Business / Critically Evaluate The Extent Of The Ethical Responsibility Of The Employer Organisation When Staff Are Transferred On International Assignment, And Recommend A Policy That Should Be Adopted By Firms To Deal With The Impact On Staff Who Are Transferred I

Critically Evaluate The Extent Of The Ethical Responsibility Of The Employer Organisation When Staff Are Transferred On International Assignment, And Recommend A Policy That Should Be Adopted By Firms To Deal With The Impact On Staff Who Are Transferred I

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Autor:  anton  13 January 2011
Tags:  Critically,  Evaluate,  Extent,  Ethical,  Responsibility,  Employer
Words: 1618   |   Pages: 7
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Issues faced on international assignments and the responsibility of companies towards employees

The priority of a departing employee is upholding the laws and regulations of the home country and the country the employee intends on being employed in. Majority of the tasks undertaken are the responsibility of the Human Resources department. Appendix 1 contains a list of what HR professionals can do to encourage a successful secondment programme as set out in the journal Personnel Today (2005:2)

Law and work related issues

Issue: Contract

Ethical Responsibility of company: The employer company should correspond with the international branch to set up a contract regarding the transfer or relocation. Different countries have different regulations regarding what is compulsory for a contract (Appendix 2 provides stipulated clauses for a few countries). A comprehensive contract should be negotiated ensuring all matters are taken into account to prevent and possible future problems. The contract should include job titles and appointments, commencements and term, accommodation and termination. Explanatory notes on the Appointment of Employee to Overseas Post are seen in Appendix 3. Secondments have less legal implications as the secondee will remain employed by the original employer during the secondment. (Net Lawman Ltd, 2007: 3)

Issue: Foreign worker permits


Intra-Company Transfer Permits

Ethical Responsibility of company: The human resources (HR) department should apply to The Department of Trade, Enterprise and Employment for foreign worker permits or consulate offices of the relevant country for visas. Alternatively the HR department could provide the documentation to the employee allowing for simpler application for the employee. Companies should be knowledgeable of the laws and regulations of the countries in which their branches are to ensure the correct documentation is filled out and correct permits are applied for. Countries such as Ireland have Intra-Company Transfer Permits in place of visas and foreign worker permits that are issued to employees earning a minimum of €40,000 per annum to be transferred by multi-national companies to an Irish branch. This permit is more affordable and less problematic to obtain. (Recruit Ireland, 2007:4) This should be done well in advance of the employees intended departure date. It is critical to obtain a permit to avoid legal consequence. The HR department should have a standing working process of communication with the department to ensure timely and efficient processing of documents.

Issue: Getting the most of a countries policies

Ethical Responsibility of company: Different countries have different policies and benefits offered to its employees. This may include policies such as the Social Insurance Number (SIN) that is required to work in Canada or to receive government benefits. (Ontario, 2007: 5) Companies should insure relevant information is sent to the respective departments ensuring the employee has the full range of benefits available to him/her.

Issue: The moving process

Ethical Responsibility of company: It is ethically correct for the employer company to pay for all transportation costs. This includes airport duties, aeroplane tickets and a partial/whole payment for relocation (if the employee is transferring permanently, or for an extended period of time)

Issue: Wages

Ethical Responsibility of company: The seconder will continue to pay the wages and all connected costs (e.g income tax and insurance contributions) the seconder and then the host will usually reimburse these costs. (Net Lawman Ltd, 2007: 3) In the case of permanent relocation, banking details must be given to host employers to facilitate payments. Banks such as Barclays and Mastercard are available worldwide and are preferable to have. Employees may choose to open accounts in their new country, this can be facilitated through the HR department who would provide the details of local banking services.

Issue: Unfamiliarity with company’s methods

Ethical Responsibility of company: Multinational countries generally have standardised software, methods of operation, assignments. To ensure the employee is fully equipped to take on their new position, diversity toolkits can be offered by the company. This would encompass training programmes, guides and e-learning packages, and supports a wide range of diversity programmes. (Unilever,2007: 6)

Issue: Language barriers technical misunderstanding

Ethical Responsibility of company: Steps should be in place on all levels to increase understanding for all employees but more so those speaking a foreign language. Companies can direct employees to institutions offering language classes at the expense of the enterprise. Some companies have Employee Assistance Programs in place. These programmes help employees in all aspects of the business environment. Such programmes create an affirmative company atmosphere as they create an environment where questions and asking for assistance is promoted improving overall business application. Other methods can also be adopted, companies such as Toyota have introduced “visual manuals that systematize and standardize the expertise of experienced workers in ways that anyone can understand” (Toyota, 2006:7)

Basic service issues

Issue: Housing

Ethical Responsibility of company: If housing residences are in place, they should be made available to international employees (usually found in services industries such as mining.) Employees could also be given the option of receiving a housing allowance or a percentage down payment on the purchase of a housing. Alternatively the company may choose to use the services of a relocation company. Oakwood is the world's largest rental housing solution, “offering a range of housing options and amenities; we have an apartment to suit each transferee's needs, and each company's budget” (Oakwood, 2007: 8) Such companies are ideal secondments

Issue: Transportation

Ethical Responsibility of company: If employee is staying in company residences off site, a shuttle service or other transportation process already in place should be made available to them. If employee has opted for private accommodation, a travel allowance may be issues.

Issue: Health care

Ethical Responsibility of company: Employees who are not covered by formal medical scheme should have the option to join the medical scheme offered by a third party administrator. e.g. Global health medical scheme is offered to members joining the Ethekwini municipality (DR. Asmal, 2007: 9). Alternatively, if health care clinics are available on-site instead, employees should be allowed to utilize these services. Companies such as MultiCare have “benefits that include medical, dental and life insurance coverage; paid time off; retirement plans, wellness benefits; career development programs and an on-site daycare center.” (Multicare, 2007:10)

Issue: Utilities

Ethical Responsibility of company: If the employee is staying at a residence, utilities are already taken care off. If employee opts for private accommodation, utilities costs would be taken into account in the housing allowances and it would be the duty of the employee through their landlord to connect to which ever utilities their require.

Personal Issues

Issue: Driver's Licences

Ethical Responsibility of company: Depending on the county to which the employee is transferring to, employees may have to apply for an international licence. Employee companies should assist by providing the relevant information as to how and where to apply.

Issue: Cross-cultural adjustment

Ethical Responsibility of company: The term assigned to this issue is culture shock. This “describes the anxiety produced when a person moves to a completely new environment.” Dr. (Carmen Guanipa, 2004:11) In order to adjust well; employees need to be open to learning and behavioural growth. Companies need to develop the employees’ skills in interpersonal intercultural communication through providing services before departure on the environment and culture in which the employee will be joining. This may come in the form of broachers, referring employees to particular internet websites, forums and providing the details of other employees who have transferred to the location and are still there or that have returned. This allows the transferring employee to converse with others in their situation, being guided by them, and allowing smooth transitions into the new culture. “A recent study of expatriate workers who prematurely quit their overseas assignments found that 73% of their reasons were due to cross-cultural issue” (reference :**12). These issues are preventable if there are the correct support systems in place. Support groups for international employees should be in place at all company branches. These support groups should offer broachers of activities in the area, lists of references from plumbers to doctors to tour guide to schools in the area. This will provide an all-in-one centre for employees and stand as a productive forum where their problems can be dealt with.

Issue: Settling in to the new environment

Ethical Responsibility of company: For optimal “settling” employees would be assisted if they were given a tour of the area and given a list of the relevant detail as to access to amenities. This can be done through a designated member of the company but it is often a good idea to go through exchange groups/societies such as FOCUS. Focus “offers personal advice and professional expertise to help international professionals” In this way the employer is guaranteed at total solution to the �social’ problems facing the employee. FOCUS help the employee with amongst the basic relocation problems, they offer help with Utilities/Tax, Domestic Services, Travel/ Leisure, Social Life / Networking, Home Country Resources, Shopping / Services. (Focus, 2007:13)Focus offer ongoing orientation for newly moved employees, this is critical to ensuring employees are happy and well settled.


There are many consulting services that offer a full solution to the range of transfer issues. Creating such an alliance allows the business to focus on what they set out to and leave what can prove to be complicated and time consuming to the experts

“Paragon provides Global Mobility Consulting Services that assist with program development to achieve cost savings, increased management capability and higher employee satisfaction” (Paragon, 2007:14) Paragon offer a range of services including Global move cost estimate and/or analysis, Language and cross-cultural training, Visa and immigration coordination, Worldwide destination services, homefinding and settling-in programs, Shipment and storage of household goods, International banking services,

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