With access to a global workforce and free movement thanks to remote work, there are various compliance and tax challenges for employers.
HR departments across multiple industries adjusted quickly to the pandemic. They managed shifting consumer demand, which impacted hiring and business models, and they adapted to remote workforces. As the pandemic continues, remote working is now “table stakes” for workers, not a rare luxury. As entire organizations adopt remote working, they lose a corporate headquarters. There’s no centralized place where workers gather. While this at times can impact collaboration, it does provide firms with access to a global labor pool and more flexibility to move workers from one locale to another. With this global workforce and free movement, there are also various compliance and tax challenges for employers.
EU Rules for Posted Workers
Within the European Union, employers sending and hiring workers to other member countries means complying with the Posted Worker Directive. First created in 1996, the latest version of these regulations went into effect in mid-2020. They add requirements for employers to keep better track of their traveling workers, which includes providing more documentation to local agencies that manage labor.
Failure to comply with the EU directive means fines and other penalties, so employers spend time and resources trying to manage their workforces to remain in compliance. With millions of workers moving between EU countries every year, companies and HR departments often struggle to keep track of these traveling workers. Companies need to manage their location, meet document deadlines, and handle other related processes that require manual tasks and detailed organization.
It should be no surprise that the Posted Workers Directive can become convoluted when an employer plans to send their employees to an eligible country (EU/EEA & Switzerland) to conduct services. The legislation and eligibility of a worker varies with each country involved. The employer must ensure that the worker posted is entitled to the benefits and wages that are equivalent to the local workers employed in the host country. Without the directive, employers could exploit and benefit from inexpensive labor by sending workers to a higher-cost country like Austria or Switzerland but still pay them low rates typical of their home country.
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