Quitting one's job

Going on expatriation means for the «trailing spouse» he/she has to leave his/her job.

For some, it is regarded as an opportunity. They have become wearied of their current occupation and find that expatriation provides them with the perfect reason to turn the page.

For others, the situation is more complicated. They are reluctant at giving up or interrupting a career in which they have invest themselves so much and where they get good recognition. Some may have developped their own activity or their own practice. Others are particularly sensitives to their work environment and social relations with colleagues.

How to quit one’s job ? How to tell it to one’s manager ?

For the employee in the private sector, resignation is the first solution that spontaneously comes to mind. But this solution is not exclusive. When the expatriation period is short, it may be samrt not to resign but to ask for a exceptional leave (sabbatical or for creating a company,..). If your employing company has subsidiaries or is running activities in your country of expatriation, maybe a transfer or teleworking is possible. Although telework is not really developed in some countries like France, it is considered a real option by american companies, which have already developed lots of telework experiences, in different sectors, all over the world

breacking the work contact : resigning.

In France, resigning to accompany one’s spouse, expatriated by his employer, qualifies for unemployment benefits. But individuals will not take advantage of those benefits before they come back in France and under the conditions that they return no latter 4 years after they resigned.

Check how it works in your own country. Unemployment benefits, in this case, will not be a additional source of earnings during the expatriation, but they will facilitate the return.

Suspending the work contract : taking a leave

One that has to quit his job do not necessarily has to resign. It is also possible, in agreement with your employer, to suspend your work contract, for example with a company creation leave. The distinction between contract suspension and resignation will have no impact on the individual’s financial situation during the period of expatriation.The real difference appears when the employee returns. At that moment, the employer has to choose between two options :

  • Either he reintegrates his employee and proposes to him the same kind of position and compensation package;
  • Or he makes him redundant. In that latter case, the individual will benefit from the unemployment system and will obtain compensation for his firing

Maintaining the work contract: transfer and telework

When the spouse’s employing company do has subsidiaries or economic interests in the country of expatriation, transfer is an option to investigate. The deal to build should have all appearances of a win win situation. The employee keeps his job or find a new one in the organization. He gets a chance to gain international experience and develop new skills. The employer retains his employee and can rely on him , without additional cost, as an international resource.

In practice, transfer can be executed in various ways : secondment to a local subsidiary, to a partner or a supplier. ; starting a new structure locally ; teleworking.

When expatriate and spouse work for the same employer, their company will make diligence in finding a job for the second, in order to facitate the expatriation of the first.

When the spouse is a public servant, he will be able to investigate different ways to be seconded abroad.

Developping one’s portable job

It is also possible to maintain relations with one’s former employer or with one’s professional network, by developing a portable job, and exporting one’s activity abroad. Installation as a freelance, will enable individuals to realize consulting or teleworking missions for their former employer, or for other companies, in a place that might be of particular interest for them.

Working as a freelance can also be an opportunity to exert one’s profession in a different manner. It will help remaining active during the expatriation period, whatever the business intensity, and pave the way for a successful professional comeback at the end.

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