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Workation and home office abroad: How to convince your employer.


© Innsbruck Tourismus / Markus Mair


Do you want to be able to work flexibly from anywhere in the world but keep your current job? We show you how to get support from your employer so that you can combine travelling and working. Working abroad is not only possible for freelancers and self-employed people, but also for you as an employee!


The pandemic has clearly shown us that working in a home office is possible. Why not simply move your home office to another country - to Austria for skiing, to Bali for surfing, to Namibia for safari?


For you as an employee, it sounds easy, but for your employer, unfortunately, it's not. As soon as you want to work as an employee:in in another country, a number of legal challenges come along for your employer. Stop! Before you frown at compliance and leave the site: We'll show you how you or your employer can easily solve this and how you can work for a German employer abroad.


So below we give you a brief overview of the risks of mobile working abroad and how you and your employer can solve these challenges.


1️. Corporate culture

There are several reasons why many employers worry about company culture:

  • You work on the beach, which could convey that you are unproductive (we know it's not like that!).

  • The informal exchange with colleagues leads to an anonymous company culture without team spirit.

  • Due to a possible time zone difference you are not always available, for the team and for clients.

  • The employer no longer has an overview of the employees in terms of where they are and for how long.

We know that these concerns arise mainly out of uncertainty, because it is something new that has not existed in the company before. Therefore, it is very common to set up a remote work policy that applies to all employees. This can be, for example, a limit for X days per year, a maximum permitted time zone difference to the headquarters or the definition of no-go countries. This makes it easier for an employer to implement working abroad in the beginning. Experience shows that employers like to start with a few fixed rules, which are then relaxed if the concept works.


2. Taxes

What your employer wants to avoid at all costs if you work abroad of your own volition: a permanent establishment. By creating a permanent establishment, your employer will have to pay taxes in that country.

In order to avoid a permanent establishment, various factors must be taken into account. These include, for example:

  • Country of workation (Is there a double taxation treaty?)

  • Length of stay (What are the thresholds?)

  • Your role in the company (For example, are you a managing director, do you have a sales role or are you entitled to procuration?)

3️. Social security

Both you and your employer have an interest in making sure you are on the safe side. What happens if you break your leg while skiing, for example?

The following points should be considered, among others:

  • Country of workation (Is there a social security agreement?)

  • Duration of stay (the social security thresholds differ from the tax thresholds)

  • Past stays abroad (Where and for how long have you already been abroad in the last 12 months?)

4. Data protection

Data protection becomes relevant especially when travelling outside the EU, as the GDPR regulations do not apply there. In addition, there are industries and individual companies that are subject to stricter regulations because, for example, sensitive data is handled or the company has been awarded ISO 27701.


5️. Work permit and residence permits

Of course, it is also important for you to know whether you need a visa or which work visa. Because nothing would be more fatal if you were standing in the country at entry and they wouldn't let you in. The points that are taken into account for the residence permit are, among others, the following:

  • Citizenships (Do you have more than one citizenship?)

  • Length of stay (Again, there are other thresholds to consider)

  • EU country vs. non-EU country (of course, this also plays a decisive role, as travelling within the EU is usually unproblematic)

6️. Labour law

In fact, some countries have different labour laws that you, as a non-citizen, have to follow in that country. For example, in Italy you are not allowed to work from the roof. So if that's what you had in mind, we're sorry to disappoint you!


‼️ An important note ‼️

It is important to understand that each case must be considered individually. This is because the risk can only be correctly assessed by combining the above categories.


So how can my employer solve this easily and quickly?

There are various ways to do this, which differ in terms of time and cost. Below you will find a list of the possibilities to offer workation in a legally clean way.


Auditing firms

The classic option is auditing firms such as the Big Four. Their expertise makes them very accurate and the employer is legally protected. The disadvantage is that each case has to be examined individually and manually. The costs are around 4000-6000€ per case. So if 10 employees want to do workation, the costs quickly run into the mid five-figure range. In addition, the manual check can take a long time.


Do it yourself in-house

Often companies try to solve the issue themselves at the beginning. Mostly, the issue lies with HR, but they have no legal background. This leads to the fact that those responsible usually do not know what exactly they have to check (except for the classics such as double taxation agreements and social security agreements). This leads to risks being left out or even wrongly assessed. In addition, it is a very high administrative effort for the responsible person in the company, as they first have to find the relevant information and then make an individual assessment with appropriate measures. And of course the effort increases the more employees want to work abroad.


Digital providers (automated, fast & comparatively cheap)

Due to an increasing demand for remote working abroad in combination with the problems of manual, expensive and risky verification as mentioned above, there are now also digital providers. As an employee, you can simply enter your trip via a platform, similar to airbnb, which is then checked by AI-supported software and a risk assessment is carried out. This risk assessment, including an action plan, is immediately sent to the responsible person in your company. This not only enables fast processing, but is also cost-effective and legally compliant. Our recommendation is the rhome platform, which enables employees to work abroad temporarily. Employers save costs, time and are legally compliant.


Summary

In order for you to be able to do home office work from abroad, your employer should carry out a risk assessment in advance and take appropriate measures. The risk assessment must always be considered on a case-by-case basis, as various variables play a role. To prevent your employer from drowning in a flood of administrative tasks, we recommend the digital solution rhome. You can simply drop by via the link and create a sample trip. They will then give you an assessment of the risk involved and what measures need to be taken.

Your employer now has no reason not to let you work abroad! Go for it😉

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