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Global Compliance Essentials: A Primer for Teams Hiring Remote and International Contractors

Remote Work Compliance: A Global Perspective

Global compliance refers to the legal and regulatory requirements that businesses must comply with when hiring employees, contractors, and freelancers in different countries.

The term global compliance doesn’t mean there’s one system that cuts across the globe.

However, it’s built in such a way that the requirements can vary widely from country to country. This is why it is important for businesses to carefully research the laws and regulations in each jurisdiction where they operate.


Key Elements of Global Compliance 

There are some key elements that make up global compliance. How well you perform in your global expansion model as a business depends on how you leverage these elements. Here, I’ll like us to take a look at these elements and their importance to your business.

Some of the key areas of compliance to consider when hiring remote workers and international contractors include:


As a business or startup, you must withhold and remit taxes to the appropriate government agencies in each country where your entity hires employees or contractors. The amount of tax withheld and remitted will vary depending on the employee’s or contractor’s residency status, income level, and the type of work they are doing.

Employment law 

Startups, businesses, and multinationals must comply with all applicable employment laws in each country where they hire employees. These laws may cover issues such as minimum wage, overtime pay, discrimination, and termination of employment.

Labor law

You must also comply with all applicable labor laws in each country where you hire employees as a business. These laws may cover issues such as working hours, breaks, and occupational safety and health.

Data protection 

Businesses must comply with all applicable data protection laws in each country where they collect or process personal data. These laws may cover issues such as the collection, use, and disclosure of personal data.

Intellectual property 

If you’re sharing your organization’s information with a lot of people around the world, one thing you should take seriously is to protect your intellectual property rights in each country where you operate. This includes patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets.

Termination Procedures

Understand the laws related to terminating employees, including notice periods and severance pay, which can vary significantly from country to country.

Safety and Working Conditions

Comply with workplace safety regulations to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for your employees. Yes, even for remote teams.

Cultural Sensitivity

Be aware of cultural differences that may affect the way you manage and interact with employees from different countries.

Documentation and Record Keeping

One cornerstone of global compliance when hiring remote workers and international contractors is meticulous documentation and record-keeping. This practice is essential to ensure that your organization stays compliant with local and international labor laws and regulations. Keep accurate records of all employment-related documents. 

Visa and Work Permits

If you’re hiring employees from another country, you might need to help them obtain the necessary visas or work permits to legally work in your country. This is not applicable to startups or firms hiring 100% remote teams. 

Employment Contracts

Ensure that you have proper employment contracts in place that comply with the local laws. These contracts should outline the terms and conditions of employment, including wages, working hours, and benefits.

Benefits and Insurance

Different countries have varying requirements for employee benefits and insurance. You’ll need to provide the necessary health, retirement, and other benefits as per local regulations.


Some General Principles of Global Compliance

In addition to these specific areas of compliance, businesses should also be aware of the general principles of global compliance. These principles include:

Due diligence

Businesses should conduct due diligence on all potential employees, contractors, and freelancers to ensure that they are compliant with all applicable laws and regulations.


Your outfit is supposed to maintain all relevant documentation, such as contracts, invoices, and tax records, to demonstrate their compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.


Make the necessary steps to train your employees and contractors on the company’s global compliance policies and procedures.


On a regular basis, startups should audit their global compliance practices to ensure that they are in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.


Example of some documents to keep when hiring globally

Global Compliance for Remote Teams and Contractors

Offer Letters and Contracts

Retain copies of offer letters, employment contracts, and any amendments. Ensure that they outline the terms of employment, including compensation, work hours, job responsibilities, and termination conditions.

Identification and Work Authorization

Keep records of employees’ identification documents and work authorization, such as passports, visas, or work permits. Verify that these documents are current and valid.

Tax Forms

Collect and store tax-related documents, including W-9 forms (for U.S. contractors), W-8BEN forms (for non-U.S. contractors), and other tax-related declarations.

Payroll Records

Maintain accurate payroll records, including timesheets, pay stubs, and records of any deductions or allowances. Ensure that payments are made in compliance with local wage and hour laws.

Communication Logs

Document all communication related to employment, such as emails, chat transcripts, or written agreements. This can help resolve disputes and provide evidence of the working relationship.

Benefits and Leave Records

If your remote workers or contractors are entitled to benefits or leave, keep records of accrued and used benefits, as well as any requests or approvals for leave.

Performance Evaluations

Conduct regular performance evaluations and maintain records of these assessments. This helps in making informed decisions regarding promotions, raises, or terminations.


Tips for ensuring global compliance as a remote team

Here are some additional tips for ensuring global compliance when hiring employees, contractors, and freelancers:

  • Use a compliant vendor: If you are not familiar with the laws and regulations in a particular country, it is a good idea to use a vendor that specializes in global compliance.  This will help to ensure that you are hiring and managing your employees, contractors, and freelancers in a compliant manner. For instance, If you need a platform with deep local expertise, robust international payroll, and strong global compliance, then Papaya Global is an excellent choice. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use platform with competitive pricing and global coverage, then Deel is a good option.
  • Get legal advice: If you have any questions about global compliance, it is always a good idea to consult with an attorney who is familiar with the laws and regulations in the countries where you operate.
  • Stay up-to-date on changes in the law: The laws and regulations governing global compliance are constantly changing, so it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest changes. You can do this by subscribing to industry publications, attending conferences, and networking with other businesses that operate internationally.