Learn about working conditions for expatriate workers

Picture of Coline Michaux

Globalization and high competitiveness in the professional sphere are factors that exert a strong influence on labour relations, to the point of transforming them. One example of this is the growing trend towards expatriation contracts, which are very attractive, but what are the conditions governing them? And what are the implications for the employee? These are some of the doubts that we will clarify below.

The figure of the expatriate worker is relatively new. The boom that this contractual form has acquired nowadays is due, in principle, to the need for development of a company that requires specialized services, which it is unable to satisfy with local human resources.

So, what are expatriate employment contracts? They arise when an employee provides his or her services, on a temporary or permanent basis, in a company whose headquarters are located outside his or her country of origin. Such a situation may arise as a result of an employer’s mandate, an employee’s initiative or an agreement between the two.

Labour regulations and conditions for expatriate labour contracts

When a Spanish citizen is faced with the possibility of moving to another country as an expatriate, he/she should bear in mind several fundamental issues. To begin with, it is worth mentioning that the parties to the employment contract have the prerogative to choose the law that will govern them, provided that the provisions of the contract do not affect the inalienable rights of the workers.  

Consequently, there are certain conditions of employment of expatriates that no agreement can contravene. One of these is to be found in the Workers’ Statute, which establishes that, for those who provide their services in foreign headquarters of national companies, Spanish labour legislation will apply and the economic rights recognized in Spain will be assured.

expat contract

On the other hand, it is necessary to clarify, from the outset, which of the labour subjects has taken the initiative. In this regard, if the initiative comes from the employer, the conditions set out in Article 40 of the Workers’ Statute must be applied.

As far as social security is concerned, the applicable rules will depend on the existing agreements between Spain and the country of destination. However, when the work is carried out within the European Union, the general rule is that contributions will be made in the country where the service is provided. However, there are two exceptions:

  • Contribution in Spain. This case will be applied in those cases in which the expatriation contract does not exceed two years.
  • Contribution in the State of residence. This rule applies when the work is carried out in more than one country.

In addition, it is important to mention that the conditions for Spanish expatriates are also provided for in the regulations that the European Union has developed on the subject. These regulate aspects such as: holidays, health and hygiene, salary, equal treatment, among others, and will be the minimum reference when the displacement takes place to a member country.

Are there advantages to becoming an expatriate worker in Spain?

Accepting the offer to work as an expatriate requires careful consideration of the circumstances surrounding this type of contract. On the one hand, it is necessary to weigh up the personal elements, which will be specific to the person to whom the offer is made. On the other hand, it is necessary to take into account the legal and professional benefits to be gained:

    • Better pay. Although it is not an absolute rule, in the vast majority of cases the economic conditions of expatriates are better than in their home country. This is because salaries tend to be higher, as a form of compensation for the changes involved in moving to another nation.
    • Tax benefits. A good negotiation of the expatriate’s conditions allows the worker to pay taxes in the country that suits him/her best. To this end, double taxation should be avoided and, in the event of wishing to maintain the Spanish tax domicile, the necessary arrangements should be made to ensure that this request is admissible.
    • Greater professional experience. Cultural exchange and work in other areas are an opportunity to improve one’s professional profile. This, in turn, translates into an increase in competitiveness, providing the possibility of continuing to grow within the company.
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The conditions for expatriates can be very favorable when your employee is represented by professionals. Companies such as Eres Relocation are of great help when it comes to carrying out, with the best guarantees. Do you have any doubts about this type of employment? You can contact us and we will help you as much as possible.

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