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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 73488
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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My employer is based in London and I am office based there.

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Hello, My employer is based in London and I am office based there. Because of pandemic I left UK in March 2020 and haven’t been in UK ever since (working remotely from many different countries). My employer is not aware. I am wondering what risks and tax implications I am facing. Thank you.
JA: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: Not yet
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: Full-time employee
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: That's all

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

How long have you worked there for? Please note this is not always an instant service and I may not be able to reply immediately. However, rest assured that I am dealing with your question and will get back to you today. Thanks

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
My full-time employment contract started on 2019, August 5th. I left UK on March 13th, 2020. I have visited London for a week in October. But all other time I was in Lithuania, Portugal, Dubai...

Thank you. Just to advise you at the start, I cannot comment on tax implications as that is an entirely separate matter and you need to speak to a tax adviser, rather than a lawyer. But we do have a tax section if you want to post a query there about it. In the meantime I can still discuss the employment side of things?

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
What is it that I should know from the employment side of things?

Ok thanks. From an employment perspective you ae employed under a UK contract and if your workplace is stated to be in the UK, whether an office, or home, then you are expected to undertake your duties from the UK, unless the employer agrees otherwise. That would be due to various issues with working from abroad, such as taxes, for you and the employer, insurance, GDPR obligations and so on.

If your employer finds out that you worked abroad without consent, they could potentially treat this as a disciplinary matter and consider taking formal action.

The main issue in the circumstances is the fact that you have only been continuously employed at you place of work for less than 2 years. That means that your employment rights will, unfortunately, be somewhat limited. Most importantly, you will not have legal protection against unfair dismissal. This basically means that your employer can dismiss you for more or less any reason, and without following a fair procedure, as long as the decision is not based on a reason which makes a dismissal automatically unfair. They can proceed with a dismissal even if you had done nothing wrong and also without following any specific fair procedure or proving that any of the allegations are true.

As mentioned, there are some exceptions to this, in which case the 2-year rule does not apply. These include situations where the dismissal was wholly, or partly, due to:

- Discrimination due to a protected characteristic (i.e. because of gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, etc.)

- Taking, or trying to take, leave for family reasons including pregnancy, maternity/paternity leave, parental leave, adoption leave or leave for dependants

However, if the dismissal had nothing to do with any of the above exceptions, you would not be able to challenge it due to not meeting the minimum service criteria for claiming in the Employment Tribunal. In that case your only protection would be if you were dismissed in breach of contract. That would usually happen if you were not paid any contractual notice period due to you, unless you were dismissed for gross misconduct. That is where you were guilty of something very serious which justifies immediate dismissal, without any notice pay.

In any other circumstances, you would be due a minimum notice period, as per your contract and associated pay. If you did not have a written contract in place you would be entitled to the minimum statutory notice period of 1 week. The employer would either have to allow you to work that notice period and pay you as normal, or they can decide to pay you in lieu of notice. That is when you are paid for the equivalent of the notice period but your employment is terminated immediately and you are not expected to work through your notice period.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

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