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Dear Workforce What Do We Need to Know About Sending Nonexempt Employees to Europe for Training

Dear Keeping Abreast:

Sending employees for training overseas, whether nonexempt or exempt, should be done with careful thought and planning to ensure both cost-effectiveness and compliance with U.S. and host country regulations (work hours, immigration, taxes, etc.). The following list summarizes some of the important issues that should be considered and addressed.

  • U.S. regulations. Depending on the length of training, there could be federal and/or state wage implications for hours worked and overtime. The Department of Labor may be able to help.
  • What length of time–and to what countries? These two questions have to be considered in conjunction. The “trigger time” for tax, visa, work permit and local regulatory implications varies considerably from one country to another.
  • Reimbursement of travel expenses vs. per diem allowances. Depending on the time spent in a particular country, there may be a tax benefit to providing employees with a per-diem allowance rather than reimbursing actual living expenses.
  • Home leave. If employees will be away from home for an extended period–especially if not accompanied by family members–consider providing home-leave trips periodically. If that’s not possible, consider sending family members to visit the employee.
  • Travel. What class of travel will be provided for these employees? Many companies provide business-class travel only for executives or for trips exceeding eight hours’ travel time.
  • Transportation. Will the employees need access to motor vehicles (on an individual or group basis), or will public transportation be sufficient? This will depend on proximity of the training location to public transportation, especially in larger cities. If vehicles will be provided, ensure that there is an understanding of local driving requirements.

Many issues must be considered when sending employees overseas for training, and this is a relative handful. The longer your training program is, the more careful your planning must be to ensure compliance and cost control.

SOURCE: Sarah Cuthill, principal, Global Employment and Individual Solutions,Deloitte & Touche, April 2, 2004.

LEARN MORE:Companies Weigh the Cost of Prepping Expats.

The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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