Cross-border telework in relation to the EU/EFTA

Multilateral agreement as of the 1st of July 2023

Since the coronavirus pandemic, the EU social security affiliation rules under the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons and the EFTA Convention have been applied flexibly in relation to cross-border telework. This special arrangement was for a limited period, ending on the 30th of June 2023, and will not be extended. Switzerland has now signed a multilateral agreement facilitating telework for persons residing in certain EU or EFTA countries. The agreement is applicable from the 1st of July 2023 and provides for the following:

With regard to persons who work in the country in which their employer's registered office is located and who spend less than 50% (maximum 49.9%) of their working time performing cross-border telework in their country of residence, the country in which the employer's registered office is located remains responsible for social security, as per this multilateral agreement.

For the agreement to apply, both the country in which the employer's registered office is located and the employee's country of residence must have signed it.

So far, the agreement has been signed by the following countries: Switzerland, Germany, France, Liechtenstein, the Czech Republic, Austria, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Belgium, Luxembourg, Finland, Norway, Portugal and Spain.

The agreement is not applicable to:

  • Persons who, alongside telework in their country of residence, also habitually pursue other professional activity there (e.g. regular visits to clients, or self-employed activity as a secondary occupation), even if that country has signed the multilateral agreement.
  • Persons who, alongside telework in their country of residence, habitually pursue a professional activity in another EU or EFTA country.
  • Persons who, alongside working for their Swiss employer, also work for an employer in the EU or in an EFTA country.
  • Self-employed persons.

The agreement applies to cross-border telework that amounts to between 25% and 50% of the total working time. For cross-border telework amounting to less than 25%, even if the telework takes place in a country that has signed the agreement, the ordinary rules and procedures (whereby the country of residence determines the applicable legislation) apply again from the 1st of July 2023 onwards. The same applies to cases of cross-border telework in a country that has not signed the multilateral agreement.

Implementation in ALPS:

For the agreement to apply, an application must be filed in the employer's country. Employers in Switzerland can compile and submit the application in the ALPS information system themselves. For this purpose, the new business event 'cross-border telework' is available from the 1st of July 2023 onwards.

The A1 certificate is generally valid from the date of application, but can be issued with up to three months' retroactive effect. In addition, a transitional arrangement enables it to be issued with retroactive effect from the 1st of July 2023, for applications submitted by the end of June 2024. Thus, there is no need to submit the application immediately on the 1st of July 2023.

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