Go back

Teleworking abroad: what about social security?

27 June 2023 Christophe Hameeuw Employers

Teleworking is usually performed from your home office, but with a good internet connection, you can work anywhere in the world. From 1 July 2023, it will be possible to allow limited teleworking from abroad under certain conditions, without compromising social security.

Reading time: Read later?

The 25% rule: what about it again?

According to European Regulation 883/2004, a employee can only be subject to the social security system of one country. In principle, an employee living and working in Belgium pays Belgian social security contributions and taxes.

If your employee works on a recurring basis in different countries, the regulation determines which member state can levy social security. For an employee performing at least 25% of working time in his or her country of residence, the social security system of the country of residence applies. This applies to both employee and employer's contributions.

For example: Are you a Belgian employer and employing a Dutch employee? If your employee works from home two days a week and works the other days at the office in Belgium, this employee is covered by the Dutch social security system. Consequently, you have to join up with the Dutch government services to pay Dutch social security contributions.

Cross-border home working during corona

During Covid, lots companies were forced to close their doors. Employees working across borders were also required to work from home. To avoid this resulting in a change in social security, the international social security authorities decided that 'compulsory home working' should not affect the applicable social security system. This tolerance expires on 30 June, which basically means that the European standard rules, as described above, become applicable once again.

Tolerance extended from 1 July 2023

Although the pandemic is now largely behind us, structural teleworking has become well established. Therefore, a new European framework agreement makes it possible to deviate from the usual 25% rule under certain conditions.

The criteria are as follows:

  • Both countries concerned signed the framework agreement.
  • This concerns employees (the self-employed and civil servants are excluded).
  • The employee works remotely less than 50% from abroad.
  • It refers to telework in the sense of working on the basis of an internet connection (among other things, the agreement does not apply to manual labour delivered from home, nor to representatives on the job in their country of residence).
  • The employee may have one or more employer(s) in the country of work, but no employer in the country of residence.
  • A maximum of two Member States are involved (however, ad-hoc movements to third countries are allowed)
  • The employer is located in the Member State other than the employee's Member State of residence.
  • There must be an agreement between employee and employer to apply this exception regime. The application of this exception is a choice, not an obligation.

Specifically, employees working remotely remain subject to the social security system of the country employing them, provided they perform less than 50% of their working time remotely. If they work at least 50% abroad, they are still covered by the social security system of their country of residence.

Which countries are participating?

The framework agreement will remain in force for five years, with automatic renewal for the same period each time. Meanwhile, both Belgium and the Netherlands have signed the agreement.

For example: As a Belgian employer, do you employ a Dutch employee from 1 July 2023 who works two days a week from home and three days a week at the office in Belgium? If so – just as under the old rules – this worker falls under the Dutch social security system. However, subject to agreement between employer and employee, both parties can decide to still apply the Belgian social security system. A request must then be submitted to the social security authorities for this purpose.

Also participating are Germany, Finland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Austria, Norway, Slovakia Republic, Czechia and Switzerland. Other countries may join this story in the coming months.

How do I submit a request?

As under the current rules, an A1 document will be issued when invoking this exception procedure. The application must be filed in the country where the employer's registered office is located.

The new rules may be applied both to existing situations of cross-border employment and to new situations. Unfortunately, the scheme does not apply for tax purposes and the employee becomes taxable in his or her home country from the first day of teleworking. This may also impose additional obligations on the employer.

International employment support?

Employing employees across borders? Our experienced consultants are at your service with legal advice, practical support and an approach tailored to your organisation.

International employment

Share this post

Written by Christophe Hameeuw

Managing consultant Tax & International

Related articles


Late to work due to traffic disruption

15 September 2023 Miet Vanhegen

What if your employees arrive late to work because of traffic disruption? Are they still entitled to their wages?

Read more

What if your employee is tuck at his holiday destination?

03 August 2023 Dries Rutten

Extreme weather such as fierce forest fires and hailstorms upset the holidays of many Belgians. For holidaymakers hit by severe weather, starting start the journey home in good time is by no means easy. What if your employee is unable to return in time to resume work?

Read more

What if there's too much or too little work during the holidays?

25 July 2023 Amandine Boseret

While the summer period is not a busy one for lots of companies, peace and quiet can be hard to find when your employees are on holiday. Those left behind often have to take on more tasks – the duties of those absent. What's the best way to prepare for the hustle and bustle, or the calm, of the summer holidays? What if there's too much work? What i...

Read more