CONVINUS Global Mobility Summit 2023

Whenever there is an important call from a customer, partner, or supplier abroad, you may need to travel abroad?

Are you and your team aware of all the necessary legal aspects which need to be considered?

A business traveller is an employee who needs to travel for its employer to a different country for a couple of days, weeks or months for either meetings or work.

To ensure that also short-term business trips can be completed without penalties, travel bans or fines, and to minimise compliance risks, every company must have processes and procedures in place for the legal aspects.

The following aspects are "key" regarding business travellers and short-term assignments:

  • Entry requirements and work permits / visas:
    It is necessary to check whether the necessary formalities (e.g., work permit, registration, visa) have been fulfilled.
  • Social Security liability:
    Depending on the country of destination, a possible social security liability may arise, even if the business trip assignment is only intended for a few weeks. In some cases, however, a confirmation of the social security liability in the country of origin is sufficient.
  • Taxation:
    The double tax treaties between the countries involved, play a major role. If a double tax treaty exists, there is possibly no tax liability in the country of destination subject to meetings the criteria of the "183-day rule" and meeting the requirements of the national law.
  • Applicable labour law conditions:
    Irrespective of the duration of the business trip assignment, the relevant terms, and conditions under labour law (including working hours or wages, salaries, rest days and holidays) must be complied with.

Companies can only realistically achieve compliance with the various legal regulations governing business travel short term assignment, if they take a systematic, integrated approach internally, combining the expertise from global mobility, human resources, legal, compliance, travel, and tax.

Tailored business travel short term assignment policies and protocols that close the gap with policies for other forms of assignment are essential. These should clarify employees' obligation to inform the company of the time, place and activity prior to any international trip, no matter how short the duration or nature of the visit. The policies should also make clear what support employees can expect in return to ensure compliance.