If you have employees working in the EU, there are social security contributions required depending on the country and length of stay. The EU created regulations to ensure employees only pay social security contributions to one country at a time to eliminate potential double social security contributions. But if you have employees working across multiple countries in the EU, there are documents required to ensure employees don’t have to make double contributions.
What is an A1 Certificate?
If you send employees to multiple countries within the EU, you must first secure an A1 certificate from the country in which the employee routinely pays social security contributions.
An A1 certificate is proof of social security coverage in the employee home country and is valid for two years. Employers are responsible for applying and managing the A1 certificate on behalf of their employees.
How does it work?
In order for employees to be covered by the social security system in their home country, employers must request an A1 form from the social security office in the employee home country as well as notify the new host country social security authorities before the employee begins work in that country. Each country has specific regulations related to social security contributions, and fines can be steep for non-compliance. In Portugal, if an employee fails to show an A1 certificate during a labor inspection, they will be fined. In Germany, employees do not need an A1 certificate as long as they are not working more than one week there.
Some countries outside the EU have bilateral treaties that ensure only one country is taking social security contributions at a time. But before you begin sending employees to a foreign country, it’s important to ensure compliance with the social security requirements in that country and determine whether a certificate of social security coverage is needed.
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