Global mobility policy

Policy outlining the considerations for staff working overseas.

1. Scope and Purpose

1.1 Loughborough University (LU) strategy includes a focus on international partnership research and innovation. International activity is an intrinsic part of its operation and ambition. While LU employment contracts are built around the work location being in the UK, it is recognised that there will be times where work outside the UK is required to support the goals of schools and professional services.  This guidance has been written to support staff working internationally and ensure that the risks that cross-border working poses can be mitigated. The policy also supports schools in making informed decisions when sending employees overseas or choosing to support employees working internationally. Cross-border working must be planned and carried out in a compliant and cost-effective manner.

1.2 This policy does not apply to individuals coming to work in the UK from abroad.

2. Where international work may be considered

2.1 Overseas initiatives can lead to increased risks to both the member of staff and to LU if not planned properly. For example, disputes with collaborative partners, regulatory action from domestic and overseas authorities and reputational damage to LU. Overseas work is also likely to incur additional and often ongoing costs to LU and it is important that the risks and potential costs are understood before any overseas work is agreed. 

2.2 LU will seek to support and facilitate overseas work where it is judged that an overseas base will have material benefit to the overall objectives of LU. Such work will require the approval of the Dean or Director who will need to balance the benefits with the compliance risks and additional financial costs. These may be short term or longer-term assignments and most typically this will occur where international collaboration is needed in an overseas nation. This could involve LU working with overseas organisations on joint ventures, staff working in foreign universities, either off or on campus, or carrying out research. Other examples could be where an employee needs to be based overseas for a short period but is essential to the completion of critical LU work.

2.3 Aside from the examples above, given the costs, risks and liabilities involved with international work, the normal expectation is for LU staff to be based within the UK. LU may consider exceptions but usually this will be on a short-term basis (under 60 days in a rolling 12 month period whether this is continuous or discontinuous) where, for example, staff have requested to work remotely overseas to care for relatives etc, or where urgent teaching work needs to be completed remotely on a short term basis. Cases should be considered by the Dean on their merit, but advice must be sought from the the school’s HR Partner before anything is agreed. This will help to ensure all risks and costs are known upfront. The normal expectation is that this will only be a temporary relaxation and that staff must plan to return to the UK before exceeding the 60 day timeframe. 

2.4 Staff wishing to reside in another country on a part time but ongoing basis are subject to different restrictions and advice from HR must be sought in this situation before any action is taken.

3. Planning and notification

3.1 In all instances where overseas residency of over 60 days in a rolling 12 month period is proposed an individual should discuss with their Dean as soon as possible. The Dean or Director should discuss this with their HR Partner before making a decision. This should take place at least 90 days prior to any proposed departure.     

3.2 The HR team will work with Professional Services colleagues and if appropriate, external advisers to identify issues, risks and estimate any additional costs that may be incurred by a proposed overseas assignment. This information will be relayed to the Dean/Director. Schools should be aware that even if they choose not to provide the individual with any financial support to undertake the arrangement, the University could still incur additional costs through overseas employer’s social security, or in administering overseas compliance actions. There may also be costs associated with each of the subsequent steps in this process. Therefore, the risk assessment of the request is necessary before any requests are approved.

4. Approval

4.1 This document should be read in conjunction with the Global Mobility guidance document and the checklist. These contain further information on all of the issues to be addressed before an employee can work overseas which include

  • Travel, insurance and expenses
  • Immigration
  • Health and Safety
  • Payroll
  • Export control
  • Pensions
  • Employment law
  • Academic freedom

4.2 Once the Dean/Director is aware of the risks and costs involved and has made a decision based on the information available that the trip is in the best interests of the University and affordable, the individual and their line manager can be notified of the decision. However, where additional cost or administrative burden is required, e.g. seeking specialist advice or setting up a new payroll, approval must be obtained from Operations Committee, in advance of the travel taking place.

5. Further advice

5.1 For further advice, please contact your HR Partner.  

5.2 From time to time, it might be appropriate to engage with third party organisations specialising in international mobility due to the complex nature of this area. Where this is required, it will be funded by the school but facilitated through the relevant professional service.

6. Review of Policy

6.1 This policy is not contractual and may be varied from time to time