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Remote Work Outside Country (temporary)


todoman

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todoman
  • Lawyer

Trying to get the general sentiment about working remotely for a few weeks/months outside of the country. Do your firms allow it? Have any relevant policies? Obviously best practice to get firm approval (especially due to being out of the country) but curious as to whether people have thoughts/understandings about how this might work since employees are being called back to the office. Thinking about trying to escape the winter for a few weeks this year and work remotely down south. We are not currently expected to be in office every day but obviously they would like us to be in office more often than not. 

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AHLALA
  • Lawyer

I've seen people do it at the height of COVID (when nobody was in the office). My feeling is that it's a bit of a stretch and firms probably don't want to create precedents like this. If there is a partner or two to whom you are close, you should ask them to see how they feel about it. 

I've seen clients (or targets) offer a few "work from anywhere" weeks in addition to vacation, which would be great for you. 

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We don't generally allow it, and I think that's fairly common. There are issues with tax, data security, etc. No one has built the infrastructure yet where you can be secure that there's no issue for any particular individuals.

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Turtles
  • Law Student

Two of my prior employers (non law firms) had 2-week and 6-week can work from abroad policies, respectively. But no doubt law firms will be much more conservative.

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Bob Jones
  • Lawyer
9 hours ago, todoman said:

Trying to get the general sentiment about working remotely for a few weeks/months outside of the country. Do your firms allow it? Have any relevant policies? Obviously best practice to get firm approval (especially due to being out of the country) but curious as to whether people have thoughts/understandings about how this might work since employees are being called back to the office. Thinking about trying to escape the winter for a few weeks this year and work remotely down south. We are not currently expected to be in office every day but obviously they would like us to be in office more often than not. 

If you’re 100% remote and there’s no talk of returning to the office yet, I would just risk it but with the understanding you may have to return home with short order if they start changing policies. 
 

The caveat being that you have a fast and secure internet connection to access your work. 

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I don't think most professional employers in Canada would have an issue with someone spending a large part of August working remotely. The issue is moving between jurisdictions. Even within Canada, if you take someone from Ontario and give them express permission to work from their second home in Manitoba somewhat permanently, it's not exactly clear if then you have to give them Manitoba holidays, parental leaves, workplace safety coverage, etc.

The complexity is obviously compounded when someone moves to another country. Most provinces in Canada have similar employment laws, but what if they move to France or Holland? And then you have time zone issues. Obviously you can say they have to be available in normal EST business hours, but if they're in Holland can you fire them if they don't live up to that? Who knows? It's all new.

In the old days, you could kind of allow the odd person to have this type of arrangement, living with the risk of not necessarily knowing what it means legally. But when dozens or hundreds of people want that, it becomes a lot more of an issue.

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