Global HR Hot Topic - October 2013: "Floating” Employment Toolkit


When a multinational business or nonprofit decides to launch a presence in some foreign market where it has never done business before by opening a new local office, a new facility or a new factory, its path is clear: The organization marches into the new market flying its flag and heads straight for the local authorities, where it registers a branch, representative office or subsidiary so it can transact business legally, buy or rent real estate, and employ and pay staff locally. Then the multinational finds out, and follows, the local rules of the road that regulate how to do business and employ people. But what about the business or nonprofit that, for whatever reason, needs to tiptoe into some new country, unable or unready to register a full-fledged legal entity presence for transacting business in-country and payrolling staff legally? Imagine, hypothetically, a Montana machine tool shop that wants to try out its first Saskatchewan sales agent.

Or think of a small Washington, DC nonprofit that wants to hire a work-from home grant writer who happens to live in London. Or consider a Fortune 500 multinational with facilities in 36 countries that has a valued Director of Public Affairs who announces that, for urgent personal reasons, she needs to move abroad for a year and telecommute — maybe she is a “trailing spouse” married to someone going on an expatriate assignment, or maybe she has a sick parent abroad. But what if she has to move to Trinidad, which is not among this company’s overseas jurisdictions?

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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