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Questions about Human Resources and relocating overseas for work.

wj4

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Hey all,

I've always wonder this: how does it work when you are employed by, let's say a firm in the U.S. but relocated to a lesser developed country for employment in regards to Human Resources stuff, ie workers comp, sexual harassment law, labor code, etc.

This caught my interest because a lot of the lesser developed countries still have no regulations for employees getting hurt on the job, working long hours, etc. Someone that's from a more developed country would surely not put up with this stuff. I know a lot of folks on here have relocated internationally for their careers so I hope they can chime in.

Thanks in advance.
 

Trompe le Monde

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any company established enough to have a internationally mobile workforce will have comprehensive hr policies and a base level of support. if they go through the troubles of sponsoring you, needless to say you will be treated at least "decently"
 

VinnyMac

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any company established enough to have a internationally mobile workforce will have comprehensive hr policies and a base level of support. if they go through the troubles of sponsoring you, needless to say you will be treated at least "decently"
....agreed. Take the time to look over those things, and directly address any concerns that you have BEFORE accepting the overseas position. Get the conclusions added to your employment agreement.
 
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Medwed

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You are covered by the same policies and benefits that you were covered in US. If anything your bonus and benefits might go up along with your salary just because they are sending you to some dunghole.
 

clee1982

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It use to be good deal for the workers to move form US (developed) to China(developing), on top of regular pay and housing covered you used to get "hardship" allowance (yea, hardship in Shanghai, right...) I doubt they do it anymore. The top Chinese local firm is happy to pay US level (or even higher) to get what they want.

I have only moved from US to UK, so didn't have to care much in terms of labor law what not, I did signed a waver about working more than 40 hours a week, haha...
 
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Medwed

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The best deals now are to move to EU ,(Switzerland, Scandinavia)or Western Russia (Moscow), salaries and benefits are ridiculous and life to work balance , well lets just say life does exist there outside of work .
I had it pretty good in US or so I thought, 4 week vacation, 3 days/week working from home, no boss to speak of only formal reporting to VP that usually turned into general topics conversation. Once I moved to EU I've realised how good life could actually be.
 
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Trompe le Monde

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the french get ridiculous - i mean insane holiday allowances. but they do work long hours. at least in my experience. the scandinavians though , they hit the door soon's the clock hit 4pm
 

clee1982

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Europe certainly has better life/work balance, though sometimes too good I suppose...
 

Joffrey

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I'd love to work abroad in either Europe or Africa. Wouldn't know where to start looking for a gig in my field. Well I kind of do but it's a real pain making the switch in public service.
 

Gibonius

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the french get ridiculous - i mean insane holiday allowances. but they do work long hours. at least in my experience. the scandinavians though , they hit the door soon's the clock hit 4pm

I thought there was a 35 hour work week in France.


The best deals now are to move to EU ,(Switzerland, Scandinavia)or Western Russia (Moscow), salaries and benefits are ridiculous and life to work balance , well lets just say life does exist there outside of work .
I had it pretty good in US or so I thought, 4 week vacation, 3 days/week working from home, no boss to speak of only formal reporting to VP that usually turned into general topics conversation. Once I moved to EU I've realised how good life could actually be.
US government isn't so bad, if you're ok with being capped at a somewhat lower salary than industry. Can easily do 100k, 5 weeks vacation, gov't holidays, decent working climate depending what agency you're in, good health care.

Of course god only knows how long any of that will last before the austerity types get to it.
 

AlexE

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Most international companies will send employees on "delegation" for temporary assignments abroad, meaning the employee maintains their home contract (which becomes important for employees from countries with functioning pension, medical and social insurance systems where accumulation of benefits is often tied on being employed in that country). The salary package is adjusted if necessary such that the employee can afford at least an equal standard of living in the host country. Finally, company-internal compliance regulations (i.e. sexual harassment) and EHS policies are usually applicable worldwide. Nevertheless, there are plenty of countries with much higher environmental, safety and employee rights standards than the United States...
 

AlexE

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the french get ridiculous - i mean insane holiday allowances. but they do work long hours. at least in my experience. the scandinavians though , they hit the door soon's the clock hit 4pm

Contrary to popular believe the French are not the vacation champs in Europe, these are actually the Germans. By law you get 4 weeks paid vacation per year, but in reality the standard in almost all companies is 6 weeks paid vacation plus all national and state holidays (depending on the state this means 10-15days p.a., but there are no make-up days if the holiday happens to be on a weekend). :slayer:
 

OliverGauffe

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Europe certainly has better life/work balance, though sometimes too good I suppose...
What does "too good" mean? Who are you to measure how good is too good, for yourself or anyone? We don't let ourselves FEEL good, it's a sin. Life is for living, is it not? I find that Americans who have never lived abroad are comptemptuous about the European lifestyle because deep down they can't admit that they are getting the short end of the stick! Sorry :/
 

ballmouse

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While I'd love to consider moving to Europe, I imagine you would have to be almost fluent in the native language unless you were a very senior member of the firm. Am I wrong?
 

AlexE

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While I'd love to consider moving to Europe, I imagine you would have to be almost fluent in the native language unless you were a very senior member of the firm. Am I wrong?

This is a tricky one and the answer will very much depend on the country (and even the city), the company, the department...

A few tears ago, I moved with my wife (non-German) from the US to the Fatherland. And as it turned out she had little issues finding a job in supply chain engineering at a major German industrial corporation (also had competing offers and none of the companies cared about lack of German skills). In my department (corporate finance at a major German corporation) a large share of my colleagues do not speak German at all. So based on my observation, you can get ahead at work without the native language most likely if
1) You work in a pure white collar department (R&D, engineering, finance etc.) rather than in a department, which requires frequent interaction with less educated colleagues (manufacturing etc.)
2) You do not need to communicate regularly with local customers
3) You work for a large company with global activities or a medium-sized/small company with very international business
Getting along in everyday life with English only will usually be easier in metropolitan areas, especially if they are home to many international companies, international institutions and / or attract substantial numbers of foreign tourists (which luckily applies to our hometown).

How does it look in other European countries? This is now, of course, highly subjective based on my own work experience in other places and also what I learned from colleagues. I would say that for English-only-speakers it is easiest to work in:
1) UK and Ireland (ok, that was a no brainer)
2) Netherlands, Luxembourg and the Scandinavian countries
3) The German-speaking countries
4) Eastern European
5) Belgium and France
6) The Southern European countries
 

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