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Penn’s flexible, hybrid, and remote work policy does not apply to employees working from outside the United States. Individuals located outside the U.S. may not be paid through Penn payroll, as Penn is not an employer in other countries, and therefore Penn cannot comply with local employment and tax laws and requirements.
Depending on the employment need, international work arrangements may be made using one of the below options. If you have questions or would like to discuss your options, contact Erica Sebastian, Director of Global People Operations.
In general, international business travel by a Penn employee for up to 90 days within a given year is permissible. International business travel or remote work from outside the U.S. should not be approved for more than 90 days, as both the employee and Penn may face tax, visa/immigration, and legal implications. Employee work assignments abroad should be limited to 90 days or less. Any work assignment abroad lasting over 90 days within a year should be reviewed by GSS for possible legal, tax, and visa/immigration implications for the employee and the University.
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.
If you are interested in engaging a worker located outside of the U.S. to complete a particular project that is limited in scope and length, an Independent Contractor arrangement may be appropriate. Contractors are paid a fixed rate per project after a deliverable or upon receipt of an invoice for services.
In most countries, a worker is assumed to be an employee unless he or she qualifies as an independent contractor by meeting certain criteria. The criteria vary from country to country, but the following qualities tend to be globally important for independent contractor determination:
- Control over how, when, and where the work is done
- A business of doing similar work for other clients (also as a contractor)
- Use of own office, other facilities, and equipment
- Payment of own business expenses
- Pay based solely on services rendered (e.g. no hourly rate or vacation pay)
- Defined project or contract end date
When seeking an Independent Contractor, it is advisable to consider whether the project can be completed by a current Penn employee, or by someone located in the U.S. If not, engaging a contractor abroad may be necessary. In this case, the contractor should have a particular skillset or expertise that is not otherwise available.
Note that contractors are not employees of the University and should not represent themselves as such.
If you are interested in engaging an independent contractor, FAQ’S and next steps in the classification process, visit Engaging Independent Contractors.
Individuals working outside of the U.S. may not be on Penn payroll. However, if you wish to employ a worker in another country, you may consider one of the following options:
Collaborating with a Local Institution
Arranging for a foreign worker to become an employee of a local organization abroad to provide the necessary services, rather than an employee of Penn, is often the simplest and most cost-effective option.
Contracting with a PEO
If you wish to hire an individual who resides abroad and an Independent Contractor classification is not appropriate, contracting with a PEO may be the best solution.
This option may be appropriate for current Penn employees who will be temporarily working at another institution abroad for a set period of time, but will remain the legal employee of Penn.