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Great advice Chuck! I worked with a CEO once that couldn't understand why employees in Europe had so many holidays. He didn't see the value in having any more than 10-12 days when many countries in Europe have 20 or more.

Companies must, must, must look at not only what is mandatory in a given country but what is competitive.

Thanks for the reminder, Chuck. All rewards are valued relative to the local expectation level. Every country and every culture has its own standard of comparison. "Identical" may be easy to administer, but it is rarely appropriate, often illegal and typically shortsighted.

Anyone whose HQ suffers from the delusion that everyplace is the same needs a copy of your article to show top management.

This is an age old problem and will continue as such so long as the drive is the head office country and everything is measured against, in this case the $.
It will need a mindset change from being a business with operations abroad to a truely international company.
Sadly, also, it would appear that fewer HQ staff, inlcuding HR, get to travel and get to know what it's like in eachlocation.

I've been hearing this for close to twenty years. I even heard of one instance where the local office lied to the US Head Office in order to get the right candidate: they gave the employee four weeks, but told the US they'd given three.

US policy was a maximum of three weeks leave. Local law was a minimum of three weeks leave, plus statutory holidays, sick leave plus bereavement leave, jury duty etc. Custom was for management employees to get four weeks' leave.

Great point Chuck!! I would just add that the greatest violation of this principle in US multinationals is in the variable compensation space.

How many readers of your article shook their heads and thought "silly neophytes"...and yet have variable compensation programs that assume that, for example, their Director in France should have the same bonus opportunity as their Director in the US!! Really?? Different vacation entitlements, but the same bonus opportunity??

Why can US multinationals have good global (i.e., local) discipline on fixed remuneration, and go completely flaccid on variable comp??

Great article! We are struggling with this very issue since acquiring a location in a rural part of Alberta, Canada. Any advice on gathering reliable compensation data too?

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