Posts Tagged ‘COVID’

Mental health and well-being in the workplace

Posted on: October 8th, 2020

With World Mental Health Day around the corner and the COVID pandemic challenging even the most resilient of individuals, mental health and well-being at work continues to be one of the most difficult and complicated issues that employers encounter.

Getting it wrong can be extremely damaging to staff morale and reputation, as well as time consuming and costly, so Coffin Mew teamed up with Stratus Coaching and recruitment experts, Hays, on 8 October to host a webinar on this hugely topical issue.  Attracting over 100 senior HR professionals and directors, this interactive session focused on exploring the strategic considerations for employers planning for the workplace of the future, as well as practical steps businesses can take to improve and support their employees’ well-being in a time of constantly changing government guidance. 

In a poll 90% of delegates anticipated that home/agile working would become integral to the way their workforce operates, with about half indicating that remote working would largely replace attending a physical workplace. The return to the office was also high on the agenda of concerns and provoked a substantial Q&A session dealing with risk assessment and consultation, Covid anxiety, how to handle those who refuse to return, whistleblowing, H&S detriment and flexible working requests.

Topics also included:

If you have any questions about managing mental health and well-being in the workplace, or if you would like to request a copy of the webinar recording and presentation, the Employment Team at Coffin Mew would be happy to help so please do get in touch.

When working remotely means working overseas, what should employers consider?

Posted on: September 18th, 2020

With a sudden increase in remote and home working following the COVID pandemic, it is unsurprising that employees are starting to re-evaluate how and when they work, together with where they carry out their work.

As a result, our Employment Team have received a number of queries from businesses asking what they need to consider if an employee asks to move abroad or work from an overseas home. We outline some of the key areas of consideration below:

Our recommended starting point is to speak with your financial and tax advisers to establish the potential tax impact for both the individual and the company. Sadly, this can sometimes be commercially and administratively burdensome, so it is worth investigating the tax position before considering the next steps.

Homeworking generally
In agreeing to a permanent or majority homeworking arrangement like this, you will need to consider the usual homeworking quandaries, including the following points:


An employer will of course need to consider whether the individual will actually have the right to work in the country concerned. This will depend upon the immigration rules of the relevant country, together with the nationality and right to work status of the employee.

If the employee wishes to work from an EEA country and s/he is a UK national, it is worth noting that the Brexit transition period will end on 31 December 2020, meaning that it may be beneficial for a move to take place prior to this date.

However, we strongly recommend that local immigration advice is taken at the material time to ensure working abroad does not result in illegal working. Further, non-UK national employees should be encouraged to take their own independent immigration advice (including any impact their absence from the UK may have on a return in the future).

Employers should speak with their current Employers Liability Insurance (ELI) provider to establish whether the current ELI will cover an employee working overseas. Additional or local cover may need to be obtained.

Employment Rights/Protections
Where employees live and work abroad, they can become subject to the jurisdiction of the overseas country and benefit from the local mandatory employment rights regardless of what is stated in the contract (i.e. local laws can potentially override express contractual wording). This may, for example, include health and safety obligations, rest breaks, paid annual leave, family friendly rights, pension entitlements and, typically the most onerous, rights on termination of employment.

We recommend that employers seek local advice on this point to understand the likelihood of foreign employment rights and protections applying and, if so, what steps can be taken to avoid this (if any).

Employment Benefits
Dependent on the nature of the relevant schemes or policies, the employee’s participation in company benefits (such as pensions or private health care) may be impacted or invalidated by a move abroad. You will need to speak with your applicable providers to determine this and also ensure the employee is fully informed before making the move.

Setting a Precedent
Given the pandemic and the sudden prevalence of remote and home working, requests to work from alternative locations (such as family homes, holidays or overseas) are on the rise. As a result, it is worth considering that other requests to work overseas may follow, particularly if you do approve one employee’s request.

Whilst employees do not have an automatic right to change their place of work and a move will of course depend on an individual employee’s circumstances or role, it may cause friction or be difficult to reject a future employee’s request in similar circumstances. As such, in communicating an employee’s move abroad, it would be wise to highlight the one-off or discretionary nature of the arrangement.

If you have any questions about the content of this article, or you would like assistance with considering or responding to an employee’s request to work abroad, the Employment Team at Coffin Mew would be happy to help so please do get in touch.

Our priorities are people's health and looking after our clients. Please click here to find out the latest updates on Coffin Mew's coronavirus hub.