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Exemption agreements

Exemption agreements for work stays in other European countries

In some cases, the regulations in place may cause the law of the country of employment to apply despite the fact that a work stay in another country is only temporary. This occurs, for example, if

  • an employed artist has concluded an employment contract with an employer in the other country in addition to having a German employment contract,
  • the German employment relationship is suspended during the temporary assignment abroad,
  • the (self-)posting exceeds 24 months,
  • a temporary employment relationship is entered into in the other country in addition to the self-employed activity in Germany.

In such cases, it may not be in the interest of an artist to have the law of the country of employment apply during their temporary assignment abroad, since they wish to have a continuous insurance history and, in particular, a uniform pension history.

Therefore, EC law provides for the possibility of an exemption agreement, meaning that the competent authorities of the respective countries, or the bodies designated by them, as an exception agree on a jurisdiction that deviates from that determined by the general regulation.
The organisation responsible for this in Germany is the GKV-Spitzenverband, Deutsche Verbindungsstelle Krankenversicherung – Ausland, DVKA (Central Federal Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds) (only available in German); any application for an exemption agreement must be submitted to this institution.

An exemption agreement always requires the approval of the competent authorities in both countries. It is up to each country to determine the conditions under which it will agree to such an exemption.
The DVKA has published country-specific brochures on its website (only available in German) under the heading "Arbeitgeber und Erwerbstätige" (Employers and Employees) (only available in German) explaining the main framework conditions for the countries for which exemption agreements are possible and describing the respective application procedures.

Note: Since the consent of both countries is required, it is important to allow sufficient time to clarify whether it is possible to deviate from the legal regulations by way of an exemption. The process takes approximately four months and cannot be accelerated. The DVKA should always be contacted in advance.

Regulations for the United Kingdom
The Trade and Cooperation Agreement concluded between the EU and the United Kingdom no longer provides for the conclusion of an exemption agreement for gainful cross-border activities that began after 31 December 2020.

A self-employed journalist residing in Germany has accepted a project in Spain. The project was limited to 24 months. He has received an A1 certificate for this assignment from his German health insurance fund, as it qualified as a posting under EC law. After 18 months, it is becoming apparent that the project will not be completed on time and will likely be delayed by 10 months. The journalist has always had social security coverage in Germany until now and does not want to be subject to Spanish law for the ten-month extension of the assignment. He therefore applies to the DVKA for an exemption during the 19th month of the assignment.

Consequence: If both the DVKA and the Spanish institution (Tesoreria General de la Seguridad Social) agree German social security legislation can continue to apply for the 25th to the 34th month of the work stay in Spain as an exception, the DVKA will issue an A1 certificate for this period. It will also inform the German health insurance fund and the Spanish institution accordingly.
If either of the two sides does not agree to the exemption, the journalist will be subject to Spanish social security legislation only in all areas of social security from the 25th month of his assignment in Spain.

If the assignment of the journalist were to take place in the United Kingdom instead of Spain, British law would apply from the 25th month of the assignment in any case, since an exemption agreement would no longer be possible due to the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

If an artist who is self-employed in Germany would like to remain subject to the German legal regulations when temporarily taking up employment in another European country, an exemption agreement must be concluded through the DVKA.

If an exemption agreement is concluded, the employment relationship "migrates" to Germany under social security law. The foreign employer and the artist would then have to pay corresponding contributions to all areas of social security in Germany.

In the case of self-employed artists who are members of the Artists' Social Security Fund (KSK), the KSK will examine the implications for insurance coverage in accordance with the Artists' Social Insurance Act (KSVG). Regulations regarding marginal activities, which can have far-reaching consequences, must be considered in this context.

Information from the KSK: Insurance coverage through the KSK despite a (side) job? (only available in German) and information on Stays Abroad – Consequences for Social Security Coverage (only available in German).

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Check lists

Temporary work in
Germany and France pdf

Checklist Health insurance
abroad pdf