How To Manage Consistent Pay In Countries With Fluctuating Currency Rates/Inflation

How To Manage Consistent Pay In Countries With Fluctuating Currency Rates/Inflation

06 December 2019

By Andrew Woolnough, Director of HR Solutions at Equiniti

For employees living and working overseas, payment inaccuracies and delays can represent a huge headache. For employers, the whole area of overseas payroll and payments is notoriously complex. But not impossible. And when you consider that global assignments now represent a formal part of an organisation’s talent development, succession and retention activities, there seems a very strong argument for doing what needs to be done to get pay right, every time.

So where do you start?

Most multinational companies are now opting for a centralised strategy and structure that reflects local need. This brings with it essential elements of control, but also greater complexity. Trying to keep on top of currency fluctuations and the local tax and regulatory requirements of every country in which you have employees is no mean feat. And it can be made even harder when you outsource to a number of different specialist providers as there’s often little – if any – communication between them. A fully integrated payroll and payment solution from one source helps overcome all of this.

There are multiple strands to the issues that companies face - compliance with home and host country tax and social security representing another minefield - but, for the purposes of this article, we focus on the fluctuating currency aspect only, using a real-life case study.

Case study: Heriot Watt University

Heriot Watt University approached Equiniti for a payroll and payments solution. They had around 100 employees living and working in Dubai and they wanted to separate them from the UK payroll.

The issue

  • Some of these employees were deemed to be UK nationals, others Dubai nationals. Employees become Dubai nationals if they either opt to do so or if they spend more than 52 weeks in the country.
  • More than 10 employees were paying UK National Insurance
  • More than 10 employees were paying UK student loans

Mary Doran, Payroll Manager at Heriot Watt University, added: “Payroll for all was processed in GBP and the exchange rate that was used was a factor of 6.75, resulting in the employees [in Dubai] facing the problem of inflated amounts being deducted from their gross pay. In other words, they weren’t being paid the correct amount. Plus, they couldn’t use their payslips when applying for things like loans.”

The solution

Equiniti brought to the University a combined global payroll and payments solution, setting up a separate payroll for the 100+ employees and converting GBP to AED (Arab Emirate Dirham). 

This included the provision of payslips showing: 

  • Net pay in GBP
  • Currency exchange rate
  • Net pay in AED
  • Provision of a payments service
  • Beneficiary payments

“The employees are now paid in Dirhams and at the correct exchange rate,” says Mary. “They can now also use their payslips for loans if required.

“The EQ Global site makes the processing of the salary payments seamless. Plus, it validates all the bank details, thus ensuring that the payments are received in a timely manner.”


*This article was written for and features in REBA, December 2019.

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