PLAYROLL BLOG

Insights into global expansion & employee retention

Published: May 5, 2022

Hiring and Firing Overseas Employees: How to Play It Safe

Recruiting internationally can be tricky, especially when it comes to the nitty-gritty of hiring and (sometimes) dismissing international staff. Before diving head first into international talent pools, it is important to know the employment rules of foreign countries and play by them too!
Hiring and Firing Overseas

We’ll start by emphasising that hiring is much more desirable for everyone involved than firing. If we lived in a perfect world, employers and employees would forge smooth, fruitful long-term working relationships. But let’s face it, firings happen.

When they do, it can be a  daunting situation for both parties. Especially when the outgoing employee is overseas. The extra layer of complexity in severing ties with overseas hires shouldn’t deter you from overseas expansion. There really are more pros than cons.

That said, there are various factors to be considered when approaching the occasional and unfortunate situation of considering firing employees overseas.

Rules To Consider When Hiring and Dismissing International Talent

Think carefully about how you advertise

How job adverts are written is important in many countries. Be sure to dot your I’s and cross your T’s when advertising job vacancies in certain jurisdictions. 

For example, in Slovakia, employers must add the basic salary for the specific job in the advert. This salary must remain the same in the employment contract.

Recent revisions to Slovakian law also brought modifications to employee overtime, weekend and night work pay, as well as hiring non-EU citizens.

It is also wise to avoid discriminatory wording in job adverts. It is illegal to discriminate directly or indirectly based on an individual’s gender, race, disability, religion, or sexual orientation in places like the EU. 

Consider your interview set-up

Rules for interviewing can vary from one country to the next. For example, in the Netherlands, employers cannot require talent to interview via video conference. Instead, this interview method can be presented as an option. 

Choose your interview questions wisely

To avoid possible allegations of discrimination, HR should limit questions only to those relevant to the job. In Germany, the Federal Employment Court restricts employers’ right to ask questions about the seven “deadly sins”:

  • Race
  • Ethnic origin
  • Gender
  • Religion or secular belief
  • Disability
  • Age
  • Sexual identity

In general, employers should exercise tact when interviewing potential employees. Aside from certain laws prohibiting specific personal questions, cultural differences could lead to uncomfortable misunderstandings. 

Criminal records and background checks are a no, no in some countries

In the UK, the Employment Practices Code states that pre-employment vetting should be used where there are particular risks involved. 

Any background check, excluding a criminal check or social media check, is illegal in Poland. 

In Germany, background checks are allowed only in exceptional cases. Information privacy protection under German law sets narrow limits for conducting background checks.

The employer’s interest in gathering personal information must be so great that the safety of the candidate’s data rights is, in comparison, less critical. 

Prepare the right documents

If you decide to offer someone a job, prepare job contracts according to country-specific requirements. 

For example, in Belgium, not providing a Flemish or French employment contract can cause the contract to void and prevent any business protection clauses from being enforceable.

HR gurus should avoid using a generic employment contract when posting staff overseas. 

International dismissals can be errr…tricky

The dismissal process can be tricky to navigate, especially on foreign grounds. 

In Dubai, for example, on termination of employment, the employee’s work permit and residency visa must be withdrawn, and the individual has 30-days to leave the United Arab Emirates. If they do not, daily penalties accrue, and it is a criminal offence to stay beyond the 30-day grace period. 

Play By the Rules with Playroll

With an increased focus on day-to-day HR, compliance comes a renewed need for employers to think carefully about how information is processed and that country-specific procedures are being followed.

There is no doubt that, with adequate planning and a willingness to engage with local laws and best practices, the opportunities afforded by working with talent overseas can be huge.

But why concern yourself with the red tape? With an EoR partner like Playroll on your side, you’ll ensure that all the rules are followed throughout the international hiring process. 

Download our Ebook - How to handle HR Compliance
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