Monday, 22 July 2013

Understanding your employment rights whilst working abroad

Image source: Flickr

Working abroad is an amazing experience – an adventure like no other. However, there’s a lot to get your head around when moving. If you’re moving for work, your rights as an employee will be at the forefront of your mind.

One of the first questions you should ask before moving is “Which country’s laws apply to me if I work there?” Unfortunately, there’s no legal version of the Rhine to act as a definitive border between jurisdictions. As such, it’s best to keep a simple basic principle in mind: most of the time, your host country’s employment law will apply. For example, expats working in the UK are protected by British employment law, regardless of contractual clauses that might state otherwise. This applies even if the company the expat is working for is from their home country.

However, this is not to say that your home country’s law doesn’t also apply. It’s entirely possible for two or more countries’ laws to apply to an expat. When this occurs, it’s best to seek legal guidance. In the meantime, governmental websites can be a really helpful source of information.

Finally, we should point out that it’s important to establish whether there are any agreements in place between your home and host country concerning employment rights. European expats may find that their home country’s laws apply very differently within the EU to outside of it.

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