Posted: 30 Nov. 2020

The future of remote working: Remote work/ Cross border commuters - Extension of flexible Social Security approach until 30 June

The Swiss social security administration has communicated that the current “flexible approach” in regards to maintaining ordinary cross-border commuters (who have been having to work from home) in the Swiss social security and pension system will continue to be valid until the 30 June 2021.

According to the European regulation on social security coordination for cross-border workers, working more than 25% of one’s time from home can lead to a switch from paying social security in one’s country of work (e.g. Switzerland) to one’s country of residence (e.g. France or Germany). This has caused concern from cross-border workers and their employers where working from home is simply a consequence of the pandemic. A flexible approach, therefore, had been adopted by the Swiss social security administration in agreement with neighboring countries, which was due to expire on the 31 December. Please read our earlier blogs for more information on this.

As the end of the year of approaches, the EU has yet to publish European-wide guidance on this question and has left it up to individual EU / EFTA countries to develop a bilateral approach. An EU-wide position would have removed uncertainty for both employees and employers across the EU / EFTA zone.

Unfortunately, no agreement has been reached between EU member states on this topic and given the number of cross-border workers in Switzerland, the Swiss social security authorities have been actively seeking to finalize bilateral agreements and it has been communicated on the 25 November that the current “flexible approach” will continue to be valid until the 30 June 2021. This approach applies to Austria, France, Germany and Italy meaning that ordinary cross-border workers from these countries normally should not be forced to affiliate to their home country social security and pension systems due to being required to work from home.

To summarise the confirmed positions:

Flexible application until
Italy30 June 2021
France30 June 2021
Germany30 June 2021
Austria    30 June 2021

Belgium has also confirmed recently that they will also apply the flexible approach until the 30 June 2021 and it can be expected that Switzerland will reciprocate.

Deloitte’s view

The extension is welcome news for cross-border commuters living in countries neighbouring Switzerland (and Belgium!), however, a more developed European wide approach would have the advantage of removing uncertainty on a longer term and for other categories of workers, for example weekly commuters to Switzerland living outside of these countries and, who due to the pandemic have not been working from home

If you would like to discuss more on this topic, please reach out to our key contacts below.

Visit our Swiss Tax & Legal specific Covid-19 webpage to get the latest update.

Explore our Deloitte International Security Solution webpage.

Key contacts

Renaat Van den Eeckhaut

Partner, Global Employer Services Lead Switzerland

David Wigersma

Partner, Global Employer Services

Tabea Nyfeler

Senior Manager, Global Employer Services

Harry Verougstraete

Senior Manager, Global Employer Services