Connecticut, US

Jun 25 2019

A1 Certificate of Social Security Coverage No Longer Required for Short Notice or Short-Term Business Travel to Germany

Germany

At a Glance

  • According to recent guidance published by the German Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, employers sending employees to Germany on short notice or for business travel up to one week no longer need to request an A1 certificate of coverage prior to the employee’s travel. Instead, such employers can obtain the A1 certificate retrospectively in such cases, i.e. after the employee has started their activities in Germany.
  • In the guidance, the German authorities acknowledge that some other European countries still require the A1 certificate before employees start working, in which case employers should meet the requirements of the respective countries.

The situation

The German Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs issued guidance that relaxes the rules regarding the requirement to obtain A1 certificates of social security coverage for employees travelling on short notice or for business activities up to one week to Germany.

A closer look

According to the German Ministry, neither the EU Regulations on the Coordination of Social Security Systems, European Court of Justice case law nor German national law requires employers to obtain A1 certificates prior to any short-term or short-notice travel.

Impact

Employers sending employees to Germany on short notice or for business trips of up to one week no longer need to request an A1 certificate prior to the start of the assignment. This eases the administrative and financial burden for companies sending frequent business travelers to Germany.

Following Fragomen’s inquiry, the German customs authorities (authorized in Germany to check employers’ compliance with the posted worker rules), confirmed that in case of an inspection, employees will not be fined for not having the A1 certificate available, but only asked to provide it retroactively.

Background

  • A1 certificate requirements. An A1 certificate of coverage is a social security document confirming that the employee remains subject to the coverage of their home country’s social security system during a temporary work stay in another country. The certificate is issued on the basis of the EU Regulations on the Coordination of Social Security Systems, which are directly applicable in EU Member States, the other European Economic Area Member States (Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland.
  • A1 certificate rules in Europe. Germany is one of the first countries in Europe to take an official position regarding the A1 requirement for short notice or short-term business travel, offering more clarity to employers. Many other European countries still require that the employer present the A1 certificate on the first day of work. In such cases, employers are responsible for obtaining the A1 certificate prior to the employee’s trip and for maintaining it for workplace inspections in the host country at all times. Failure to provide the document at an inspection can lead to steep fines for the employer (e.g. between EUR 1,000 and EUR 10,000 in Austria). The German guidance encourages employers to abide by this requirement in the countries that require it in the context of immigration, posted worker and social security rules.

 

Looking ahead

This German guidance takes a progressive step toward facilitating the free movement of workers within the European Union and allowing for efficiency in the European single market. This change may inspire other European countries to adopt easier A1 certificate requirements for short-notice or short-term business travel. Fragomen will report on further relevant developments in this area and can assist in work readiness efforts. 

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to Frankfurtinfo@fragomen.com .