Employment International: Risk Management for employers operating in the Single Market

Written on 26 Nov 2015

With specialist employment law partners in all of our European offices, Osborne Clarke’s Employment Team is frequently asked to advise and support employers tackling EU-wide issues – including redundancies and restructurings, acquisitions, the introduction of new incentive arrangements, outsourcings and director dismissals. Our team is experienced at advising on legal issues across European jurisdictions and plays an active role in helping clients manage the risks arising from their cross-border employment activities.

Employment International puts the spotlight on key risks and challenges employers face – giving you advance notice of the steps your business needs to take when dealing with any European-wide business change and enabling you to anticipate difficult and costly business issues.

In this first issue, we look at how your business can manage the risks arising from employing staff who are mobile throughout the EU. In the next edition we shall look at managing collective redundancies in Europe.

What legal rights do your mobile employees have in Europe?

Workforces are becoming internationally mobile and this, coupled with the rise of the digital workplace, has led to increasing numbers of employees being connected to more than one country, whether by travel, relocation, secondment or digital technology. Employment law has struggled to keep pace with these changes and employers must consider what key employment rights an employee may have.

Whilst an employer and employee may agree in the employment contract that the laws of one country govern the relationship, this specific agreement may still not be enough to exclude employment rights arising in other jurisdictions.

An employer hiring employees who will be required to travel or work abroad must keep in mind the matrix of different national and mandatory laws which may, in the circumstances, apply on recruitment, during employment and on termination.

Managing risks arising from cross-border employment

Care is needed to avoid falling foul of the varying employment laws applying throughout Europe when hiring, managing or dismissing employees who work or will work in more than one jurisdiction or indeed, further afield.

Click here for our checklist of key points for businesses managing the risks arising from mobile employees.

Our country focus

To assist businesses to understand the particular issues they may come up against in managing employees who are mobile across jurisdictions, our experts highlight the key considerations for employers in each of their respective countries.

UK: Virtual employees who have never worked in the UK can nevertheless still have UK employment rights, including the right to claim unfair dismissal attracting up to £78,335 in compensation.

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Germany: Employers can make a choice of law to apply to their employment contracts, but are warned that German laws will supersede this choice where there is a close connection with the employees work to Germany.

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The Netherlands: Employment law in the Netherlands provides a high level of protection to employees when compared to other jurisdictions, and this can benefit both local employees and expats.

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Spain: Employees working temporarily in Spain, whether from inside or outside the EEA, may have minimum employment rights under Spanish law.

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Belgium: “Sales Representatives” have a legal entitlement to commission on suspension and/or termination of their employment and must be compensated for the loss of the client base they developed. These rights should be carefully reflected in the employment contract.

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France: French employees benefit from a maximum working week, even when working overseas, and may be entitled to overtime for excess hours worked.

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Click here to see our brochure on international employment solutions.