Penn Personnel Working Abroad

In situations where a program requires the expertise of a US person or the program prefers oversight by a current Penn employee, it may be addressed through business travel assuming the activity and duration is considered short-term.  Longer-term employment abroad involving a Penn employee may also be accomplished through some of the local hiring options listed above.

Be aware that overseas work by employees for longer periods of time carries costs and regulatory risks. In general, any work assignment abroad lasting over 90 days within a year should be reviewed for possible implications for the employee and the University.  Contact GSS regarding legal, tax, and visa/immigration considerations. Our office can coordinate resources with other groups or departments as well as advise on the in-country requirements and options.

Penn Personnel Seconded to an Overseas Institution

The term secondment covers the situation whereby an employee or a group of employees is assigned on a temporary basis to work for another organization or a different part of the organization of their current employer.  In general, the seconded employee, though working at a host Company and/or new location, will remain the legal employee of the original (seconding) organization.  This allows the employee to gain experience or provide support to the new organization on a temporary basis, but to easily return to the original employer and maintain the original employer’s benefits.  Cross-border secondment presents added complexity including labor and tax regulations in (at least) two jurisdictions, payroll and potential shadow payrolling, income tax treaty analysis, and totalization agreement review for social security, just to name a few.

Penn can facilitate an employee secondment to another Penn existing or new entity.  Significant costs may be involved with respect to legal and tax service provider fees in the home and host countries.  At this time, Penn can only provide assistance in a secondment situation to another Penn entity and cannot facilitate a secondment arrangement to a PEO.  Secondment to a third party organization overseas (non-PEO), such as a collaborative partner, may be available depending on circumstances and will require significant coordination efforts between the department and the third party, along with central payroll, benefits, and tax.

Penn has an arrangement with Whalens/SIRVA to assist Penn personnel relocation out of a country. Visit Relocation Services or call the Human Resources Recruitment Office at +1-215-898-7284.

For specific questions contact:
Donna Showell
Manager, Recruitment Services
+1 215.898.5896

Faculty and employees working on short-term Penn projects overseas will generally retain their university benefits, such as health insurance and retirement plans, when they continue to be paid through the U.S. payroll. 

Consult with your HR representative and medical insurance provider, prior to an international activity, to review your existing coverage and benefit capabilities in the country you will be traveling.