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 NEWS

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 *)

MANAGING COMPLIANCE

*Q. Now that Switzerland has concluded the taxation agreement with France on 13 May 2020, how will this affect cross-border commuters?

A. In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, Switzerland and France concluded on May 13, 2020 a provisional amicable agreement, which settles the question of the taxation of their respective cross-border commuters working from home. For these cross-border commuters, the tax agreements concluded between the two countries continue to apply as before, provided the exceptional health measures are in force. This ensures legal certainty. The provisions of this agreement take effect from 14 March 2020 and apply until 31 May 2020 inclusive. The agreement is tacitly renewable from that date, at the end of each month. It will cease to have effect when the two States have put an end to their health regulations restricting or advising against the movement of natural persons. The French and Swiss authorities may, however, put an end to it before then by joint agreement. We will inform you on next steps from the authorities for employees who are working from home office due to personal health concerns, business decisions, or for other non-immigration restricted reasons.

For more information on the most recent Swiss taxation and immigration guidance please read our key observations.

WORKFORCE STRATEGY AND OPTIMIZATION

*Q. Our company has moved from crisis management mode into planning for “next steps”. What are some of the things we should be considering to create a formal structure and communication plan for our workforce as we move forwards cautiously?

A. This question brings us back to how companies should position themselves for the “now, next, and beyond”. As your business implements a return-to-work and reopening of your offices, have you considered how to support your employees, both in the office and at home? If you are interested in learning more we recommend our upcoming webcast on planning, profiling, and protecting your workforce.

When we look to what comes next and beyond we are continually discussing how flexible working can be championed and how to position your workforce for success as COVID-19 has accelerated the transition to flexible working. We recommend joining our webcast on flexible working where we will look at both compliance and HR topics that you should consider as your organization moves forward with flexible working.

BUSINESS CONTINUITY

*Q. One of the topics in our meetings is how are we addressing business travel and new assignments moving forwards? What should we do differently so that we are prepared and can avoid the challenges of the past few months?

A. We hear this question often on how businesses should return to mobility, if at all. Our recommendation, before all else, is to ensure that your organization has proper governance, structure, and communication around your mobility program, function, and team. To specifically avoid the challenges faced where companies had no clearly defined roles in a crisis, there were lengthy decision or exemption processes, and they faced difficulty addressing the fast-moving changes, we highly recommend reviewing mobility’s existing role within HR and the broader business. The issue of knowing who does what, when, and how can be pre-planned and clearly communicated to both the business and employees from the outset of a crisis to instill confidence, trust, and reduce additional stress in an already stressful situation. If you are interested in learning more about assessing your operating model and improving its fit, 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.