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How to Pay Remote Workers

The pandemic has definitely accelerated the rate at which companies are adopting flexible and remote working. While we hoped we could all go ‘back to normal’ in a few months since it started, here we are, over a year later still battling with the constraints and limitations imposed by the virus. Although some countries have, indeed, gone back to almost normal, many countries continue to work remotely. And through this tumultuous time, many companies have realized that remote working benefits them and their employees and they intend to keep functioning that way. Among the many adjustments companies have had to make is how to pay remote workers.

For those who have employees simply continuing their jobs, the expectation is likely to stick to the regular work hours or number of hours and responsibilities. But for those who are hiring employees from different parts of the country and world, or where existing employees’ responsibilities are changing drastically, the contract negotiating process and expectation is now very different. So, there are big changes in the processes of how to pay remote workers.

Here are a few things to consider while drafting compensation strategies while recruiting remote workers;

Negotiation

Deciding how much to pay a remote worker can be tricky. But, there are also several considerations to help you decide. Firstly, you must decide whether that person is on the payroll as an employee or as a freelancer or independent contractor. Each option will have different tax liabilities.

Next, you can decide on the payment for an employee based on two things:

  • Company location
  • Employee location

This definitely depends on the kind of job the employee is being hired for. But how can you decide? If an employee is extending the parent company’s work in another country then they are usually paid depending on the company location. But, if an employee is hired for a certain job and just happens to be in another country or geographical location, then they are usually paid according to the employee location or maybe slightly more.

The right pay

With employees from different locations, it can be difficult to decide on what amount is appropriate. Especially if you are settling with payment according to the employee’s location. In this case you can do some research and arrive at a number. Which is feasible when you have one or 2 employees from that location. But what if you have more. And all of them are from different backgrounds and offer very different expertise. In this case you can consult with a local payroll company or even hire them to manage all your payroll responsibilities. This allows you to be confident in the decision you will make regarding your employees salaries and it only needs your approval to be passed.

Keeping track of work

Once you have settled on the payment and the hours of work, you need to ensure that work is being done according to that agreement. While you do need employees to be accountable, constantly questioning how much they have completed and why they haven’t completed what you were expecting is not a healthy way to go about it. A way to keep track of employee work respectfully is to use a tracker. There are several available that will track hours worked for the employee and generate an automatic timesheet and payment amount accordingly. Some apps will also generate invoices and take care of the formalities. Some such tools are Connecteam and Hubstaff.

Mode of payment

Finally, now that you know how much you need to pay your employee you need to decide how you’re going to pay them. Payment overseas is always a cause for concern because of the fluctuating currency rates. One of the most popular platforms to pay remote employees is PayPal. The benefit of an app like PayPal is that it supports multiple currencies so hiring employees from around the world becomes so much easier. But you also need to look out for transaction fees and whether the rate of conversion is the same as the banks. Another app that supports international currencies and transactions is Wise. They are said to have lower transaction fees and better exchange rates. Although not as much as the banks.

To make the mode of payment a more convenient task, again, you can hire or engage a local agency to take care of this. This will not only reduce issues of currency conversion, but will also have someone with a local knowledge and timelines handling it.

Whether a large percentage of the workforce goes back to working in a physical office or we continue working remotely, the percentage of people who will continue to work remotely will definitely increase once the pandemic has passed us by. Many more companies will also offer remote and flexible work as a benefit. So it is a good idea to be familiar with the requirements and the processes in order to consider how to pay remote workers.

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