International Assignments Policy


International Assignments Policy pdf(245 kb)



Go to a specific section:

1. Introduction

2. Aims of the International Assignment Programme

3. Nature of Assignments

4. Preliminary Arrangements

5. Long Term Benefits

6. Assignment Remuneration

7. Assignment Bonus

8. Housing and Relocation

9. Education

10. Terms of Employment

11. Termination of Assignment

12. Termination of Employment

13. Data Protection

Appendix 1: Calculating Assignment Remuneration pdf(37 kb)

Appendix 2: Draft Offer Letter pdf(146 kb)



1. Introduction

This Policy sets out the key principles by which The University manages international assignments. The principles apply to any employee of the University who accepts an international assignment which:

  • Takes place at the University's request.
  • Takes place in a country other than that in which the employee is ordinarily employed by the University.
  • Is expected to last for between 6 months and 5 years.
  • Is followed by repatriation or assignment to another country.

In this Policy the term 'home country' is used to describe the country from which the employee is assigned. The term 'host country' is used to describe the country to which the employee is assigned. The term 'assignee' is used to describe an employee during the period of the assignment.

If the assignment is expected to last for more than 3 months in duration please contact Seema Syed in procurement on to arrange appropriate insurance cover.

To ensure no additional tax liability is incurred by the individuals in relation to any claims for expenses on an international assignment, receipts will be necessary in all cases, except in those cases where a per diem rate has been approved by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). All other additional personal tax liabilities should be the responsibility of the individual and not the University. Guidance should be sought on any taxation matters from the Taxation Accountant in the first instance.


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2. Aims of the International Assignment Programme

The aims of the programme which this Policy is designed to promote are:

  • To support specific academic and/or commercial activities which the University undertakes in other countries.
  • To provide development opportunities to assignees.

The University aims that assignments shall be set up effectively, giving clear information to the assignee and others who need it. It aims, too, that the arrangements will be set up in a way which encourages assignees to take the development opportunity which they represent.


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3. Nature of Assignments

Assignments will normally be managed on the basis that assignees remain employed by the University. The terms and conditions of the assignment will thus be set out in an 'assignment letter' which forms a variation to the underlying employment contract. When other arrangements are made the assignment letter will make them expressly clear.

The University adopts this approach in order to provide continuity of employment and in order to offer best protection of certain long terms benefits which employment provides.

Assignments lasting more than 6 months will normally provide the opportunity for the employee to take a spouse or partner, and any children pre school age and those who are still in full-time education. Assignments of less than 6 months duration fall within the auspices of the ‘International Business Trip Policy’.


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4. Preliminary Arrangements

Quick Reference Guide to Pre-Assignment Responsibilities


Assignment Manager


  • Salary arrangements with Human Resources and discussion with assignee.
  • Discuss with host organisation any necessary changes to assignees employment contract and discuss these with assignee.
  • Arrangement of pre-Assignment visit (See 4.1).
  • Direct assignee to have medical examination (See 4.3).
  • Organise housing arrangements in host country (See 8.1).
  • Arrange outbound flights to host country.
  • Arrange training and familiarisation if requested (See 4.2).


Human Resources


  • Clarify Social Security and Income Tax situation once destination is finalised (See 5.1 and 6.4).
  • Offer tax counselling session to assignee and to arrange if requested (See 6.4).
  • Discuss salary payment with the assignee (See 6.3).




  • To have involvement in the preparations for their assignment and to contact either of the above with any queries.
  • To ensure that they are happy with salary discussions and contract details prior to agreeing to go on the assignment.

4.1 Pre-Assignment Visit

When the employee is invited to consider an assignment the University will normally provide the opportunity for a visit to the host country and ensure adequate notice is given. The assignee's partner (spouse or long-term partner) and children undergoing secondary education will normally be offered the opportunity to make the visit, when the assignment is offered on an accompanied basis (see 3 above).

The aim of the visit is to provide an insight into the assignment location and its amenities so that the assignee may make an informed decision when accepting the assignment. Usually the visit will provide the opportunity to see the kind of housing and where relevant, schools available

4.2 Training and Familiarisation

When the host location or its language are unfamiliar, the assignee should discuss any training needs with their line manager. The University will provide appropriate training or familiarisation support. A Human Resources Partner can advise on this matter.

4.3 Medical Arrangements

The assignment manager should inform the assignee that the University requires that assignees and accompanying family undergo a pre-assignment medical examination, for which the University will pay. When inoculations or other precautionary procedures are necessary, the assignee should arrange these, and the University will also bear their cost.

4.4 Work Permits and Visas

The International Office should be contacted as a matter of priority to advise on the need for work permits and visas. If a work permit or visa is required the staff member will need to arrange this before the assignment starts. The University does not offer assistance with work permits for any member of the assignment party other than the employee.

The terms and conditions of the assignment will not come into force unless and until all necessary immigration, work and residency documents have been issued and shall not remain in force when any such document becomes invalid or expires.

4.5 Administration and Professional Advice

The University recognises that assignments are complex, as such the Human Resources Team or the International Office should be contacted to arrange advice or assistance on:

  • All matters relating to assignment contracts, income tax, social security and appropriate levels of assignment remuneration.
  • Pre-assignment visits and the familiarisation process.
  • Visa and work permit services, via a law firm.

The Human Resources Team and/or the International Office will determine what level of assistance, if any, as appropriate according to the nature of the location and the circumstances of the case.


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5. Long Term Benefits

5.1 Social Security

The University will seek to maintain the participation of the assignee in the social security scheme of the home country (e.g. National Insurance Scheme in the UK) where this is permitted by the relevant authority.

Assignees are recommended to make voluntary contributions to their home country social security schemes, when appropriate, in order to protect their contribution record for pension or other long-term state benefits. They will be responsible for the cost of these contributions, since they are likely to be made during a period in which the University takes responsibility for compliance with host country social security requirements. For any queries relating to National Insurance assignees should contact their Human Resources Partner and Taxation Accountant in the first instance.

5.2 Pension and Retirement Benefits

When permitted by the relevant revenue authorities and scheme rules, the University will seek to maintain the active participation of assignees in their home country pension or retirement plans. Where this is the case the employee will be responsible for the employee contributions.

5.3 Life Assurance

When assignees have chosen not to join the relevant occupational pension scheme offered by the University they should consider whether the provisions they have made themselves in respect of life assurance, if any, are adequate. The University recommends that assignees take advice from an Independent Financial Adviser ("IFA") at their own cost, and can take no responsibility for the consequences of any decisions that may be taken in this matter.


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6. Assignment Remuneration

6.1 Principles

The assignment remuneration will be determined so that it protects the purchasing power of the home country salary which is appropriate for the assignment role in the host location and recognises the change in lifestyle employees will encounter. This home country salary is termed the "pensionable salary" and will be that on which any home country pension benefits are maintained.

The assignment salary will be determined by a method which takes account of differences in the cost of living, taxes and other factors, between the two countries in question. The approach "equalises" the tax between the two countries, protecting the assignee where taxes are higher than at home, and enabling (in some cases) the University to take advantage of recognised tax planning opportunities to mitigate the additional costs of the assignment. A summary of the approach is set out in Appendix 1pdf(37 kb)

Pensionable salaries will be reviewed in accordance with the University’s normal policies.

Assignment remuneration will be reviewed on an annual basis, on the anniversary of commencement of the assignment if it exceeds 12 months, and will take account of annual pay awards and incremental moves which may have applied to the home country salary.

6.2 Management Responsibility Allowance

Assignments may attract a Management Responsibility Allowance based on the following factors:

  • The level of responsibility of the role in the host country, in comparison with the substantive role in the home country.
  • The priority and value of the overall project to the short and long term objectives of the University.

The University will establish the level of Management Responsibility Allowance to be paid.

6.3 Payroll

Assignees will be given the opportunity, at the start of the assignment, to indicate whether they would like part of their income paid in the home country. This is often recommended when there are expenses which need to be met regularly, such as for mortgage repayments, insurance premia etc. If this election is made, the part paid in the home country will be paid via the normal payroll and the balance will be paid in the host country. The Human Resources Team will ensure that arrangements in respect of compliance requirements of the revenue and any other relevant authorities are met, taking external professional advice, at the university’s expense, as necessary.

Assignees should note that splitting the payroll in this way has no bearing on tax liability. The general rule is that income is taxable where duties are performed.

When such an election is made, or the assignee chooses wholly to be paid in the host country, the assignee will bear the risk of any exchange rate exposure on funds remitted to the home country.

The assignee may choose to vary any election made at the review date (see 6.1)

6.4 Income Tax Liabilities

The University will determine assignment remuneration so as to ensure that assignees are no worse off if taxes in the host country are higher than in the home country.

Depending on the duration of an assignment and other factors, assignees may, or may not, 'break residency' for income taxes in the home country. They may, or may not, become resident for tax in the host country.

Prior to departure on an assignment where the assignee faces the prospect of being liable for tax in both countries, the University will arrange, with its professional advisers, that the assignee be given assistance to claim such relief and exemptions as may be available. They will also provide such other assistance as may be necessary to achieve its 'no worse off' goal. This may include information regarding the best time to start the assignment.

Assignees will be offered a tax counselling session in the home country, at the University’s expense. This is an opportunity to take advice about the effect of the assignment on home country income tax. Assignees may wish to take further advice, at their own expense, in order to learn what practical steps might be taken to arrange their personal tax affairs more effectively.

Assignees will also be offered the opportunity of a tax counselling session in the host country, on arrival at the University’s expense, which again the Human Resources Team can arrange. Assignees will be briefed on reporting and filing requirements, on the need for record keeping, and any other relevant matters.

During the assignment, the University will provide assignees with access to a University selected tax adviser, for which it will pay, to help with the preparation and filing of returns.

6.5 Principles Governing Short Term Assignments

When an assignment is anticipated to last less than twelve months, remuneration will be determined on the basis that the assignee will be no worse off. Allowances will, however, be calculated in a different way, which recognises that the principal home is maintained and family (where relevant) remain in the home country. Details would be set out in the assignment letter in each case.


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7. Assignment Bonus

Assignees will be entitled to a bonus on completion of the assignment, when the assignment ends after the specified period of time. The Bonus will accrue at the rate of 10% of net pensionable salary per annum and will be pro-rated to the actual length of the assignment.

The Bonus is intended to reward assignees for the satisfactory completion of their assignments. While bonus payments will not depend on the attainments of defined objectives they will not be paid if an assignment is terminated early by the University in cases where performance or conduct is demonstrably falling below a satisfactory level.

Bonuses will be paid in the home country after the assignment has ended and the University will gross up for any taxes due, or take other steps to assure compliance with the requirements of the relevant authorities.


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8. Housing and Relocation

8.1 Housing

The University will determine and provide appropriate housing in the host location and will pay its costs in full in the host country. Assignees will make a contribution of 10% of their home country gross salary towards the costs by way of an adjustment in the calculation of assignment remuneration (see Appendix 1). pdf(37 kb) When accommodation is leased or rented on the open market, the University will determine the level of cost it is prepared to bear. Assignees should understand that the nature of housing varies considerably from country to country and that the University will seek to provide accommodation which is suitable within the context of the local market.

Housing will be provided on a furnished basis. When accommodation can only be leased or rented on an unfurnished basis the University will decide whether to buy, lease or ship furniture, taking into account the relative costs of the options available.

Assignees will be responsible for the cost of utilities in the host country.

Assignees are free to make their own decision as to disposal or otherwise of housing in the UK, but are recommended to consult an IFA, at their own cost. Should they choose to rent out the home country property they will not be required to make an increased contribution towards the costs of accommodation in the host location.

8.2 Relocation

The University will pay for the air fares of the assignee and any accompanying family at the start and end of the assignment. It will also pay for the shipment by sea or land of a reasonable quantity of personal effects. The costs of shipment must be authorised in advance by the Human Resources Team. The University will pay for the insurance of goods authorised for shipment, as it will any customs duties or other levies.

Where necessary, the Human Resources Team may authorise the costs of storage of some household effects in the home country.


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9. Education

Assignees are encouraged to put accompanying children of primary school age into local schools unless none offers an acceptable standard of education. This policy applies also to children of secondary school age, subject to an assessment of the need to maintain satisfactory progress in terms of home country examination systems.

Where it is agreed as necessary to place accompanying children into fee paying schools in the host country, the University will pay the cost of school fees for an agreed establishment.


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10. Terms of Employment

10.1 Hours of Work

Assignees will be expected to work the hours required by the host institution, if agreed by the University as reasonable. The assignment manager will investigate the hours of work in the host country prior to the assignment and these will be discussed with the assignee and detailed in the assignment letter.

10.2 Holidays

Holiday will be granted in accordance with the normal policy of the host institution, if agreed by the University as reasonable. The normal policy of the host institution will be investigated by the assignment manager prior to the start of the assignment and will be discussed with the assignee.

Public holidays will be in accordance with the host country.

10.3 Home Leave

The assignee and any accompanying family (refer to Section 3) will be entitled to two economy return air trips to the UK during each twelve month period. Assignees are not entitled to any cash in lieu of this benefit nor to travel elsewhere at the University's expense.

10.4 Medical Insurance

The University will arrange private medical insurance to cover the assignee and accompanying family during the assignment.

Assignees who have joined a healthcare scheme in their home country, whether or not one supported by the University, should decide whether or not to maintain membership during the assignment, if scheme rules so permit. Where continuing membership is permitted, assignees should consider any rules governing re-entry to the scheme after the assignment, if they discontinue membership while overseas.

Any employee who is embarking upon a period of work overseas should ensure that they have read and understood DMU's Health and Safety Policy SP3/67/98, "Health and Safety When Working Overseas" available from Health and Safety.

10.5 Long-Term Absence: Ill Health or Other Incapacity

Every case will be considered on its own merits. For general guidance, if the period of absence leave is likely to extend beyond one month, it may compromise the success of the assignment. In such cases the University may either suspend or terminate the assignment and repatriate the assignee without notice.For the period that the assignee remains in the host country, the assignment pay and benefits will be maintained. If an assignee has to return to the home country, home country policy will apply and any pay due will be based on the pensionable salary.

10.6 Maternity

If the assignee or any member of the accompanying family becomes pregnant during the assignment the Human Resources Team and Line Manager should be informed. This will enable discussion and agreement as to the best arrangements. It may be necessary to consider the implications of the regulations of immigration or other authorities in the event of the birth of a child in the host country.

10.7 Compassionate Leave

In the event that the assignee needs compassionate leave, they should consult the Human Resources Team and Line Manager. The Human Resources Team will normally agree compassionate leave in instances of death or serious illness of a close relative, or other domestic crisis.

10.8 Promotion

Assignees will remain eligible to apply for promotion and/or accelerated increments (e.g. via the Academic Promotions/Support Staff Pay Progression & Contribution Related Pay Process) and should seek advice and guidance from their line manager on relevant procedures.


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11. Termination of Assignment

The expectation is that the assignment will terminate on the due date, or by service of notice as indicated below and the employee will return to their home country role, or a role of equivalent status. In the event that the University is unable to find a suitable alternative post on repatriation, then any relevant provisions in relation to redundancy will come into effect.

11.1 Termination by the University

When the assignment arrangements represent a variation to the underlying employment contract, termination of the assignment does not of itself give rise to termination of employment.

Where the University decides it is necessary to end the assignment before the planned date, the University will give assignees reasonable notice that they will be returning to the Home Country. The University's commitment is to make every reasonable effort to return assignee to a mutually acceptable role.

11.2 Termination of the Assignment by the Assignee

If the assignee wants to end the assignment before the expected end date, this should be discussed with the assignment manager who will then inform the Head of Department/School and Dean/Director at the University. The assignee will be required to give 3 months notice in writing. The University will make every effort to repatriate the assignee more quickly if an emergency situation demands immediate termination.

11.3 Termination of Assignment Remuneration and Benefits

Payment of remuneration and expenses, and provision of benefits in kind, will cease from the effective date of termination of the assignment.

11.4 Force Majeure

When circumstances in the host country are such that early evacuation is required, the University will make every effort, in conjunction with the relevant authorities, to assure a safe and effective evacuation.

11.5 Repatriation

The University will pay for the costs of repatriation provided the assignment lasts the expected duration. This will only include items that were taken from the home country at the beginning of the assignment. If the assignee terminates the assignment before the agreed end date then the University, at its complete discretion, will pay for the costs of repatriation. The assignee should discuss this with the Human Resources Team as soon as possible if they decide to end the assignment.


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12. Termination of Employment

Should either party intend to terminate the contract of employment, as distinct from the assignment agreement, they must give notice in accordance with the terms of the home country employment contract. This notice may run concurrently with any notice due to end the assignment, in any circumstances other than redundancy.


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13. Data Protection

The Data Protection Act 1998 protects the confidentiality of individuals’ information. Where personal data is exported outside the European Economic Area such protection does not apply automatically.

To ensure that the assignee has understood and approved the implications of this the assignment manager should provide assignees with written details of all potential overseas data transfers connected with the assignment, detailing the type of information and likely recipients. The assignee should be asked to sign a copy of these details to indicate that they agree to these details being transferred as necessary.


Appendix 1: Calculating Assignment Remuneration pdf(37 kb)

Appendix 2: Draft Offer Letter pdf(146 kb)


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