The completion of the transition into the digital age, brought forward by the pandemic, has led to a rise in the trend of digital nomadism.
As an increasing number of jobs offer flexible working conditions, people are seizing the opportunity to travel, often spending time in wonderful locations where the cost of living is low compared to their country of origin.
But how does this rise in digital nomadism affect employment rights? While it’s a new phenomenon with constantly changing laws and regulations, there are some important points to take into account.
Digital nomad defined
Digital nomad is a fairly loose term that refers to people who work remotely while travelling. The flexibility of their work life tends to be facilitated by digital communication, but they aren’t just people who work in ‘digital’ niches.
While a lot of digital nomads do work as coders and in similarly tech-centred roles, the rise in digital communication technologies now means that a wide variety of different professionals can carry out their job from wherever they have a stable internet connection.
Digital nomads vs remote workers
Digital nomads are different to remote workers in that while both work in non ‘traditional’ work environments, remote workers tend to work from a single location (perhaps a home office or a shared workspace) while digital nomads are constantly moving around the world.
All digital nomads are remote workers, but not all remote workers are digital nomads.
Employment rights with regards to remote workers are relatively simple – they’re the same as they would be if the remote workers were operating in a ‘traditional’ office or workspace. With digital nomads, it can become a little more complex.
All employers are responsible for local employment law compliance. Employing digital nomads can complicate this a little; if the people who work for you work in different countries, you may also be bound by the employment laws of those countries as well.
The legality of employment rights for digital nomads is a complex issue that can’t be covered in a single blog post. If you have any specific concerns or questions about employment law, either as a worker or as an employer, it’s important to reach out to a team who specialises in employment law such as Weightmans Solicitors.
Self-employed vs. employed
Employment rights may vary drastically depending on whether the digital nomad in question is self-employed (also known as a freelancer) or employed by a company. Employees tend to enjoy a wide range of employment rights; these include holiday pay, sick pay, and a wide variety of other potential benefits.
Exactly what these employment rights are depends on which country the business they’re working for is registered in – those rights will often still extend to employees even if they’re working from another country.