Are your employees planning to travel to Europe on business? Depending on the country and the length of an employee’s stay, they may owe social security contributions to the country in which they are working.
The EU created a regulation that provides that employees pay social security contributions to only one country at a time, eliminating double social security contributions. Employers wishing to send their employees from one European country to another for work must secure an A1 Certificate from the social security institution to which the employee normally pays contributions. This certificate is proof of social security coverage and is valid for two years.
Employers should secure this proof of coverage before the employee commences work in the foreign country. Some countries, like Portugal, impose steep fines for failure to produce an A1 Certificate during labor inspections. Other countries, like Germany, do not require an A1 Certificate for business that lasts for a week or less. In the case of an emergency, employees may begin work before acquiring an A1 Certificate. However, employers must secure an A1 Certificate as soon as possible after deploying their workforce to address such emergencies.
Some countries outside Europe have bilateral treaties that accomplish the same goal—social security contributions due to only one country at a time. Before sending an employee for business to a foreign country, it is important to check the social security contribution requirements and determine whether a certificate of social security coverage is needed.
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