Following similar moves from its rivals, PwC has announced its Australian staff will be able to work for up to eight weeks from one of eight overseas countries, with more to be added in time.
The professional services firm has followed in the footsteps of Big Four rivals Deloitte, KPMG and Ernst & Young to offer its Australian staff the opportunity to work from overseas for up to eight weeks. Employees will also be able to choose to work from any of PwC’s Australian offices for a month, with the firm even developing an app to help facilitate accommodation swaps and local city knowledge between staff.
The idea is to allow for extended overseas trips.“This is a significant shift in our policy, introducing the opportunity for our people to extend breaks by blending short-term remote working with annual leave, both within Australia and overseas,” PwC Australia boss Tom Seymour told the AFR.
“This will allow team members to spend time with loved ones and extended families missed during the pandemic,” the chief executive officer added.
As it stands, approval has been granted for eight countries; the US, UK, Ireland and South Africa, and, closer to home, India, New Zealand, Malaysia and the Philippines. However, the scheme will be extended to more countries over time.
In launching a similar program last month, Deloitte CEO Adam Powick noted the ongoing challenges in clearing various destinations due to the current travel and visa complexities.
Deloitte was yet to finalise the full details of the scheme at the time, while KPMG’s People & Inclusion national managing partner Dorothy Hisgrove said its policy would see overseas working arrangements approved for six consecutive weeks on average. Since then, EY has also introduced an overseas remote working scheme, with eligible employees able to work from overseas for up to three months.
EY recruitment director Alison McLeod outlined to the AFR that the amount of time a staff-member could spend in a particular location would depend on a range of factors, including the ability to work lawfully in a given location and the role being performed, as well as country-specific issues such as tax and social security considerations, including tax treaty status, and both personal and cyber security status.
Commenting on PwC’s remote-working policy shift on LinkedIn, an “incredibly excited” Seymour said: “If the pandemic has taught us anything about the future of work at PwC, it’s that you don’t need to be physically in the same place as your colleagues to do your job. If that’s true, why should our travels to visit friends, family, and see the world be confined to the few weeks of leave we can get in a year?”