Compliance is an indispensable component of doing business anywhere. To do business and grow, you must be compliant. You can avoid penalties and fines by complying with country-specific employment laws and regulations.
Theoretically, compliance could be just a "basic understanding" some employers have of local business, employment and tax laws. However, complexities and variations are involved in local compliance requirements. Dynamic regulatory laws locally and globally and often prohibitive costs to ensuring full compliance make compliance an uphill undertaking even for seasoned employers.
Staying constantly up-to-date on global payroll compliance regulations and changes is challenging enough, making financial penalties and criminal charges closer than many employers might believe. If you're an international business, regardless of size, you may also experience irreparable damages to your reputation if you fail to stay compliant.
To ensure you meet international payroll compliance standards, this piece helps you understand:
- What global payroll compliance is
- The privacy-compliant law: General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
- The benefits of staying compliant
- How Skuad can help you maximize your investment to remain compliant.
Standard global payroll compliance regulations
Understanding compliance requirements in each jurisdiction is critical for your business's success and growth. Typically, legal requirements are the first to come to mind when mentioning compliance. Laws and regulations, however, are not the only factors to watch for to remain compliant.
So, what compliance requirements should you consider when operating locally and abroad?
Generally, employers are required to meet internal and external compliance requirements, legal and otherwise, including:
- Internal requirements. These are requirements needed not by regulatory authorities where you operate but for your interest. Keeping company records, including payroll management, ensures you have solid references when required in acquisitions, mergers, IPOs, legal actions, and more. In doing so, compliance works for you instead of being a liability. Plus, you can develop internal compliance into a complete strategy to make it a seamless, quick, and cost-effective component of your overall business plan.
- External requirements. These are requirements needed by regulatory authorities. Understandably, each jurisdiction has a unique set of laws, regulations, and practices, making compliance requirements a complex challenge for many employers.
Typical external, global payroll compliance requirements include:
- Annual or biennial payroll reports
- Filing fees
- Initial reports (requested in some jurisdictions before final words)
- Business licenses, permits, and certificates
- Work permits and visas
- Employee data protection
Handling global payroll compliance requirements is not limited to HR personnel but is a shared responsibility between the CEO, directors, and senior executives such as the CFO and CTO.
That said, an exhaustive list of every payroll compliance requirement in one jurisdiction, let alone globally, is unfeasible. The purpose of discussing payroll compliance requirements is to emphasize what international employers need to pay more attention to avoid the repercussions of noncompliance.
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What is GDPR?
Privacy has been an area of growing importance for all businesses globally. The scope and pace by which data breaches in companies, big and small, occur raise many red flags to government regulators to protect customer and citizen data against malicious intrusions.
In 2018, the European Union (EU) introduced a sweeping law, GDPR, to protect EU citizens against data targeting and collection practices performed by organizations in and outside the EU. GDPR is, according to the EU, the world's most rigid privacy and security law. In 88 pages, GDPR covers all data security and privacy issues applicable to organizations operating anywhere whose processes impact EU citizens directly or indirectly when collecting or processing data.
GDPR is becoming an established benchmark for global payroll compliance and data privacy for several reasons:
- Scope and detail
- Applicability to almost every organization operating globally
- Key guiding principles
- Openness to interpretation according to similar EU laws, regulations, and agreements, such as the European Convention on Human Rights
These reasons are recommended to expand as GDPR is applied to and adopted by more organizations and jurisdictions.
In essence, GDPR is guided by seven principles:
- Lawfulness, fairness, and transparency. This principle means that organizations collecting and processing data should do so according to applicable laws, equally among different user sets, and in an open manner.
- Purpose limitation. This principle means that organizations should collect and process data only according to a legitimate and adequately defined purpose.
- Data minimization. This principle means that organizations should collect and process data to fulfill a legitimate and adequately defined purpose.
- Accuracy. This principle means that organizations should ensure that collected and processed data are accurate and up-to-date.
- Storage limitation. This principle means that organizations should store data only for a legitimate and adequately defined purpose.
- Integrity and confidentiality. This principle means that organizations should collect and process data by upholding established data collection and processing practices of security, integrity, and confidentiality (using encryption and multiple user authentication methods, for example).
- Accountability. This principle means that an organization's data controller or officer is held accountable for upholding GDPR compliance principles.
GDPR is still a relatively new regulation. Much is yet to be seen in practice as organizations apply GDPR. For organizations, much flexibility is needed to adapt to likely changes in the current GDPR version as practice, stakeholder influence, and constant innovations continue to redefine privacy and compliance at large.
Benefits of investing in global payroll compliance
Compliance is not only a set of rules, regulations, and practices you, as an international employer, follow but a wise investment. Having compliance front and center in your global payroll management practice from the start saves time, resources, and money by introducing only a few tweaks to your already established compliance framework.
The benefits you reap by investing in global payroll compliance are many:
- Establishing a longstanding legal counsel relationship. By doing your homework and attracting the best-in-market and most affordable legal consultant to advise you on compliance, you ensure you have a trusted partner who adds value to your compliance strategy and enhances your business reputation among regulators, business partners, and customers.
- Staying informed. Making compliance an integral component of your overall business strategy spares you unpleasant regulatory surprises you may not be prepared for if you are not vigilant to ever-evolving compliance requirements.
- Automating payroll process. Expanding into new markets and growing in size make process automation increasingly necessary. This is where established employer of record (EOR) platforms come in. With extensive local experience with labor laws and world-class HR service platforms, EORs are ideal for small- and medium-sized businesses looking for a combination of service excellence and affordability.
- Streamlining the global payroll compliance process. Having a regulatory change management program in place at your organization centralizes compliance and weaves it into every process and operation. Doing so ensures no compliance gaps within your business operations and processes.
Think of compliance beyond penalties. As a proactive international employer, adherence to essential compliance requirements should be a given, and you should look far and beyond. When investing in compliance as a strategy and practice, you exercise good corporate governance by ensuring all your processes and operations are well aligned to best-in-industry practices. Business excellence, not fear of penalties, should always guide every component of your business strategy, including global payroll compliance.
How Skuad ensures compliance for global organizations
So far, you should have a solid grasp of how crucial global payroll compliance is, what widely applicable compliance laws and rules such as GDPR are, and what you gain by investing in compliance.
Your next step is to choose a trusted employer of record partner to ensure you stay compliant.
Having an established EOR such as Skuad handle your global payroll compliance not only partners you with an experienced EOR provider but ensures you get best-in-industry payroll compliance services by:
- Enabling auto-pilot compliance and staying informed about the most recent updates in compliance regulations and practices in 160 countries
- Customizing remote contracts and ensuring you don't miss the fine print in local employment contracts
- Optimizing payroll compliance costs and sparing you the ever-expanding costs of professional financial and legal advisors
- Getting best-in-industry global payroll compliance and management advice and ensuring you are ahead of the competition in managing payroll most compliantly and cost-effectively
- Streamlining remote contractor payouts in 100+ currencies at zero onboarding fees and optimizing your global payroll compliance management process using centralized, intuitive workflows
With Skuad as your global employment and payroll platform, all your global payroll compliance concerns are over. Contact Skuad to stay compliant with a streamlined and hassle-free process for your ever-expanding business.