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News article13 November 2023European Labour Authority, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion3 min read

What’s the latest on cross-border telework and social security?

Even as COVID-19 restrictions have eased, telework remains prevalent, especially in cross-border employment. This article will guide you through the key rules on telework.

What’s the latest on cross-border telework and social security?

State of insurance

Under EU Social Security Coordination (SSC) Regulations, the state where a worker is insured is primarily dictated by where the work is performed. In the context of cross-border employment, telework can potentially lead to a change in the state of insurance. This shift is especially likely if telework constitutes more than 25% of an employee’s working hours, as work that would typically be carried out at the employer’s premises is now conducted remotely from the employee’s state of residence.

Temporary measures during the pandemic

To address the above challenge, the Administrative Commission enacted temporary measures during the COVID‑19 pandemic. These measures clarified that telework conducted in a Member State other than the state of the employer due to COVID-19 should not trigger a change in the state of insurance. However, these exceptional pandemic-related measures ceased to apply on 30 June 2023.

Introducing the new framework

Recognising the growing importance of telework, the Administrative Commission introduced a new framework to ensure flexibility. As of 1 July 2023, the Guidance Note on Telework and the Framework Agreement on Cross-Border Telework (TWA) are in effect.

Key points of the TWA

  • The TWA applies to situations where both the state of the employer’s seat and the state of residence are signatories to the TWA, and work is divided between remote and on-site work.
  • It does not apply to self-employed individuals.
  • The list of signatory states can be found on the official website.

Assessing cross-border telework under the TWA

The extent of remote work plays a pivotal role in determining the application of the TWA:

  • Telework in the worker’s state of residence is less than 25% of working time. In this scenario, the worker remains insured in the state of their employer under standard rules. Their state of residence should be notified.
  • Telework in the worker’s state of residence is between 25% and 49% of working time, and both states are TWA signatories. In this case, upon request to the employer’s state under the TWA, the worker may be insured in the employer’s state (with consent from both the worker and employer) for a maximum period of three years, which can be renewed.
  • Telework in the worker’s state of residence is 25% or more of working time, and one/both states are not TWA signatories or telework is 50% or more. In such instances, the worker’s state of residence should be notified. Generally, the worker will be insured in their state of residence. However, requests for exemption under Article 16 of Regulation 883/2004 can be made, which could allow them to be insured in the state of the employer. Both states involved must approve this.

Complex cases

For complex cases involving activities in more than two Member States, work for various employers in different states, or simultaneous work as an employee and self-employed, the state of residence must be notified.

Legal assessments must be undertaken to determine the state of insurance. In all situations, a request for exemption from standard rules can be made under Article 16 of Regulation 883/2004, which will be considered by the states involved.

Overall, the TWA provides both flexibility and clarity for employees and employers engaged in cross‑border employment. You can read it here.


Related links:

Social Security Coordination (SSC) Regulations

Guidance Note on Telework

Framework Agreement on Cross-Border Telework (TWA)

List of TWA signatory states


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