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Durham University

Human Resources & Organisational Development

Staff Based Outside the U.K. (Appointments and Secondments)

There has been an increase to the number of staff being seconded to work abroad or appointed directly from abroad to be based outside the U.K. and this has resulted in the payroll team dealing with various issues which require addressing.

The following have been raised as they are of particular importance:-

Income Tax

Where a current U.K based employee is seconded abroad salaries have to request that the local HMRC office authorise an NT (no tax) code. This enables the refund of any income tax as appropriate in the current tax year and that no further deductions are be made until their return.

For new appointments we have to provide the local HMRC office with documents completed by the employee which enables the HRMC to determine their tax statues in the U.K.

National Insurance

Where a current U.K. based employee is seconded abroad salaries have to request that the DWP and authorise that no deductions of NI can be made until the employee returns to the U.K. In addition if the country is in the EU then additional documents are required to confirm to the host country that the employee is contributing to the U.K scheme.

For new appointments for non U.K. nationals salaries have to deal with the relevant authorities in each the country to determine what the implications of the appointment are in relation to the double taxation convention. In Spain (and perhaps other EU nations) the University is required to register with the relevant authorities to enable the accountancy company to remit the statutory contributions to the Spanish Social Security Scheme. 

Pension Scheme

The position has recently changed due to USS legislation.

Where a current U.K. based employee who is a member of U.S.S. is seconded abroad they remain eligible to retain membership of the pension Scheme.

For new appointments to EU countries the employee has no entitlement to USS membership.

Travel Insurance

Where a current U.K. based employee is seconded abroad the University Travel Insurance will provide cover for the first 18 months of the secondment. Thereafter the employee is responsible for arranging their own cover. The University Insurance does not provide cover for new staff members.

Net Pay arrangements

Staff encounter difficulties in opening a U.K bank account when they will not be residing in the U.K

This results in additional administration and bank costs each month in remitting the net salary to a foreign bank account.

Arrangements for future secondments or appointments

Recommend that consideration be given to the following:-

  1. Where staff are appointed from abroad the contract should identify this to enable salaries to deal with the relevant issues.
  2. Determine whether there is any benefit of initially appointing staff to the U.K. and then seconding them abroad.
  3. The need to include in budgets the cost of providing suitable Insurance for secondments above 18 months and for the whole contract for new appointments. This may already be included in some research grant applications.
  4. The need to appoint an Agency to act on behalf of the University in counties where their social security legislation requires it.