What are the key considerations of working outside the UK?

This is a complex area of employment law and there are a number of factors in determining whether or not British employment law and taxation law cover workers employed overseas. There are other issues such as:

  • local tax;
  • immigration and visa requirements;
  • health services;
  • health and safety;
  • occupational pensions;
  • impact of overseas residency on your UK tax status;
  • impact on your children’s ability to access student finance in the UK to fund higher education fees and maintenance loans;
  • impact on the size of your UK state pension (35 complete years of National Insurance contributions or credits are needed for the full new state pension launched on 6 April 2016. 10 complete years are needed to qualify for any state pension at all. Voluntary NICs can be paid in to make up for missed contributions when you return to the UK. There is a window of time within which you can do this. Contact the Pensions Advisory Service for more information); and
  • your residency status and its impact, for example, on your ability to access the NHS and to vote.

For UK-based organisations, any requirement for employees to work abroad for at least a month must be included in the written statement of particulars. This should be issued to all employees within two months of starting work. It should specify:

  • how long you are expected to work abroad;
  • the currency of payment;
  • any additional payment; and
  • the terms and conditions of employment on return to the UK.

The EU Posted Workers Directive gives protection for workers who are transferred or posted to work in another EU country. It guarantees that the minimum standards of employment which apply in that country, such as working hours, holidays, and health and safety, also apply to the posted worker. So if you are posted to another EU country with better holiday entitlements than you would get in the UK, you will be entitled to the 'extra' holidays for the duration of your posting.

However, there is currently no automatic entitlement for individuals working in other member states to benefit from collective agreements prevailing in their sector.

In addition, as an EU citizen the worker continues to enjoy the rights and benefits deriving from the various EU directives and treaties, including the right of free entry, the right to take up residence and the right to take up employment without hindrance from state authorities.

Workers should seek further specialist advice to find out their precise position.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.