BREXIT – Changes for UK employers sending workers to the EU, the EEA or Switzerland

Currently, if you send your employees to work in the EEA, your employee might be able to carry on paying national insurance in the UK for up to 2 years.  This will protect the employee’s UK national insurance record, which affects rights to benefits and the state pension.  This will also provide proof for the authorities in the country where the work is performed that social security contributions are not required.  To do this, you or your employee will usually be required to apply for a Portable Document A1.

In the event the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, there may be changes for UK employers who have people working in the EU, the EEA or Switzerland.

The EU Social Security Coordination Regulations ensure employers and their workers only need to pay social security contributions (such as National Insurance contributions in the UK) in one country at a time. However, if we leave without an agreement, the coordination between the UK and the EU will end.

This will mean that your employees working in the EU, the EEA or Switzerland may need to make social security contributions in both the UK and the country in which they are working at the same time.

Businesses will need to do the following to prepare:
  • If your employee is currently working in the EU, the EEA or Switzerland and has a UK-issued A1/E101 form, they will continue to pay UK National Insurance contributions for the duration of the time shown on the form.
  • However, if the end date on the form goes beyond Brexit day, you will need to contact the relevant EU / EEA or Swiss authority to confirm whether or not your employee needs to start paying social security contributions in that country from that date. The European Commission’s website will help you find the relevant country’s authority.
  • If your employee is a UK or Irish national working in Ireland, their position will not change after Brexit, they are covered under the international agreement signed by the UK and Ireland in February 2019. You, as their employer, won’t need to take any action.
  • A replacement for the A1/E101 form will be issued for new applications after Brexit. This ensures your employee continues to make UK National Insurance contributions to maintain their social security record. You can still use the same form on GOV.UK to make an application after the UK has left the EU.

The UK Government has announced it is working to protect UK nationals by seeking reciprocal arrangements with the EU or Member States to maintain existing social security coordination for a transitional period until 31 December 2020. Individuals in scope of these arrangements will only pay social security contributions in one country at a time.

If you would like to discuss the blog in more detail please contact David Bennett or Alex Gardner or call 01772 821021.