The Ultimate Legal Guide for an Overseas Government Contractor

The Ultimate Legal Guide for an Overseas Government Contractor

Sep 21, 2019 | Defense Base Act, Workplace Injury

Almost 9 million U.S. citizens live abroad. Some are retirees or students, but a large percentage of Americans living abroad are outside of the U.S. for work. For many people, there are plenty of perks to working overseas.

For example:

  • Travel
  • Immersion in a different culture
  • Financial incentives
  • Use skills 

The rewards of taking your skills abroad can be huge. You can take your needed skills to another country that has a shortage. The pay offered can be a multiple of your salary in the U.S.

Overseas government contractors are civilian workers who provide services abroad. They work a limited job scope and draw pay from a governmental agency. Read on to learn more.

Overseas Contractors in the Security Industry

Government contractors in the security industry find new uses for their military training once they leave service. A security clearance is a valuable asset needed by many positions. Many firms even pay a premium for employees with security clearances.

It is much easier to upgrade a security clearance than it is to try to get one from scratch.  In addition, some employers prefer contractors because no training is needed.

Even if the job performed is the same action, with the same equipment, and in conditions as a direct employee, a contractor may find themselves with a larger take-home paycheck.

What About Labor Laws?

In the United States, workers’ compensation insurance is standard in every state.  A person injured on the job has protections guaranteed by law.  

Government contractors in the security industry have access to a system similar to the U.S. form of workers’ compensation. Through the Defense Base Act, people who work for companies that have contracts with the State Department or Department of Defense to support the military are eligible. 

Like workers compensation, persons injured on the job are entitled to:

  • Medical treatment for their injuries
  • Compensation for lost wages due to their injuries
  • Compensation if the injuries prevent them from returning to their job abroad or taking a job at their previous wage at home

Injuries incurred on the job can be physical or psychological in nature.

Are Government Contractors Governed By Military Law?

Government contractors are civilians. Certain contractors are prosecutable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice if deployed in a “declared war or contingency operation.” For the most part, contractors behavior abroad operates under the law of the host country.

U.S. law governs the contract, however. Expect that as a contractor, enforcement, compensation, and dispute resolution are all handled according to U.S. regulations and in U.S. courts.

Service to the U.S. as a Civilian

Men and women who continue to serve the U.S. as civilian government contractors provide security, interpretation, and other functions. They allow military personnel to focus on their mission without interruption or distraction.

Travel, a sense of fulfillment, and financial incentives—overseas contract work has many rewards!

The laws governing worker behavior and worker protections are different from the military. If you have an injury on the job, you have similar protections as an employee in the U.S. For more information about making a claim, contact us today.