The world of expat workers is often a complex one. Thanks to changes in legislation and currency, a once-perfect salary package may now be found to be severely lacking in some department. Or so a new study by employee benefits company Jelf International claim.
According to the recent research, 42% of expats haven’t reviewed their benefits in the last 12 months. Worse, many of these people have never reviewed their package in order to ensure that it is kept suitably up-to-date.
Expats in Russia have been among those hit hardest recently. In cases where expats are earning money in rubles, yet paying for houses and suchlike back home in dollars or sterling, the drop in value of the ruble has caused considerable problems. In some cases the change in currency has been equivalent to losing almost a third of your income.
However possibly the biggest concern raised by the survey pertains to health insurance. EU nationals travelling for pleasure within Europe typically make use of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to provide them with medical care should it be required.
Indeed, many employers of expats in Europe rely on their staff adopting EHICs in order to provide medical care. The study, however, suggests that not only are these cards intended more for short-term travel and/or care but also that private health insurance has a number of additional benefits.
Providers of expat health insurance like Expatriate Healthcare are specialists in their field, and deliberately provide the highest levels of care possible. In cases where an expat is found to possess private medical insurance, they are often able to access faster treatment, English-speaking doctors and Western-style medical facilities. This is often preferable to the slower and more over-crowded public facilities available in many EU member states.
Of course, medical insurance shouldn’t just cover the main “bread-winner” – it is also important to ensure that expat packages also cover other family members who will be moving alongside.
Lastly, the study underlines the fact that workers employed by companies in other countries are often subject to a complex and regularly changing list of laws and international agreements. Ensuring that all employment contracts and salary packages adhere to these rules is essential if both parties are not to risk landing in hot water in the future.
Whether you are an employer or an employee, the message is clear. Don’t ignore your expat benefits package, assuming that everything will be fine. Instead, try to get into the habit of reviewing the benefits on offer and, where appropriate, suggesting mutually-beneficial changes. It is only by carefully reviewing every aspect that both expats and their employers can ensure that staff are properly looked after and fairly compensated.