The decision by Facebook to allow some of its Dublin-based staff to work remotely in another country presents a very complex situation for employees and employers that might avail of such a scheme, according to one employment expert.
In an email to staff yesterday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said some Irish based employees could request to work from a list of seven European countries, including the UK.
Maeve McElwee, Director of Employer Relations with Ibec, said there was a whole myriad of employment rights that would need to be addressed by any employer opting for this model.
"There are huge considerations for organisations in the first instance as to whether it meets the objectives of the organisational strategy and organisational culture," she said.
"One of the key areas is the question as to where the employee will pay tax. If you do have employees in other jurisdictions, you will see payroll obligations arising there and challenges for employers to determine who has liability, where those payroll taxes are going to be paid and does that have a double liability," Ms McElwee pointed out.
She said similar challenges emerged in relation to social security, which would typically be paid in the country in which the employee is working.
There are also questions around the obligations that the employer has to the employee that are particular to the country in which they are based.
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Ms McElwee said a lot would be determined by the circumstances of the placement in another jurisdiction.
"In many organisations, if people are going to move permanently to an entity that already exists, an employee may be what's called localised, so they will move over to the terms and conditions of the local operation and that may have different contractual arrangements and agreements," she explained.
She said that could even apply to different rates of pay for a significant move on a permanent basis.
In other words, if an employee opted to move to a country where the cost of living is substantially less, they may not retain the pay they may have had in Dublin.
Facebook recently began reopening its offices after a year long pandemic shutdown.
The company said the policy on allowing some staff to work from abroad would not have implications for its Dublin campus which it is developing at the former AIB Bank Centre in Ballsbridge.