Article.

5 things to consider: employment law tips for mining and natural resources companies

08/12/2021

At a glance

As other industry sectors have experienced, the best laid plans of many mining and natural resources companies have been placed on pause, refined or cancelled altogether as a result of COVID-19. However, with signs that resilient businesses in this sector are recommitting to their stakeholders amid increasing levels of transactional activity, mining companies may look to expand their workforce by onboarding contractors and employees to deliver on projects located outside of the UK. We drill down into some top tips that those responsible for the HR aspects of a business in this sector should consider.

  1. Visas – depending on the location of your operations and the nationality and permanent residence of the individual, you may need to consider what working visas are required for the individual to work in the host country, who is responsible for obtaining the visa and whether there any practical issues e.g. limitations on duration of stay, areas within the country that the individual may enter and, in the case of some longer-term arrangements, whether the individual’s absence may affect their immigration status in their home country.
  2. Travel restrictions and coronavirus – consider what coronavirus tests, vaccines and quarantine requirements must be followed for the individual to enter the host country? Who will arrange for and bear the costs of any tests, vaccines, or certificates? What arrangements will apply if the individual is required to isolate or be repatriated to their home country?
  3. Tax – depending on the length of stay in the host country, the jurisdiction of the employing entity and the permanent residence of the individual, there could be significant tax implications that you (and the individual) should seek specialist advice on. In general, UK employers are required to operate PAYE and account for income tax and national insurance contributions to HMRC in relation to employees that are UK tax residents, notwithstanding that the employee is working overseas. The position may be different where the employee works overseas for longer than a complete UK tax year or a double tax treaty applies. In certain circumstances, there may also be a risk that the employee’s presence in the host country could create a permanent establishment for your business in that country, presenting unexpected corporate tax consequences.
  4. Employment rights – the individual may acquire local mandatory employment rights in the host country, even where they work in that country for a short period. These could potentially include minimum rates of pay, paid holiday and most importantly, rights on termination. You should seek local employment law advice to understand what rights may be applicable in the host country to ensure compliance.
  5. Contract terms – When preparing contracts for employees or contractors working in the host country, you may wish to consider including clear provisions that:
  • govern the issues addressed above regarding visas, travel and tax, but also practical yet important issues such as
  • any requirements for the individual to hold certain qualifications to perform the role,
  • working schedule requirements,
  • the currency and frequency of payment,
  • the insured benefits and cover available and
  • depending on the role, other provisions to protect the legitimate interests of your business.

Our employment team regularly advises mining and natural resources clients through the assortment of employment-related issues that arise in this sector. If we can be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the authors below or your usual Memery Crystal contact.

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Alfie Bright
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    Stephen Ravenscroft
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