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Top 10 considerations for your clients when setting up in Europe

31 July 2017 | Guy Abbiss

What are the main considerations when your client wants to expand into Europe for the first time?

To help you help your client, we set out below a checklist of the top 10 considerations for a business taking its first steps in Europe.

  1. Tax and social security
  • Does the business need to pay corporation tax? (Is it creating a permanent establishment?)
  • What (if any) employee taxes should it pay? (Can employees remain on home country payroll? Consider local tax withholding rules.)
  1. Hiring staff
  • As an employee, secondee or consultant?
  • Consider any relevant collective agreements.
  • Must the employment documents include certain mandatory local employment law information?
  • Are there any mandatory pension’s obligations?
  • Ensure confidentiality is maintained and if post termination restrictions work to protect the new territory.
  • In what language should you draft the contracts?
  1. Expatriates
  • If  sending staff on international assignment to Europe, consider how best to structure and benchmark their package and assignment documents.
  • Consider repatriation and other practical issues that may arise at the end of their assignment.
  1. Check Immigration rules
  • Can non-Europeans work lawfully in the relevant country (as rules can differ across Europe), and are there any restrictions?
  1. How to incentivise staff – what incentive plans can be used?
  • Consider local benchmarking data to ensure a competitive remuneration package.
  • Will staff be incentivised solely in cash, or will equity awards also be made?
  • Are there any restrictions under local law on offering equity awards?
  • How will equity incentives be taxed, and are there any tax efficient ways of using equity incentives?
  1. Making staff feel at home
  • Consider cultural awareness training as approaches in European countries vary greatly.
  • Practical support for any assignees, their partners and children (e.g. schooling).
  1. Unions – any works councils, Information and Consultation or unions to consider?
  • What role, if any, will a union, or works council, have in certain decisions such as reorganisations and acquisitions?
  1. Is your client buying the assets of a business/making an intra- group transfer?
  • Beware the Acquired Rights Directive which operates across the EU and transfers employees to the new business without needing any novations or new contracts.
  • Generally it is not possible to make changes to the transferring employees’ contracts of employment.
  1. Data protection
  • Consider strict data privacy laws especially in terms of the new General Data Protection Regulation coming into force in May 2018.
  1. Insurance
  • Are there mandatory insurances for employers?
  • Office and equipment insurance.
  • Additional medical insurance cover for expats, and their families.


How can we help you help your clients?

These questions will help you help your clients plan their expansion into Europe.

However, the answers will often vary depending which country your client wishes to expand into.

Abbiss Cadres can assist in providing comprehensive support and expertise to your clients throughout Europe, through the CELIA Alliance of member firms of which Abbiss Cadres is a member and co-founder.

For further information, please click here.


Content is for general information purposes only. The information provided is not intended to be comprehensive and it does not constitute or contain legal or other advice. If you require assistance in relation to any issue please seek specific advice relevant to your particular circumstances. In particular, no responsibility shall be accepted by the authors or by Abbiss Cadres LLP for any losses occasioned by reliance on any content appearing on or accessible from this article. For further legal information click here.

Circular 230 disclosure

To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS and other taxing authorities, we inform you that any tax advice contained in this article (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties that may be imposed on any taxpayer or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.

The author

Guy Abbiss
Employment Law
Compensation and Benefits
International Assignments
D: +44 (0) 203 051 5714
T: +44 (0) 203 051 5711
F: +44 (0) 203 051 5712

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