The workplace as we know it has changed significantly since COVID-19. One of the largest shifts has been the increase in flexible work arrangements and remote work requests. While remote working made up a maximum of 5%-10% of all work arrangements in the past, now 31% of Canadians continue to work fully remotely.
The combination of fewer travel restrictions and more remote work opportunities has resulted in more and more employees requesting permission to work remotely from international locations. These remote work requests can pose significant complications and require serious thought.
This article will highlight seven key factors that both employees and employers must consider when considering remote work requests – especially those requests to work from another country.
#1. Tax and Payroll Implications
Depending on the tax jurisdiction, your employees may be subject to additional taxes in the country they are residing in, thus increasing their tax liability. Likewise, employers should consider the different implications that remote working could have on taxable benefits as well as other deductions.
#2. Visa Considerations
Some countries may allow individuals to work remotely for a company registered in their home country on a tourist visa. Yet others may require a work permit or some other visa.
Therefore, before making remote work requests, employees should carefully research the specific visa requirements of the country they intend to work. Your employee cannot assume that you will be able to live and work for an extended period.
#3. Benefits and Health Care
This area is often-overlooked. Most employees assume OHIP and their employer-provided benefits will cover their medical needs.
However, nothing can be further from the truth. Often insurance benefits providers restrict the coverage and maximum payouts available depending on the length of stay and the purpose of travel.
#4. Work Practices
Depending on where your employee intends to reside, time differences can be an obstacle when working remotely. Therefore, organizations should have a clear policy requiring employees to be available to work during the business’ core hours.
#5. Technology and Cybersecurity
Uninterrupted internet service is essential for successfully working remotely. Many would-be digital nomads picture themselves working in picturesque cafes without considering the risk it introduces to your cybersecurity.
You should have policies in place to ensure employees take due precautions to protect the business’ sensitive data while working remotely. It is also essential for employers to review their security protocols and ensure that the employee will be able to access any necessary servers, databases, accounts etc., before approving their request to work remotely.
#6. Travel Advisories
As of the time of writing, the Government of Canada had travel advisories advising people to avoid all or non-essential travel for 28 locations. It further recommended exercising a higher degree of caution for 93 additional countries.
Political unrest, economic crises, natural disasters, and other issues can all pose a significant risk. Therefore, to minimize your liability, remote working policies must clearly state that it is the employee’s responsibility to stay up to date on the travel advisories for the said country and to take adequate precautions to protect their health and well-being.
#7. Legal Considerations
Your employee should clearly understand the laws of the country where they intend to stay and work remotely. Employees can face serious consequences for violating local laws, and the organization may also be held liable. Therefore, your remote working policy should clearly indemnify the employer from any such liability.
Giving careful thought to remote work requests
It is clear – as popular as remote work and working from anywhere has become, employers and employees alike may find themselves in a potential minefield of complications. You must give serious consideration to the factors mentioned above. The best way to mitigate many or all of the above, is through the design and development of a clear policy focused on remote working practices.
Are you struggling to navigate the complexities of remote work policies? At Brown Consulting Group, our experienced consultants can help you draft and implement policies that meet your needs while also ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.
We’ll guide you through any tax and payroll implications, visa requirements, benefits and healthcare, work practices, technology and cybersecurity, travel advisories, and legal considerations. With Brown Consulting Group, you can feel confident when faced with remote work requests and in your remote work policies. This way, you can focus on what matters most: growing your business. Book a call with us today to get started.