International – cross-border professional activities

These days, cross-border professional activities such as multiple activities (working in several countries) and posting are part of everyday professional life in Europe and throughout the world. As the constantly increasing mobility of employees has implications for social insurance provision, conventions with the EU and EFTA countries are of particular importance. In order to ensure better coordination and thus a comprehensive social network, Switzerland has concluded international social insurance conventions. We have compiled the most important information, links and forms for you here.

Multiple professional activities of employees
(working in several countries)

Swiss employers must be able to settle with the social insurance schemes of other countries if they employ cross-border commuters who work on both sides of the border. Usually, if an employee works in several EU and/or EFTA countries, the legislation of just one country applies. Employees who work in different countries are subject to only one social insurance system for all their activities. The country of domicile is responsible for coordinating such cases.

Situation A:

If a cross-border commuter works in Switzerland and at the same time carries out at least 25% of the work in the country of domicile, the social insurance contributions must be accounted for and paid in the country of domicile, including for the activity in Switzerland. The employer in the country of domicile of the cross-border commuter and the employee report these multiple professional activities to their competent social insurance office (in the country of domicile). The competent social insurance office (in the country of domicile) then issues an A1 certificate determining the legislation to be applied and sends this to the employer in the country of domicile of the cross-border commuter. The employee has to inform the employer in Switzerland that all social insurance contributions must be paid in the country of domicile.

Situation B:

If a cross-border commuter works in Switzerland and at the same time carries out less than 25% of the work in the country of domicile, the social insurance contributions must be fully accounted for and paid in Switzerland, including for the activity in the country of domicile. Together with the employee, the employer in Switzerland completes the «Application for continued application of the Swiss Social Security Law» form and the «Help sheet to application for multiple professional activity» and sends this to the competent AHV Compensation Fund in Switzerland. The competent AHV Compensation Fund in Switzerland then issues an A1 certificate determining the legislation to be applied and sends this to the employer in Switzerland. The employee has to inform the employer in the country of domicile that all social insurance contributions must be paid in Switzerland.

For persons who receive unemployment benefits in their country of domicile, Switzerland and France have concluded an agreement whereby someone who receives unemployment benefits in France and is employed in Switzerland is subject to the social security system in France. This means that the Swiss employer has to register the employee in France, irrespective of the percentage of hours worked in Switzerland. The Swiss employer must check that the employees affected do not carry out any professional activity in another country and that they do not receive any unemployment benefits. In this case the «Application for continued application of the Swiss Social Security Law» form and the «Help sheet to application for multiple professional activity» must be completed. In case of doubt, the employer should contact the competent AHV Compensation Fund.

Our «Contributions» team will be pleased to help with any questions about multiple professional activities: T 062 837 71 71  |  E-Mail

 

Multiple professional activities of self-employed individuals
(working in several countries)

Self-employed individuals who work in different EU or EFTA countries and/or in Switzerland have social insurance in their country of domicile if they work at least one day a month in their country of domicile. If this is not the case, they have social insurance in the country where they carry out the majority of their professional activity and must register there as self-employed.

Self-employed individuals who work outside Switzerland on a temporary basis remain subject to social insurance in Switzerland (see «Posting»).

In most countries, the competent government agencies check whether the self-employed individual is registered for social insurance. This is verified by what is known as the A1 certificate, which is issued by the competent compensation fund. It serves as proof vis-à-vis the social insurance carriers of the countries concerned. In many cases, it is not possible to work without an A1 certificate.

Our «Contributions» team will be pleased to help with any questions about multiple professional activities: T 062 837 71 71  |  E-Mail

 

Social insurance for artists and musicians abroad

The most common situations (several clients) are illustrated in the following table:

Nationality Domicile Place of work Social insurance responsible
CH/EU/EFTA CH CH   CH
  EU or EFTA EU or EFTA
CH EU or EFTA CH (if at least 25% in CH)
EU or EFTA CH   CH
  EU or EFTA EU or EFTA
CH EU or EFTA EU or EFTA (if at least 25% in EU or EFTA)

CH or CS*

CC* CH   CH
CH   CS* CS*
CH or CS* CH CS* CH and CS*

*CS = convention state

 

Exceptions:

Temporary professional activity outside Switzerland

For temporary professional activity in the EU or another EFTA country for a maximum of 24 consecutive months, the individual remains subject to the Swiss provisions on social insurance (posting).

 

For a posting to a convention state under application of the Swiss social insurance provisions, different time limits apply for the duration of the posting (between 12 and 60 months), depending on the relevant social insurance convention.

Temporary professional activity in Switzerland

For temporary professional activity in Switzerland of foreign artists/musicians from the EU or another EFTA country for a maximum of 24 consecutive months, the social security law of the state from which they are posted (posting) continues to apply.

 

Our «Contributions» team will be pleased to help with any questions about social security for artists and musicians abroad: T 062 837 71 71  |  E-Mail

 

Posting

For employees who are posted by their employer to work in another country on a temporary basis, the social security law of their country of origin continues to apply, provided that certain conditions are met. Self-employed individuals can also be posted under certain conditions.

 

The self-employed individual and/or the employer in Switzerland together with the employee completes the «Application for continued application of the Swiss Social Security Law» form and sends this to the competent AHV Compensation Fund in Switzerland. The competent AHV Compensation Fund in Switzerland then issues an A1 certificate determining the legislation to be applied and sends this to the self-employed individual and/or the employer in Switzerland.

 

Employment outside Switzerland in an EU or EFTA country

If employees are employed in a country other than Switzerland on a permanent basis, they are no longer insured in the Swiss social insurance system, but in the country where they work from the start of the employment relationship. If employees are employed outside Switzerland on a fixed-term basis, they usually remain insured in Switzerland. In this case the term «posting» is applied.

 

Employees remain insured in Switzerland, if:

  • they continue to be employed by an employer in Switzerland;
  • the employer in Switzerland continues to pay the salary and the social insurance contributions in Switzerland;
  • the employee is a national of one of the EU/EFTA member states or of Switzerland and works in an EU/EFTA member state.

Self-employed individual in an EU or EFTA country

Individuals who work on a self-employed basis outside Switzerland are no longer insured in the Swiss social insurance system but in the country where they work. If a self-employed individual works in different countries in the EU or EFTA and/or in Switzerland, different provisions apply with regard to the social insurance obligation. Please find out precisely what your social insurance situation is in the country concerned. Individuals who work outside Switzerland on a temporary basis remain insured in Switzerland. The term for this is «posting».

 

Self-employed individuals remain insured in Switzerland, if:

  • they are registered as self-employed in Switzerland;
  • their social insurance contributions are paid to the competent Compensation Fund;
  • they work in an EU or EFTA member state.

Our «Contributions» team will be pleased to help with any questions about posting: T 062 837 71 71  |  E-Mail

 

Overview of the EU, EFTA and convention states

AHV information sheet «Employees and their dependants abroad»

The EU convention applies for the following states The EFTA convention applies for the following states Switzerland has concluded a social insurance convention with the following states outside the EU
Belgium* Iceland Australia
Bulgaria Principality of Liechtenstein Chile
Denmark* Norway China
Germany*   India
Estonia   Israel
Finland*   Japan
France*   Canada/Quebec
Greece*   Kosovo
Ireland*   Macedonia
Italy*   Norway
Croatia*   Philippines
Latvia   San Marino
Lithuania   Turkey
Luxembourg*   USA
Malta   Bosnia & Herzegovina
Netherlands*   Montenegro
Austria*   Serbia
Poland   Uruguay
Portugal*   South Korea
Romania    
Sweden    
Slovakia*    
Slovenia*    
Spain*    
Czech Republic    
Hungary*    
United Kingdom*    
Cyprus*    

* there is an additional social insurance agreement with these countries

Important links