What is an A1 certificate?

The A1 certificate serves employers and employees as proof of which social security legislation applies to employees.

If employees are working in another EU/EFTA member state, their social security affiliation is determined on the basis of Regulation (EC)  –EG- 883/2004, according to which employees are generally subject to the social security regulations of the member state in which they actually work (the so-called territoriality principle pursuant to Art. 11 para. 3 a) EC No 883/2004). This applies regardless of where the employees live or where the employer is based.

The ordinance provides for exceptions, among other things, for employees who occasionally or temporarily work abroad (secondment). This applies if the expected duration of this work does not exceed 24 months. If there is an exceptional case under the Ordinance, the employer must apply to the responsible institution for an A1 certificate. If employees have the A1 certificate, they will continue to be subject to the social security legislation of their home country. At the same time, employees will then be exempt from the application of foreign social security law. According to the relevant European understanding of the law, any business trip abroad is also understood to be a secondment. The relevant ordinances do not (currently) provide for a time limit for short trips. Consequently, for every cross-border work, no matter how short, it is necessary to obtain and carry an A1 certificate. This always applies if the activity in the foreign country is carried out at the employer's instruction, i.e. also when participating in conferences, further training courses, meetings, etc.