If an employee who is a permanent resident of Germany takes up temporary employment in another European country as directed by his/her employer, this is referred to as the temporary posting of a worker. A self-employed artist or creative can post himself/herself to another country for temporary work (self-posting). The principle of posting applies to activities in another EU country for a period of up to 24 months.
A freelance photographer goes to Belgium for five months to do research for and shoot a series of photographs. He/She is insured by the Artists’ Social Security Fund. What measures does he/she need to take to ensure that he/she is covered during the temporary stay in case of illness and may be treated in Belgium, if necessary?
If the artist is insured through the Artists’ Social Security Fund - as in this example - this insurance remains compulsory during his/her stay abroad for the duration of his/her posting. Before taking up his/her work in Belgium, the German artist should apply for the A1 certificate, which serves as proof of the obligation to contribute to social insurance in Germany. Vis-à-vis the Belgian authorities it proves that this person is subject only to German legislation. The responsible regulatory authorities, organizers, or employers may also require such proof.
In addition, the artist should have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which is issued by the statutory health insurance. An EHIC allows him/her to seek medical treatment in Belgium that is billed to his/her health insurance in Germany.
Information on the countries where the card can be used, on statutory health insurance physicians/hospitals as well as on the question what to do in case of illness is e.g. provided by Techniker Krankenkasse here (in German language) and here.
The DVKA (German Liaison Office Health Insurance – International) provides information sheets on individual countries (in German language).
Procedure for applying for an A1 certificate
The relevant information sheet is selected on the website of the DVKA – depending on the country in which the work will take place. The A1 certificate can be filled out independently or in cooperation with the responsible social security carrier (for example, the health insurance) and should subsequently be forwarded by the appropriate agency (usually the responsible health insurance) for processing. It is best to obtain information about the expected processing time from the health insurance as early as possible.
The completed application may be sent to the statutory health insurance by which the person is insured. This applies regardless of whether the insurance is compulsory, voluntary, or part of a family plan.
If the person is not insured under the statutory health insurance scheme, the application should be sent to the statutory pension insurance carrier (DRV Bund, DRV Knappschaft-Bahn-See or the responsible regional DRV office).
Important information for Germany-based theatre companies, orchestras, collectives etc.
Theatre companies, orchestras, collectives etc. with salaried artists that tour throughout Europe must ensure that an A1 certificate is requested for each artist and presented to the foreign organizer.
In the case of very short posting periods of less than a week and for business trips on very short notice, the situation is less complicated: for a start one can do without a A1 certificate. In general the European law provides for a subsequent presentation of the certificate.
However, the need for such a certificate is at the discretion of the individual country and should be confirmed with the foreign organizer, if necessary. In case that the provision of the certificate is demanded by the competent authorities, it has to be applied for afterwards.
Note: Artists and creative who are hired by a Germany-based company, orchestra or collective etc. for a guest performance or project abroad but are self-employed must apply for the A1 certificate themselves.
Important: national reporting requirements
In many EU member states, in addition to the submission of the A1 certificate, also national reporting requirements have to be respected. The implementation of the European Posting of Workers Directive is structured differently in the EU states and different regulations and notification procedures must be observed. There are exceptions that should be checked: in some cases reporting requirements can be neglected if the period of the posting does not exceed a certain nuber of days within a certain time period.
An overview of national reporting requirements and the national contact points can be found here, information of the IHK Südlicher Oberrhein.
The Administrative Commission for the Coordination of Social Security Systems in Europe has compiled a practical guide concerning legal issues in the context of the applicable laws.
An overview of the certificates proving social security status within the EU and the A1 / S1 / U1 forms for EU citizens is available for download as a PDF file.
A privately insured German opera singer is hired for a six-month production in the UK. The organizer requests proof of his/her health insurance. The private health insurance does not issue an A1 certificate, however. What can he/she do?
Private health insurance coverage is usually valid Europe-wide. Outside of Europe, it is valid for at least one month. For longer stays, the validity may be extended, in which case surcharges often apply. The opera singer should consult his/her private health insurance and the British organizer about an acceptable form of proof. He/She may even be able to apply for an A1 certificate with the DRV Bund.
A Portuguese performer is dismissed after working at a Swedish theater for one and a half years. He/She would like to register as unemployed in Sweden.
This case is not considered an official posting, but as taking up employment subject to social insurance contributions in another European country. The performer can register as unemployed in Sweden and the regulations of the Swedish unemployment insurance system apply.