Should Employers Allow Remote Workers to Work Abroad?

Kiljon Shukullari

January 04 2021

Work location becomes immaterial when you are working remotely. A good Internet connection and necessary equipment is all one needs to be able to work comfortably.

Though a vaccination program is underway, it is likely that we’ll be working remotely for some more time. Health Canada plans to immunize all Canadians who wish to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of 2021.

In such a scenario, many remote workers may wish to relocate temporarily to another province or country. Besides being an opportunity to travel, a lower cost of living and better weather conditions are other benefits of working from abroad.

The fact that several countries, such as Barbados and Estonia, currently offer remote work visa programs has boosted this trend.

In some cases, remote workers may wish to temporarily move to their hometown to be close to their families.

However, there are several challenges that such an arrangement may create.

What challenges may arise when remote employees work abroad?

The independent contractors on your payroll are free to work abroad. But with employees, there are a few things that must be considered:

Impact on day-to-day operations

If your remote employee is working out of a different time zone, it may affect their ability to be available to clients and colleagues during regular work hours. The location may also affect other factors essential to availability, such as Internet speed and quality. 

Tax implications

Addressing the issue of tax implications should be done on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the individual case, employers should discuss this with their accountants (CRA) to address any implications that might apply to them. Again, depending on the work location, the employee may have to pay additional taxes in their country of residence.

Employment Standards, healthcare, and other benefits

The access to healthcare and other benefits may also get affected. The same may apply to the Employment Standards legislation of your province. Your remote staff may be subject to the local labour laws in the country or province where they choose to relocate. In case of a job contract-related dispute, several legal factors may determine whether your provincial employment standards still apply to your remote worker abroad. 

Ability to return to work when recalled

Travel restrictions are in place across the world. The US-Canada border is still closed. There is still uncertainty about when things will get back to normal. Being halfway across the world or even south of the border may affect your remote worker’s ability to return to work within the required timeframe on being recalled. They may also have to observe quarantine once they get back.

To avoid disputes arising out of such complications, it is important that you set down a clear remote work policy.

Looking for more information on a remote work policy for your business?

Let our experienced HR professionals create a remote work policy suited to your business needs. For HR and health & safety advice during the pandemic, call an expert today: 1(833)247-3652.

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