What Is an Employer of Record? A Guide to Global Expansion.


One of the major roadblocks to a business's global expansion is a shortage of international talent, with around 75% of companies admitting they have difficulty finding the right skilled employees in foreign markets.

An Employer of Record (EOR) is a solution that helps companies overcome this obstacle by providing an efficient and cost-effective way to hire international employees.

Attracting and retaining talent is a key factor in the success of any global business, as skilled and diverse employees can drive innovation and growth.

This is particularly true for businesses with international reach, where having a local presence and understanding of cultural nuances is crucial.

When it comes to hiring international employees, companies often face complex legal and administrative processes that vary greatly from country to country. This is where an Employer of Record (EOR) can come into play, serving as a local partner to handle all HR and legal matters related to hiring and managing employees in a foreign market.

In this guide, we will explore the key aspects of an Employer of Record, including its definition, benefits, and how it can assist businesses with global expansion. We will also discuss the differences between an EOR and a PEO (Professional Employer Organization) and highlight some important considerations when choosing an EOR for your business.

What is an Employer of Record (EOR)

An Employer of Record is a third-party company that serves as the legal employer for employees hired in a foreign market. This means that the EOR takes on all the responsibilities and liabilities of an employer, including payroll, taxes, benefits, compliance, and other HR-related tasks.

The EOR essentially acts as a bridge between the employee and the client company, handling all administrative tasks related to employment while the client maintains control over the employee's day-to-day work.

Companies with global reach rely on EORs to help them navigate the complex and ever-changing laws and regulations in different countries, allowing them to focus on their core business objectives.

What are the Responsibilities of EORs?

Employers of record take on a wide range of responsibilities, including hiring and onboarding employees, managing payroll and benefits, ensuring compliance with local laws and regulations, and handling termination processes.

This allows companies to have a flexible workforce in different countries without the need for establishing a legal entity or setting up their own HR department.

EORs also provide support in areas such as work permits and visas, local employment laws and regulations, taxation, and employee relations. By handling these tasks on behalf of the client company, EORs significantly reduce the administrative burden and minimize the risk of non-compliance.

Some of the more common duties of an EOR include:

  • Hiring and employee onboarding in compliance with local laws and regulations
  • Managing payroll, health insurance, payroll taxes, and employee benefits for employees
  • Ensuring compliance with employment laws and regulations
  • Issuance of an EOR when there is an interruption in earnings
  • Handling employee terminations according to local practices
  • Providing support on immigration processes such as work permits and visas
  • Employee termination and offboarding

When to Use an Employer of Record

An EOR can be a valuable partner for businesses in various stages of global expansion. Here are some situations where an EOR may be particularly beneficial:

When exploring new markets

An EOR can help test the waters in a new market without committing to setting up a legal entity or hiring full-time employees. This allows companies to evaluate opportunities and potential challenges before making significant investments.

When scaling up quickly

For businesses that are experiencing rapid growth, an EOR can provide a quick and efficient way to hire employees in multiple countries without the hassle of setting up legal entities or establishing local HR teams.

When navigating complex regulations

Different countries have different employment laws and regulations, which can be challenging for companies expanding globally. An EOR with expertise in these areas can ensure compliance and minimize the risk of penalties or legal issues.

To avoid misclassification of contractors

With the rise of the gig economy, many companies rely on independent contractors to fill skill gaps and meet project demands. However, misclassifying contractors as employees can lead to significant financial and legal consequences. An EOR can help ensure compliance with local laws and regulations regarding employee classification.

To hire employees during entity set up

Setting up a legal entity in a foreign market can be a lengthy and complicated process. In the meantime, an EOR can help companies start operations and hire local employees without having to wait for the entity formation to be completed.

Attract and retain local talent

One of the primary benefits of an EOR is its ability to attract and retain local talent in foreign markets. By having a legal and local presence and understanding of cultural nuances, EORs can help companies overcome barriers that may prevent them from hiring the best candidates in a given market.

Additionally, EORs provide support with onboarding, training, and development programs, which can increase employee satisfaction and retention rates.

Choosing the right time to invest in hiring an EOR will depend on the specific needs and goals of each business. However, as a general rule, it is advisable to work with an EOR before establishing a legal entity or hiring full-time employees in a foreign market. This allows for greater flexibility and minimizes the risk of non-compliance.

What are the Advantages of EORs?

Employers of record offer a range of material benefits to companies looking to expand globally. These include:

Cost savings

Hiring an EOR is often more cost-effective than setting up a legal entity or establishing a local HR department, which can incur significant upfront and ongoing costs. Choosing to work with an EOR can also help companies avoid penalties and legal fees that may arise from non-compliance.

Time savings

The process of establishing a legal entity, setting up a payroll system, and hiring employees in a foreign market can be time-consuming and distracting for businesses. By partnering with an EOR, companies can save significant time and resources that can be better utilized in growing their core business operations.

Compliance and risk management

Employment laws and regulations are constantly evolving, making it challenging for businesses to keep up with the latest updates. EORs specialize in navigating these complex legal landscapes, ensuring compliance, and reducing compliance risks.

Flexibility and scalability

Working with an EOR allows companies to have a flexible workforce in different countries without being tied down by long-term commitments or legal obligations. This means businesses can easily scale up or down their operations in a given market, depending on market conditions and business needs.

Local expertise and support

EORs have a deep understanding of the local culture, laws, and regulations of the countries they operate in. This provides companies with valuable insights and support when it comes to hiring, managing, and retaining employees in a foreign market.

Reduced administrative burden

Managing employment-related tasks in a foreign market can be complex and time-consuming. By partnering with an EOR, companies can delegate these responsibilities, freeing up valuable resources to focus on core business objectives.

What are the Disadvantages of EORs?

While there are many advantages to working with an EOR, it's important also to consider potential drawbacks. These may include:

Lack of control

As the legal employer, the EOR has a level of control over HR processes that may differ from what the client company is used to. Since the EOR is responsible for ensuring compliance, they may have different processes and protocols in place, which can limit the client company's control over HR operations. It’s always best to align goals and objectives when considering adding an EOR as part of your company.

Limited services

EORs typically offer a set range of services, which may not cover all HR needs of a business. This can become a challenge for companies that require more specialized HR support or have unique employment arrangements.

Limited customization

Some EORs may have standardized processes and policies that do not align with the client company's specific needs or preferences. This can limit the ability to customize HR operations according to the company's culture or practices.

Communication challenges

Working with a third-party EOR may create communication barriers between the client company and its employees, which can impact efficiency and productivity. These could include language barriers as well as differences in communication styles.

Employer of Record vs Staffing Agency: What's the Difference?

The primary difference between an EOR and a staffing agency is the employment relationship.

An EOR becomes the legal employer of record, while a staffing agency provides temporary workers who are employed by the agency itself.

This distinction has implications for factors such as taxation, benefits, and compliance.

With an EOR, the client company maintains control over the employee's day-to-day work, while with a staffing agency, the agency is responsible for providing and managing the temporary workers.

Employer of Record vs PEO (Professional Employer Organizations): What's the Difference?

A professional employer organization (PEO) is another type of HR outsourcing service that is similar to an EOR. The key difference between the two lies in the employment relationship.

Like an EOR, a PEO becomes the legal employer of record for its clients' employees. However, a PEO also enters into a co-employment relationship with its clients, meaning they share some employer responsibilities.

In contrast, an EOR does not enter into a co-employment relationship with its clients and is solely responsible for all employment-related tasks.

Additionally, PEOs may offer additional HR support services such as training and development, while EORs typically focus on the administrative tasks related to employment.

How to Choose EORs

Choosing a suitable EOR for the needs of both your business and employees is crucial for a successful global expansion. Here are some factors to consider when selecting an EOR:

Local expertise

An EOR should have a strong understanding of the local employment laws and regulations in the countries where they operate. This will ensure compliance and minimize any legal risks. Additionally, their knowledge of the local market can also aid in attracting and retaining top talent.

Reputation and references

It's essential to research an EOR's reputation and ask for references from previous clients. This will give you insight into their track record and level of satisfaction from other companies who have used their services.

Check the reviews of reputable websites and companies that provided EOR customer reviews to get a sense of the advantages of working with that particular EOR.

Reaching out to other industry businesses with experience working with EORs can also provide valuable insights.

Services offered

Consider what services the EOR offers, such as payroll, benefits administration, and compliance support. Ensure that they can fulfill the specific needs of your business and employees in the countries where you plan to expand.


Look for an EOR that utilizes up-to-date technology to streamline HR processes and enhance communication between the client company, employees, and the EOR.

Communication is critical to getting the best results from an EOR, so it's essential to choose a provider with efficient and effective communication channels and the technology to support it.


While cost should not be the sole factor in choosing an EOR, it's important to understand the fees and pricing structure involved and ensure that it fits within your company’s budget.

Knit's Global EOR Services

Knit specializes in global employment solutions, including Employer of Record (EOR) services. Our experienced team deeply understands local labor laws and regulations, allowing us to ensure compliance and reduce risks for our clients.

We offer a range of services, including payroll management, benefits administration, global contractor management, and HR support, all tailored to each client's and their employees' specific needs.

With Knit as your EOR partner, you can focus on growing your business while we handle the administrative tasks of global employment!

Hire Talent Anywhere With an Employer of Record

An Employer of Record is a valuable solution for businesses looking to expand globally. By partnering with an EOR, companies can quickly and easily hire talent in different countries without the need to set up legal entities or navigate complex employment laws.

If you're looking for a trusted and reliable EOR, consider Knit. Our team of experts is committed to providing exceptional global employment solutions that allow businesses to thrive in new markets.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can support your global expansion journey.

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