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International Payroll Issues
By LARREN SMITH 211 views

International Payroll Issues – How to Deal With Employees in Other Countries

More companies are learning to deal with the intricacies of managing international teams as modern businesses continue to expand worldwide. Regardless of where your business operates, your team can streamline international payroll by creating an effective global compensation strategy. This article will look at the complexities of handling global payroll and solutions.

Different laws and regulations

A business might have a handle on employee categories, retirement accounts, and tax deductions in the US, but dealing with payroll regulations all over the world is a different story. Understanding the laws and regulations in the foreign countries where you do business is crucial in the process of learning how to pay international employees.

What’s more, different countries have varying reporting and tax deadlines. In the US, the corporate tax deadline is the first half of the fourth month of the fiscal year. In Australia, it is the first half of the seventh month of the next fiscal year. In Spain, it extends to 25 days in the seventh month of the following fiscal year.

Most businesses that operate abroad implement gross pay for 80% of their employees. However, that typically covers a fifth of their locations.

A global payroll services provider will take care of the regulatory and bureaucratic intricacies of international payroll processing. They will keep track of your requirements and deadlines and inform you if important changes occur.

Multi-country payroll statistics

The following data is from a payroll benchmark survey completed by Deloitte in 2023. Deloitte presented it at the annual congress of the American Payroll Association. Interestingly, almost 90% of companies now have a multi-country payroll strategy. In 2018, only half did.

About 12% of the companies surveyed shared they did not have a global payroll plan.

The highest number of companies who outsource payroll are based in Europe and the Middle East –  81%. They are followed by 78% in Asia Pacific and 69% in South America. The lowest number is in North America, but still relatively high at 63%.

On a global scale, just under three-quarters of all companies outsource some aspect of payroll.

Just over half of payroll departments report to human resources. The rest report to finance. According to a third of the companies surveyed, payroll processing takes a minimum of four days.

Companies spend about 30% of their time entering payroll inputs manually. Adjustments take the most time, according to a fifth of respondents.

The advent of remote work

Around a quarter of full-time US employees work remotely full-time as well. These employees can take advantage of flexible schedules regardless of where they live. At least 5.4 million Americans live abroad in 2023, according to the Association of Americans Resident Overseas. The American Citizens Abroad corroborates this figure, estimating that there are 5.1 million US citizens abroad. The majority are civilians – 3.9 million. There are 1.2 million members of the military and other government employees.

Businesses that provide fully remote work opportunities can hire from a diverse group of talented candidates, including US citizens who are also nationals of foreign countries. Remote work provides businesses with flexible options and opens up the talent pool. With this in mind, it’s worth overcoming the challenges of international payroll, which are presented below.

Common challenges of international payroll

Companies must differentiate between employees and contractors when it comes to managing international workers. If you categorize workers accurately, you ensure statutory compliance and protect your company’s intellectual property. Categorizing employees inaccurately can lead to fines, penalties, and loss of reputation. In the worst case, it can stop you from doing business in a certain country.

Currency used

When a business expands abroad, the owner must be able to determine the method and timing of paying employees in different countries. Different currencies are used in different locations, and the employment laws are different as well. You must always be aware of the exchange rate and make payments on time. Foreign exchange fees can be a problem.

Data protection

US companies are aware of US data protection laws, but international payroll requires you to comply with data laws in different regions, like the PDPA in Singapore or the GDPR in the European Union. Companies doing business internationally need the infrastructure to ensure payroll data protection.

Employee benefits

Companies with a global workforce must monitor the benefits they are required to give workers in foreign countries. Non-compliance with benefit requirements can invoke legal action.


In conclusion, navigating the complexities of international payroll management demands a thorough understanding of diverse laws, regulations, and compliance requirements across different regions. As businesses increasingly embrace remote work and expand globally, the need for effective global compensation strategies becomes paramount. Outsourcing payroll services and implementing robust data protection measures are crucial steps in overcoming common challenges, ensuring statutory compliance, and harnessing the benefits of a diverse talent pool.

larren SMith

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