Process and employment status


If you are considering employing staff based overseas, or posting an existing member of staff on an overseas assignment, you should contact your HR Advisor as soon as possible. They will liaise with other specialists (both internal and external, as required) to ensure that you are provided with the appropriate advice and guidance. It is important that advice is sought before any commitment is given to employing staff overseas.

If planning to employ staff overseas as part of a grant proposal and you wish to employ them through a partner organisation or other third party this may need to be identified within the grant application.

Managers are responsible for contacting HR Advisor as soon as overseas travel has been confirmed
HR Advisor to refer manager to Employees working outside the UK checklists at the earliest opportunity
Grant holder ensures that any overseas employment is included in the grant application

Options for employing staff based overseas

There are a number of options for employing staff who will work more than 3 months overseas.

Directly employed by the University

  • University conditions of employment apply
  • Both UK and the host country’s employment, equality, health and safety laws apply - potentially the employee will need a contract of employment in the host country as well as a UK contract - terms may be different and so professional advice will be required to issue these.
  • Continue to pay in GBP unless otherwise agreed
  • May have to pay income tax and social security in host country generally using a third party service provider to carry this out – will need professional advice and ongoing costs of calculations/filing. Table of indicative charges
  • May need personal health insurance
  • Consider how performance, absence, maternity, IP etc will be managed
  • Visa issues will need to be addressed
  • Suitable for current UK based employees working abroad for a limited time period, with expectation of return
  • Risk of creating a permanent establishment
  • On University HR systems/payroll and reportable to HESA

Employed by partner organisation in host country and seconded to University

  • Local conditions of employment can be applied
  • Only the host country’s employment, equality, health and safety laws apply
  • Payment made in host country
  • Host employer address payment of income tax and social security in host country
  • Suitable for long-term employment, particularly if recruited solely to work in that country (no expectation of return)
  • A secondment agreement will be necessary
  • The host employer may charge an additional cost and seek indemnities
  • Avoids risk of creating a permanent establishment
  • On University HR systems but not payroll and potentially not reportable to HESA

Self-employment/consultancy in host country (contract for services with University)

  • Maybe suitable for short-term assignments provided the contractor is already self-employed in that country
  • Payment made gross in host currency
  • However, there is a risk that the arrangement may be deemed to be employment under the laws of the host country, in which case the University may be liable for back payment of income tax and social security (and fines)
  • A contract for services will be necessary
  • Not on University HR systems/payroll and not reportable to HESA
Manager decides on the most relevant employment option for the employee, after taking account of professional

Posting UK staff overseas

Employment rights may vary for employees who work overseas depending on their personal circumstances and the country to which they are travelling.

Where a current member of staff employed on UK terms and conditions and normally based in the UK is posted overseas they do not automatically lose their UK employment rights. In addition they may gain additional employment rights based on the legislation of the country they are posted to. For example, within Europe, the Posted Workers Directive (1996) provides protection to workers being sent on assignments to other European Union member states for up to a year to ensure that the terms and conditions of work meet the legal minimum of the country to which they are posted. This includes hours of work, minimum pay and health and safety. This means that employees could potentially be entitled to enhanced terms and conditions of employment while on assignment to another EU state. While it is unlikely to be a significant issue for staff on University terms and conditions of employment it should be noted that some European states offer significantly more generous maternity provisions than the current UK provisions.

When a member of staff is required to work outside the United Kingdom for more than one month the University has a statutory requirement to provide them with details of their rights during the period of overseas employment including the currency they will be paid in, the period they will be based overseas, additional allowances and arrangements for return. Once the changes have been agreed, HR Services will issue a letter to the employee formally advising them of the changes ie workplace location etc.

Manager is responsible for the Health and Safety of employee
HR Advisor to provide details of employee’s employment rights whilst overseas including any increased country specific rights and arrange for a letter to be sent to the employee confirming the details.  In some countries a local employment contract will need to be drafted in the language of the host country.  Specialist advice will be required and the College will be liable for any costs.


Where a member of staff is seconded by the University from the UK to a partner organisation overseas or a partner organisation employs staff locally overseas and seconds them to the University, 'secondment agreements' will need to be put in place with both the individual concerned and the partner organisation to clarify responsibilities of the University and the partner organisation. This is to ensure that areas such as intellectual property rights and responsibility for health and safety are clarified before the onset of the arrangement.

HR Advisor confirms the secondment agreement details with manager/partner organisation where appropriate