Cross-border workers: working from home due to COVID-19 will not affect your social insurance for the time being
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the governments of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands have advised or required workers to work from home where possible, to help prevent the spread of the virus.
As a result, many cross-border workers are having to work in a different country than usual. In normal circumstances, this would affect their social security and tax position. However, the countries of the European Union (EU) made arrangements at the start of the pandemic to avoid any such changes.
What is the situation now?
If you are a cross-border worker and you have been advised or required to work from home, you will not be faced with any changes in your social insurance position until 1 January 2022 at the earliest.
In the Administrative Commission’s meeting of 17 June, the countries of the EU, EEA (European Economic Area) and Switzerland agreed to extend their ‘COVID-19 non-impact policy’. It is up to the individual countries to incorporate the agreement into their national policies on social insurance for employees and self-employed persons working across the border.
- Working from home in Belgium
The Belgian federal government has decided that the social insurance position of cross-border workers will not change if they work from home (‘telework’) due to COVID-19. Instead, the period of telework will be treated as a normal period of work. This decision currently applies from 13 March 2020 until 31 December 2021.
- Working from home in the Netherlands
The SVB will treat a change in work pattern due to COVID-19 as a continuation of the normal work pattern. This will in any event apply for cross-border workers and persons working in multiple member states. No end date has been set for this policy.
- Working from home in Germany
DVKA (Deutsche Verbindungsstelle Krankenversicherung-Ausland) has announced on its website that the COVID-19 policy concerning working in multiple countries has been extended until at least 31 December 2021. With respect to France, the policy has been extended until at least 1 October 2021.
NB: changes in work pattern that are not related to COVID-19 could affect a worker’s social insurance position. In such cases, employees and self-employed persons must apply to the competent agency in their country of residence for a decision, or new decision, on their social insurance position.
Days worked from home can be treated as days worked in the country where the cross-border worker would normally work, on condition that these days are taxed in that country. Belgium and the Netherlands and Germany have extended the tax agreement until 30 September 2021.