From Idaho to Ireland: When Remote Workers Go Rogue

It’s a new world out there post-COVID-19, and businesses are finding themselves faced with new challenges. However, if there’s anything we’ve learned from the pandemic experience, it’s that challenges don’t come by themselves — they are often accompanied by great opportunity. While employees might think that a move to Dublin, Ireland, from Boise, ID, is fine if they’re working remotely, their human resources department knows that it’s no small potatoes. Fortunately, this ever-increasing problem has a simple solution.

Workers Getting Choosey, Relocating

Moving to a more affordable part of the country – or to a different country – is a growing trend among employees who now have the opportunity to work from home.  A recent article by real estate company Redfin shows 1 in 3 Redfin.com users wanting to move to a different metro area, with remote workers increasingly choosing “quality of life” preferences over their proximity to the office.  Barbados is offering a 12-month visa to entice remote workers to the island, and other less populated states and cities have created special packages to incentivize and encourage remote workers to move in and settle down.

As a growing stream of remote workers are desiring to work out of a location that’s different than where the company offices, companies are scrambling to revise – or create – policies that address the challenges that come with it. To further complicate things, many remote workers are wanting to relocate internationally, often to places where companies don’t have an established entity.

Should a company decline an employee’s request, they face becoming another victim of The Great Resignation, as more and more employees resign and seek out a company that aligns more with their preferences. What’s a company to do?

Enter the Global PEO

What is a PEO? A PEO is a legal entity that stands as the “employer of record” for a multinational organization. As a PEO, it is able, on your behalf, to hire, manage, and pay required taxes for your organization inside of a host country. This keeps your costs down, ensures compliance, and saves the HR or administrative staff in your home country from having to learn all the ins and outs of foreign bureaucracy.

A Global PEO can provide a wide range of outsourcing services for a business who is looking to expand into an international market, but they can also be helpful when you have one employee who wants to relocate to work remotely from a country where you don’t have an established entity.

A recent Gallup article gives insight on how many human resources professionals are balancing the need for attracting and retaining top talent with offering flexibility. While employers would like to give employees more input in choosing their work situation, there are tax implications, along with other penalties, that most employees are unaware of. However, using a global PEO is one way to offer location flexibility while still maintaining compliance.

What Does a Global PEO Do?

Global PEOs provide administrative assistance, employee management services, and compliance strategies for businesses, organizations, and institutions operating outside of their domestic jurisdictions. For a fee, a business can then transfer all of their talent acquisition, payroll, benefits, employee rights protections, and employee management needs over to the PEO. This also prevents a company from having to incorporate internationally when they have a worker (or workers) in a country that’s different from the country where the business is based.

Adjusting policies for corporate relocation

Global PEOs are the Simple Solution

Sometimes, companies or employees think that establishing an entity in a country is as simple as renting office space, filing with the government, and hiring a worker or two in the new location. However, it’s not that easy. Even if you have a remote worker, and just one, they’ll still be subjected to their host country’s legal requirements, as will you as their employer.

“Although physically and theoretically people can work anywhere, they can’t be employed everywhere, so CHROs must choose between expanding employee location options or reeling in their rogue employees.” Top CHROs Believe ‘Flexibility Within a Framework’ Is the Future of Work (gallup.com)

If your company chooses to pursue establishing a legal entity in a host country, it can be time-consuming, complicated, and expensive. But when you work with a PEO, you’re no longer required to meet those legal stipulations. The PEO stands in your place as the “employer of record,” so their established entity in a host location allows them to hire, manage, withhold necessary taxes, and more.

What Exactly Does a Global PEO Handle?

A PEO is responsible for benefits, payroll, taxes, compliance, and employee protections for the new host location. This takes the burden of learning the various rules and regulations governing remote workers overseas off the shoulders of your HR team, allowing them the confidence needed that everything is covered and that they can just focus on the day-to-day responsibilities back at the home office. It removes the hassle of tracking down employees, making sure they’re compliant, and stressing over little-known immigration requirements and tax laws.

With more workers working remotely and choosing where they want to live and work based on lifestyle preferences, an international move doesn’t have to be out of the question for your employees, but finding the right relocation partner is key.  

An Attractive Culture

Using a global PEO is a simple solution to a complicated problem, allowing companies to continue attracting and retaining top talent. Allowing employees to truly “work from anywhere” is a sure way to invest in company culture and show your employees you’re on their side. Additionally, many companies can go even further and partner with trusted relocation services providers to help employees with moving their household goods, finding lodging, and learning the ins and outs of their new location.

With more workers working remotely and choosing where they want to live and work based on lifestyle preferences, an international move doesn’t have to be out of the question for your employees, but finding the right relocation partner is key.  

At Cartwright Global Mobility, we benefit from the Cartwright family of companies’ almost 90 years of experience moving families around the world.  Our relocation management services are a great option for supporting your remote employees’ relocations, regardless of how small your global mobility program or the number of relocations you manage each year. Reach out today for more information!