Joint ABA/AIJA Seminar: The Global Employer: how to handle expatriation challenges to, from and within Europe
19 - 20 June 2009
The following sets out a proposed program for a joint seminar to be hosted by the employment law section of the International Association of Young Lawyers (AIJA) and the American Bar Association (ABA). This event, which will be aimed at an international audience, shall take place in Hamburg, Northern Germany in June 2009.The seminar will be entitled „The global employer – Expatriation into and out of the EU with special focus on the needs of US-Multinationals“. At a time when many companies are going global, the question of sending employees abroad to work has become increasingly important and it is accompanied by a number of challenges. The issues arising in connection with the secondment of employees abroad will be discussed at the Hamburg seminar in an international context and will be of particular interest to legal advisors.Globalisation is an important issue for large, mid-sized and small companies alike. Even law firms are becoming more and more global. Companies are obliged to operate flexibly at an international level in order to be able to open up new markets. This world-wide situation means that companies send their employees abroad to ensure the transfer of expertise and implementation of company strategies for the establishment of their overseas branches or the development of new business. According to a recent report, over the past four years three out of four companies continuously increased the number of employee secondments overseas. Secondments from North America to Europe and in the reverse direction are just as common as secondments to Asia. A good 30% of seconded employees are from middle-ranking or management levels although the secondment of newcomers for the purposes of training is becoming increasingly important. The deployment of employees for activities overseas entails considerable financial outlay. On average, an expatriate costs its employer 240.000 Euros per year. Adequate supervision of secondees and sufficient legal support are therefore required. Although the number of seconded employees is continuously increasing, the planning of such secondments by many companies is improvable. Many employers realise too late that they have not sufficiently considered the financial, tax and employment law implications of the employee’s secondment. A pre-prepared solution that deals with all issues including repatriation contributes considerably to the best possible opportunities to be gained from an overseas secondment. This is particularly important since overseas secondments are often effected at very short notice and advance planning can minimise risks. The joint seminar to be hosted by the Labour Law Commission of the AIJA and the International Employment Law Committee of the ABA should give legal advisers an in-depth insight into the problems associated with overseas secondments from, within and to Europe. The focus of the seminar will be directed at the requirements of internationally active US American and European companies. The seminar will also focus on expatriations within law firms as attorneys are also moving across the globe for their clients. The joint seminar of the ABA and AIJA will offer a unique forum to explore the international issues of overseas secondments from a number of locations under various legal systems with experts from several nationalities. The AIJA and the ABA will have the opportunity to present themselves and their respective work in an international context. The event will contribute to closer cooperation between the two organisations in the field of international employment law and shall lead to a broadening of the international network.