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Building Your International Employee Benefits Package

Learn how to support your global workforce with meaningful employee benefits they can enjoy from any corner of the world.

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77% of executives struggle to find skilled talent in their respective markets. Now that remote working is the norm, it’s no surprise that many employers have widened their recruitment net by looking overseas. Thanks to internal communication tools like Slack and Zoom, it’s easier than ever to collaborate with colleagues in different countries, time zones, or even continents. 

Yet, building relevant and equitable compensation packages for your distributed teams can be challenging. This guide explores what to include in a fair international benefits package for your employees. We’ll explore some country-specific considerations and show you how to use benefits software to ease the admin involved. 

What to include in your international benefits package

Structure your international benefits around the following categories to support your workers wherever they’re based: 

Paid time off

Consider the varying cultural expectations and legal requirements for offering paid time off work for each country where you have employees. This includes: 

  • Public holidays: Understand the dates of specific public holidays in the countries you operate. These can vary widely with the U.S. only having 11 federal holidays per year, but countries like Nepal enjoying between 35 and 43 depending on the year. 
  • Vacation days: You might determine the number of vacation days your employees are entitled to based on their level of seniority or length of service. However, some countries have a standard number of vacation days for all employees, such as France, which directs employers to give their workers 30 days of annual leave. 
  • Sick leave: Each country or state may have its own sick leave policies to cover employees who need to take time off due to illness or injury. 

Health and wellness

Access to quality healthcare is a top priority for many employees and their dependents, both in terms of physical and mental health. Consider the following health benefits as you put together your package: 

  • Medical insurance: Countries differ significantly in their approach to healthcare costs; for example, the UK offers free healthcare to all UK residents under the National Health Service, while the U.S. doesn’t have universal healthcare. In any country, health insurance benefits alleviate financial burdens or reduce waiting times to access essential care. 
  • Mental health support: Mental health issues are borderless, with the World Health Organization reporting that 1 in 8 people across the globe experience some form of mental health disorder. Anxiety and depression are the most common. Employers can support by offering counseling services, employee assistance programs, and other resources to support their international teams. 
  • Physical wellbeing: Virtual fitness classes and app subscriptions make it easy to keep your employees active wherever they’re based. However, employers may also partner with local gyms, meal subscription providers, and similar wellness services to extend their benefits in specific countries. 


Beyond the base compensation your international team makes, you may also structure bonuses in the following ways: 

  • Performance bonuses: Set individual, team, or company performance goals and offer monetary rewards or additional time off accordingly. 
  • Stock options: Provide workers with a stake in the company’s success to ensure their commitment to the company and encourage tangible financial gains. 
  • Retention bonuses: Reward loyalty and reduce turnover by delivering bonuses to employees who stay with the company for a certain period of time. 

Remote work

While some companies with international employees are remote-first organizations, others have offices across multiple countries for their local workers to attend or work in a hybrid capacity. Depending on your situation, some of the following benefits may be appropriate: 

  • Remote work stipend: Offer a stipend that covers expenses related to working from home, such as internet, ergonomic furniture, office supplies, etc. 
  • Flexible work arrangements: Allow employees to choose their own schedules or modify their work hours to accommodate different time zones. Work-life balance is key when working remotely, and many employees will love the opportunity to spend more time with their families and loved ones on a schedule that suits their needs. 
  • Company retreats: Consider hosting company retreats or team-building events in different countries to bring your international team together and foster relationships. 
  • Virtual team-building activities: For remote-first organizations, organize virtual team-building activities like online games and group challenges to encourage collaboration and boost morale. 

Professional development

Investing in your employees’ professional development is a top retention strategy that benefits both the employee and the company. The following growth opportunities are straightforward to incorporate into your international benefits package: 

  • Training and education: Offer access to online courses, conferences, workshops, or other learning opportunities for employees to develop their skills, knowledge, and qualifications. 
  • Mentorship programs: Pair seasoned professionals with junior employees to provide guidance and support. 
  • Language classes: Improve communication and foster cultural understanding among your diverse international team. 

How to ensure international employee benefits compliance

When setting up your international employees’ benefit packages, the biggest consideration is ensuring compliance with each country’s regulations and local laws. We recommend consulting legal and tax experts to meet the red tape requirements. Here are some country-specific examples to illustrate how widely benefits can vary: 

  • Parental leave in Sweden: 480 days of parental leave can be split between both parents in Sweden. For the first 390 days, pay is based on income; for the remainder it is offered at state level. 
  • 13th month salary in Luxembourg: It is customary for Luxembourg employers to pay a 13th month salary to all employees at the end of the year. 
  • Pension contributions in India: It is mandatory for all employees earning up to ₹15,000 to have an Employees Provident Fund which employers and employees contribute to. 
  • China Housing Fund: Launched in 1999, employers must contribute to a housing fund to support employees with related housing expenses. 
  • Health checks in Poland: Employees must have mandatory physical examinations in Poland to ensure they’re fit to work. Employers that allow employees to work without undergoing this health check risk a penalty fee. 
  • Pension contributions in Australia: The Superannuation Guarantee requires employers to contribute a percentage of an employee’s earnings into a pension fund. 

How to make it easier to offer international employee benefits

Looking beyond compliance, people teams and leaders have key decisions to make about their international employee benefit packages to ensure they're appealing and inclusive to all workers. Go through the following steps to shape your employee benefits strategy

Choose whether to offer equal or equitable benefits

When one country offers its citizens more generous perks and benefits than another, keeping things fair among your workforce is undeniably challenging. How can you explain to an employee from one country that you'll pay less into their pension scheme than if they were based in the U.S.? Or that their teammate will receive a full one-month bonus at the end of the year because that's the custom in their country? 

There are a couple of ways to handle this: 

  • Offer equal benefits to all: To do this, you’ll need to use the benefits from your employees' most generous resident country and then offer these to everyone. For example, if France is the most generous home nation of your employee base, you’ll offer all your international employees 30 days of paid vacation in line with French legislation.
  • Offer equitable benefits: Where equal benefits aren’t a good fit, you can deliver benefits that reflect the same level of generosity. For example, every team member should be able to take their home country’s federal holidays. 

Make your benefits flexible

Another equitable solution is to provide your employees with a lifestyle spending account. With this benefit, employers pay a set amount into each employee’s account, who can allocate it toward a wide range of eligible spending categories such as wellness, professional development, mental health, commuting, childcare, and more. Your international employees might spend their lifestyle benefits within their local neighborhood or on virtual services such as online development courses or counseling appointments. 

Use benefits administration software

It’s hard enough trying to manage your employee benefits when your workforce is based in a single location. But when your staff is spread far and wide, it quickly becomes unmanageable unless you're using flexible benefits administration software to keep everything streamlined. 

Real-life example: Virtual behavioral healthcare company Talkspace has 500+ global workers based in the U.S. and Israel. Its employees work fully remote roles, meaning that Talkspace needs to be creative with how it supports every team member. 

The company needed to take multiple geographies into account when planning their benefits packages, which is why they chose Benepass as their benefits software provider. Their previous vendor provided limited options for their Israel-based team. Talkspace employees now receive a pre-funded Benepass Visa card to use directly for spending on wellness, family, mental health, and professional development. Talkspace was delighted by the global parity and customization that Benepass was able to offer its international employees. 

Support your international employees with Benepass

Benepass supports 100,000 employees worldwide from companies like Wix, Mural, Jamf, Coda, Muck Rack, and many more. Our people-first platform delivers a wide range of pre-tax and post-tax benefits and perks, which can be customized to meet your company’s and your employees’ needs. 

Ready to learn more about our innovative approach to benefits? Book a free Benepass demo today or contact sales@getbenepass.com with any questions. 

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Rebecca Noori

Rebecca Noori is a freelance HR Tech and SaaS writer who is obsessed with our world of work. She writes about everything from employee benefits and performance management to upskilling and productivity tips. When she's not writing, you'll find her grappling with phonics homework and football kits, looking after her three kids.

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