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Some people work in one country and live in another. The European coordinating regulations 883/2004 and 987/2009 on social security determine which Member State is competent in case of a cross-border work pattern. Due to measures being taken to curb the spread of Covid-19, more people are now working from home. This may affect the applicable social security system.

Employees working in two or more countries are insured in their country of residence if they pursue a substantial part of their activity there. A ‘substantial part' means at least 25% of their working time and/or their remuneration, but other elements can be relevant as well as their overall situation. Due to Covid-19, the Belgian government decided to introduce a number of social distance measures including the increase of teleworking. Cross-boarder workers need to work from their country of residence. This can lead to an employment of at least 25% in the country of residence, which results in the competence of this state.

The sudden change of the applicable social security system can have negative consequences. In order to avoid these negative consequences, the Belgian Social Security Services (NSSO) have taken the pragmatic decision that teleworking in the country of residence has no consequences for the submission to the Belgian social security. The determination of the applicable social security will not be impacted by the increased use of teleworking due to Covid-19. A1 forms remain valid and no action is required from employers or employees.

The execution of the decision does not require any single action by the employer or the worker. The NSSO needn’t be notified by the employer nor is it necessary to apply for an A1 document. There are only two conditions to be met. The changed work pattern may be only due to the virus mitigation measures and the work pattern must be normalized again as soon as the restrictions will be lifted. The Belgian authorities recommend to have these exceptional changes to the working pattern formalized between employer and employee in a written agreement or in detailed instructions via e-mail.

This measure applies during the official timeframe of the Covid-19 restrictions from March 13 till at least April 5. Today has been announced the restrictions are lengthened till April 19 (for now). For cross-border employment related to countries with which Belgium has a bilateral social security treaty, the Belgian social security authorities need to be informed and every case will be treated individually.

In cases where teleworking in Belgium is permitted to employees normally working in another EEA country or Switzerland, no Limosa should be reported. If a notification has already been made, but the place of employment does not correspond to the teleworkplace, the notification should not be adjusted. This rule is only applicable to teleworking and not to other changes of the work pattern.

Neighbour countries such as France, Germany, Luxembourg and Denmark have already taken similar ‘no impact’ measures.

Kurt Devos / Valerie Demasure (Odigo)

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