What is Secondment | Everything You Need to Know

Secondment is a short time job position of a worker, who is allotted to a unique position in the same or different organization. Many standard companies use A secondment, for major reasons like creating a better business relationship with other companies/firms, enjoying the qualities of the secondee, and/or improving certain qualities of a secondee. Usually, workers after a secondment always attain more knowledge and experiences that would bring more value to their previous job position.

Unlike some agreements, secondment has an expiry period, although this can be decided when drafting the agreement at the beginning, in most cases when the agreement is over/expired, the secondee will return to their previous company or job position with a valuable set of skills that would be beneficiary to the growth of their career and that of their previous placement.

Secondment is about the management of a company helping their workers broaden their experience, usually at the start of their career in the company. They do this by placing an employee in a different department, office, and business for a short period. To validate a secondment agreement, the secondee, the employer, and the host company will accept the terms and conditions of the agreement.

It is important for the secondee, the employer, and the host company to understand what the meaning of the secondment agreement is, the conditions involved, the legal and practical aspects of the whole contract, how it works, and how to protect your share as a secondee. This overview will give you an insight into understanding secondment and how it works.

What is Secondment?

Secondment is used by employers to transfer an employee from their present position to a different position in the same organization or a different one for a short period. 

A secondment of employment is a famous and important body of human resource management in commercial establishments. The importance of secondment in any working place cannot be disregarded, as its impact on organizations is quite vital to the companies and their workers.

Most companies use secondment as a better way to build comprehensive talent management programs and improve their employee’s skill sets.

In a secondment of employees, three important parties are needed to be present during a secondment agreement. 

#1. The employer/ The Seconder:

Employers are usually the first person to suggest the idea of a secondment, they create a secondment of employment so they can transfer their employees around the business to balance the workforce in case they lay off some of their employees. Doing this will help the secondee gain skills that will be relevant in their organization. 

The main purpose of a secondment agreement is basically that once the agreement is expired, the secondee will return to the main employer. in general, there is a high risk of the secondee becoming the host’s employee regardless of the initial agreement. 

During a secondment of employment, the employer must guarantee that the secondee agrees to them before finalizing the agreement. The employer must know that they will be the one to pay for the secondee’s salaries, bonuses, training costs, expenses, and wages. The employer should know about the terms and conditions regarding a secondment agreement.

#2. The Host Company:

The host company is the one to receive the secondee for a short period. The host company is only needed in terms of an external secondment since internal secondment always occurs within the organization. But in an external secondment of employment, the host company will take on the secondee for a limited time frame. 

Normally, both the employer and the host company will benefit from this agreement, and likewise, the secondee. The host company gains more exposure to new management features through the secondee, with unique development at no additional cost, and if it is an international secondment of the employment agreement, it will introduce the host company to the international business markets and environment. 

For the host company, the secondment of employment is a strategic tool for the best use of their human resources incurring no long-term employment costs, and this will help them stay on budget.

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#3. The Secondee:

 The secondee is the employee who will be transferred to another company or other department in the same organization. The primary duty of a secondee is to carry out the work that is allocated to them.

 As a secondee, you can only do the specified duties in the agreement and not necessarily what the host wants. And this is one of the resows why the agreement should be well-detailed, in a case whereby the secondee is not carrying out their duties, the host can compel the secondee into doing the needful. 

It’s no doubt that the right a secondee has is more than that of the host, but the agreement will stand as the power that will help against the termination of the contract. If the contract is well constructed, the duties clause should be sufficiently wide to cover any work that the host will want the secondee to do.

During the secondment contract duration, the secondee and the employer are required to keep classified information they got from the host a secret, and they must confirm that every confidential information will not be disclosed to the public.

How to avoid a sticky situation during the secondment of employment?

Although secondment has lots of benefits to all the parties involved in the agreement, things can easily go south, especially in an external secondment. As the employer, you can avoid the risk of the secondee becoming the host’s employee by doing a few of these tips:

  • To avoid a sticky situation, the employer has to ensure that the secondee does not owe any duties directly to the host company, but only to the organization.
  • The employer needs to be updated about how the situation is during the secondment time frame. As a seconder, you are not to lose track of your employee, and that way you keep the control of your employee.
  • The employer should be the one to carry out any appraisals, grievance procedures, or disciplinary on the secondee and not the host company. And that way the secondee will not be held as the host’s worker.
  • During the agreement, the employer has to ensure that the host company does not owe any duties to the secondee, but only to the organization.

What is the importance of secondment of employment?

So many top companies make use of the secondment of employment for various reasons that are beneficial to the parties involved. 

These are the importance of secondment of employment:

  • Organizations often use A secondment of employment to help strengthen relationships in the company or outside the company by transferring knowledgeable details or to help support the host’s company.
  • In a different scenario, a secondment will provide personal and professional development in the secondee’s career.
  • A secondment agreement is used to manage the workforce of an organization in various group businesses, departments, or/and projects within.
  • The secondee will have the access to gain more experience in new technologies, and new ideas, and attain more knowledge in various work cultures without needing to spend.
  • A secondment of employment will help boost both the host and the seconder’s reputation while gaining a new set of skills.
  • It is a win-win for every member of the agreement, the secondee will probably receive a promotion at the end of the contract which will enhance his/her career.
  • A secondment will help the seconder with excessive staff, especially if their employees have the same set of skills, they can transfer the secondee to a different department in the organization or to a different company. This will also help the career development of the secondee.
  • It will help the employees work on different short term Providing staff with the chance to work on short-term projects.

Why should you Consider Setting up a Secondment?

Secondment of employment is quite common within larger organizations. While some have a special reason for these agreements, others are likely looking for ways to better their employees.

A secondment is like an investment an employer will risk for the growth of their organization, although with external secondment, a party in the agreement gets to benefit from the contract. 

Likewise in an internal secondment, the employee will also get to gain a new set of skills that will be beneficial to his/her career and that of their previous department. As a seconder willing to invest in a secondment agreement, you’ll not only get to improve your employee’s abilities, but this will also help your company grow immensely.

Types of Secondment of Employment

Secondment of employment can be classified into two groups (i) internal secondment and (ii)external secondment. 

What is an Internal Secondment?

In secondment of employment, an internal secondment is a short-term transfer of an employee (the secondee) from their present job to another role for a specific reason, and this will mostly benefit both the employee and the employer. It can be made as an immediate appointment, an internal secondment usually last from 6 months to 2 years. 

In case the time frame of the appointment is lesser than six months, the agreement can be made via the usual recruitment process in the company, while the employer will avoid making the position available to the public.

When an organization decides to make use of an internal secondment for an employee, it is mostly because they are aware of the abilities, skills, knowledge, and experience the employee has will be perfect for a different position in the company. This can also come off as a promotion for such an employee.

Unlike external secondment which requires a lot of paperwork, the internal secondment can be treated informally. Regardless of the situation, the secondee needs to understand if they’d be willing to deploy and the wages should be carefully discussed.

What is an External Secondment of Employment?

In the secondment of employment, an external secondment is a short-term transfer of an employee to another organization. An external secondment can be international or local, and in most cases, it is usually international. This type of secondment help to strengthen work relationships between companies that have professional partnerships or offices overseas or/and interstate.

In an external secondment, things can get complicated easily, especially when the seconder can’t control the secondee. The secondee can become the host’s permanent worker if the employee is not watchful.

And this is why it is important to have an active agreement that will be favorable to all parties involved. Having a secondment agreement that would clarify what happens during and after the end of the contract will help protect each party involved.

Are Agreements needed in a Secondment?

As much as secondment of employment is a benefit to all parties involved, it also has several legal issues that arise during or after the secondment. 

Whether it is an internal or external secondment, it must create an agreement for clarity. The parties to the agreement must understand the purpose and details of the agreement. 

Clarity is vital in a secondment agreement. As the seconder, ensure that you outline the host’s responsibilities in the Secondment agreement, to avoid the risk of losing your secondee to the host.

 As the seconder, You need to review the existing terms of the secondee’s contract of employment before proceeding with the contract.

In an internal secondment, an agreement letter of a secondee is acceptable, and if the secondee is not comfortable with the terms and conditions of the contract, they can easily reject the offer. As a secondee, you have the right to refuse the secondment of employment. Only the seconder and the secondee are involved in this agreement.

In an external secondment, the three parties will have to review the agreement documents and accept the terms and conditions. When issues arise during the secondment or/and things are not going according to plans, the three parties can decide whether they should proceed with the contract or not.

Who pays the secondee during the secondment contract?

In a secondment of employment, the employer is still responsible for the secondee. The employer of the secondee will be the only one paying the salaries and incentives, and the host company usually pays a secondment fee to the seconder regularly during the contract.


What is the Duration of a secondment?

Three months to 2 years.

Is the secondment process difficult?

The process is not difficult.

Is secondment bad for an employee?

As an employee, you get to benefit more from a secondment agreement.

Can secondment be forced on a secondee?

An employer does not have the right to force his/her employee.

Who benefits most in a secondment agreement?

All parties in a secondment agreement get to benefit from a secondment agreement, although it is not an equal portion.


A Secondment agreement allows an employer to transfer an employee to other companies. In a secondment agreement, there are three(3) participants to a secondment agreement, the employer, the secondee, and the host. we hope this overview gives you the right answers to your questions.



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