by Lieven Goossens and Hannelore Durieu
The transition period for teleworkers in cross-border employment was recently extended to 30 June 2023. As a result, the measures in place during the coronavirus pandemic are still in place. Also, the social security system currently applicable to cross-border workers working from home will in principle continue to apply. This includes when these cross-border workers spend more than 25% of their total working time teleworking in their home country. The renewed transition period should allow the EU ad hoc working group on telework to finalise their recommendations so that updated regulations on telework can be worked out and implemented in European member states. We are happy to tell you more about it.
A classic European cross-border worker is an employee living in a neighbouring country of the member state where they are working full-time. As a result of the employment in the country of work, the cross-border worker also pays social security in the country of work as a result of performing less than 25% of their total working time in their country of residence.
The measures as a result of the corona pandemic have normalised teleworking in our labour market. This also applies to cross-border workers, who were first forced to work from home by the closing of the borders and then recommended by the government to work from home. As a result, cross-border workers suddenly started working more than 25% in their state of residence, which meant that, in accordance with the EU Social Security Co-ordination Regulations, the social security system of the state of residence should have applied.
The EU, by temporarily suspending the European rules in Regulation 883/2004, prevented temporary changes to the applicable legislation due to homeworking during the lockdown. As a result, the social security situation of cross-border teleworkers remained unchanged. In this way, unpleasant consequences for the employer (and employee) were avoided, such as having to start up a payroll abroad in order to be able to hand over the cross-border worker’s social security contributions in their home country.
With the normalisation of telework during the coronavirus pandemic and the increasing demand by workers to engage in telework, the EU has found that the established conflict of laws rules in the regulations are simply no longer suitable for hybrid and flexible forms of employment. The question now, therefore, is whether the regulatory suspension should be extended permanently. Or should new regulations be developed that are better suited to hybrid and flexible forms of employment?
At the moment it is largely a matter of conjecture what solutions will be found at European level. However, we expect that the regulations on coordination of social security for cross-border workers, which applied before the pandemic, will no longer be applied in the same way as before. It is therefore possible that the extension until 30 June 2023 will be extended again until 31 December 2023.
Questions? Or would you like more information on teleworking within the EU? Do not hesitate to contact one of our specialists.
In our opinions, we rely on current legislation, interpretations and legal doctrine. This does not prevent the administration from disputing them or from changing existing interpretations.
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