthcare provision isn’t in place before travel. Employers must make themselves aware of the rules wherever they have staff, and before they travel.
The issue is not just restricted to far-flung countries. With the UK no longer in the EU, even close neighbouring countries can now have wildly differing regulations from the UK. Working and employment rights, and health and wellbeing stipulations, differ from country to country and may even be in direct contradiction to those in the UK.
Employers should not be put off from the idea of letting people work remotely from overseas, but they must ensure they have a full understanding of all the implications.
Sarah Dennis is Head of International at Towergate Health & Protection, which she joined in 2014 following over 17 years working as a consultant and in senior management roles in international health insurance companies including Jelf Group, Norwich Union Healthcare (Aviva UK), HealthCare International, Goodhealth Worldwide Ltd. (Aetna...