The rapidly escalating challenges from the COVID-19 global outbreak presents critical workforce issues for organisations to assess and address as fast as possible.
As the disruption continues, it is vital that we unravel the ‘chaos’ and rebuild a strong, future-proof workforce. To help you and your company navigate these times we have put together themes that have surfaced from the crisis. As we bring practical mobility and strategic workforce management together, we look at aspects from employee wellbeing to the “new” business as usual. For detailed Swiss and other compliance developments please reference our key observations.
Check back each Thursday for new updates to our blog with our latest insights.
Global tax up-dates due to COVID-19, read more here.
Global labor/employment law up-dates due to COVID-19, read more here.
Global immigration up-dates due to COVID-19, read more here.
Global mobility specific up-dates due to COVID-19, read more here.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS (new questions are marked with *)
For US immigration changes regarding the Executive Order signed 22 June 2020 please read here.
*Q. What are the most recent changes to the home office situation now that companies are going back to work in person?
A. At the beginning of July, Switzerland came to an agreement with Germany to continue with the flexible approach until 31 December 2020. With France, Switzerland agreed to keep the flexible approach until 31 August 2020 after which pre-COVID19 rules will apply to calculating workdays for income tax and social security. Switzerland is in close contact with other neighboring countries to come to a similar agreement.
The EU Member States approved the EU recommendation to fully reopen the external Schengen borders as from July 1st for residents of 14 third countries: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. China will be added to the list as soon as the Chinese government allows all EU nationals to travel to China based on reciprocity. For now US, Russian, Brazilian and Indian residents are in principle not allowed to travel to the Schengen area. Residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican are considered EU nationals for the purpose of this recommendation. The Schengen Associated countries (Iceland, Switzerland, Norway and Liechtenstein) take part in this recommendation. The list of countries will be reviewed and updated every 14 days starting 14 July.
For more information on the most recent Swiss taxation, social security, and immigration guidance please read our key observations.
WORKFORCE STRATEGY AND OPTIMIZATION
Q. Our organization is exploring setting up assignments for employees based on business need where the employee is unable to relocate right away. Do you have recommendations for how we can structure employment to be compliant and agile?
A. Our EY and The RES Forum research from June 2020 Now, Next and Beyond: Global Mobility’s Response to COVID-19 found that 82% of respondents expect a moderate to significant increase in the use of virtual work and assignments. We recently published the output from our flexible working webcast where we discussed the current thought leadership on planning, profiling, and protecting your workforce for the compliance aspects (tax, payroll, immigration, and social security) as well as how to optimize your leadership profile and employee skillsets to enable your employees’ success. Stay tuned to this blog as we release further findings and recommendations on delayed-move and virtual assignments.
Q. How has your company addressed the regulatory and legal challenges imposed by COVID-19? As businesses return to moving employees abroad and beginning business travel, how do you track the government responses and changes?
A. We hear this question often on how businesses should return to mobility. Our recommendation, before all else, is to ensure that your organization has proper governance, structure, and communication around your mobility program, function, and team. The practical, on the ground, challenge that materializes next is who can you move to where and what are the new restrictions for their assignment. We are seeing clients manage this using a hybrid model of internal communication channels and vendor reliance to determine which countries will be accepting work permit applications and when actual moves can take place. As the waters are still unclear, mobility must continue to lead through its demanding and advisory focused role to assuage concerns by the business, employees, and executive team. For more practical guidance on how to structure your “new normal” mobility function, you can read further here.
Please note that the above information reflects the situation at the time of this publication. We are constantly monitoring the situation and are in close contact with the Swiss authorities to be able to provide further guidance as changes are announced.