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Quarter of HR leaders unsure where employees are working from

A global survey of HR professionals has found that teams need to be more aware of where in the world their staff are working.

In the UK, only 70% of HR respondents said they are ‘very confident’ they know where their people are, according to global mobility platform Topia’s Adapt Survey.

Though the majority (84%) said they are confident employees are self-reporting time working in another state or country, Topia chief strategy officer Steve Black said that the figures were worrying.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “Firstly, it should be close to 100%. Not knowing where your employees are working creates some obvious risks around tax and immigration, but it can also create potential concerns about data being transferred out of the EU when it shouldn't be, health and safety risks and more. 

“The 70% figure has proven to be wildly optimistic with only a third of employees actually reporting the days worked outside of their home tax jurisdiction.”

Almost two thirds (64%) of UK employees responding to the survey admitted they have not reported all of the days they have worked outside of the state or country to HR.

All companies must report changes in status to remain compliant with local tax and employment law.

Black said that the findings highlighted that HR teams should be able to track an employee’s working location.

“If employees are overstaying the 90 days rule in Europe or working where they shouldn't, it could invoke significant fines and penalties for employers," he said.

“Even going so far as creating corporate tax liabilities in a country where the employer isn't currently operating."

The report suggested that employee location tracking would automate complex reporting processes and ease the burden on both HR and employees to ensure they are reporting correctly.

Findings have also suggested that staff would be open to such a solution if HR were to apply it.

Surprisingly, the majority of survey respondents said they would be happy for their location to be tracked - 95% from country to country, 93% by city and 83% from street to street.

Black added: “The behaviour admitted in the study has suggested that employee tracking could offer a viable solution that could avoid compliance breaches.”


Further reading:

Employers under huge pressure to track COVID-19 in the workplace

Employee data can create more questions than answers

Gender diversity and global mobility