Employers often assign their employees to work in their overseas operations as “expatriates” on transfers and secondments.
For the relocation to succeed, employers must carefully select suitable candidates, plan the terms of assignments, prepare employees for relocation, manage the assignments and coordinate their conclusion. The goal in preparing for expatriate assignments should be to eliminate surprises for both employers and employees.
The personnel department should have available the regulations on the relevant terms and conditions under which staff transfers and secondments can be carried out. In some cases, staff may actively seek a transfer or secondment, in which case the terms may be different.
Transfers and secondments many be at the same grade, or they may result from a promotion or demotion.
Electronic records management
A transfer or secondment certificate should be placed on the personnel file.
The personnel file should be transferred to the new agency’s personnel department. In some countries the personal file does not move with the individual.
The relevant central authorities should be notified.
What to include
Electronic records should include information on
- Employer options for structuring the expatriate arrangement, including policies to guide and govern the assignment.
- Potential liability for violations of employment laws in the countries from which and to which the staff member will be transferred.
- Overseas confidentiality and intellectual property questions, including a local assessment of the European Union's data protection rules. Remember that personal data is protected by Data Protection laws and countries must have appropriate security measures in place, especially if personal information is transferred out of the European Union.
- Issues relevant to restrictive covenants.
- Issues relevant to selecting an appropriate candidate.
- Immigration questions.
- Compensation questions such as payroll administration, taxes, incentives and allowances.
- Non-monetary terms and conditions, including medical issues, holiday leave, home leave and education for dependents.
- Practical and logistical considerations, including training, orientation, housing and transportation.
- Best practices to respond to emergency situations such as natural disasters, personal crisis and death of the expatriate while overseas.
- Coordinating the end of the assignment through repatriation or because of voluntary or involuntary termination.