When providing benefits to employees in other jurisdictions it’s important to consider their needs and expectations. While Canadians, Europeans and Asians are accustomed to universal public health care, not all countries have yet devoted sufficient resources to preventing and caring for their sick and injured citizens. Americans, as well as those living in developing countries have not devoted sufficient resources to providing primary health care.
While we might take health benefits for granted, an employee benefit plan could literally be the difference between health and disability, even life and death for staff in jurisdictions where the employer is responsible for providing essential health care.
It would be presumptive of us to use our experience as the standard and bring other up or down to it. We need take the time to understand the cultural and employment norms of our international workforce. We also need to consider the tax implication, portability and access to care for our international staff.
It often makes sense to consult with a benefits specialist in the jurisdiction of your international staff before introducing or modifying a benefit program.