Financial & Legal News

Employment Tribunal and Working from Home Overseas

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Employee rights took a setback recently when the Employment Tribunal ruled that working from home (WFH) does not apply outside of the UK on a full time basis.

Can I work from home overseas?

During the holiday season, it’s important for employers to take note of these recent rulings in employment law.  Although this case is based on someone working full time who is located abroad, there may be occasions when employees tag on to a holiday a couple of extra days working remotely but are in fact, overseas.

“As I always say employment law is constantly changing and employers need to keep their workplace policies up to date as more employees are requesting to work from home and flexible working.  In cases like this, it would depend on the employer’s workplace policies, because what might be acceptable and workable for one employer may not be for another,” said Pearson Partner and Employment Law Solicitor Susan Mayall.

All business owners are obliged to reasonably consider an employee’s request for permission to work from home.  The whole hybrid and WFH ethos has seen a seismic shift in workplace culture.

Employment Tribunal ruling on working from home overseas

However, an Employment Tribunal (ET) recently ruled that this does not apply where the ‘home’ concerned is outside the UK.  In this case, it was when a Government employee wanted to work from ‘home’ in Luxembourg full time.

The employee requested to work from his new home when his wife was moved with her job and when he was turned down, he launched Employment Tribunal proceedings, stating that his employers failed reasonably to consider his application.

“Employers should consider all applications to work from home, or work more flexibly, and legally they have to, but it’s always advisable to be on good terms with your staff and keep channels of communication open,” advised Susan Mayall.

Section 80F Employment Rights Act

“Section 80F of the Employment Rights Act 1996 confers on employees a right to request variations of their contracts such as hybrid or flexible working, However, business owners can refuse if there are operational and organisational difficulties.  In addition, if there is a cost to them and a detrimental effect on the ability to meet customer demand,” she added.

It was stated in court that prior to the pandemic working from home overseas was not usually a consideration and that working from home meant exactly that, working from an employee’s usual place of residence in the UK.

It was also noted that full time work outside the UK may mean legal advice on the employment laws applying in the country concerned. There may also be data protection considerations, security issues and other risks.

The Employment Tribunal found that work from ‘home’ meant the UK and thus did not fall within the scope of Section 80F.

How can we help?

Our experience employment law solicitors support businesses and employers with specialist legal advice on employment matters including workplace policies and employment contracts. For more information contact our employment solicitors on 0161 785 3500 or email

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

Written by Susan Mayall


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