We have previously looked at the topic of postings in many articles on the website of WTS Klient Hungary and in our newsletters. Nevertheless, it is still worth returning to this and adding new information because postings are still common among international corporations, i.e. when an employee of a given company acquires experience at another group company in a different country for a given length of time, or helps the business activity of that group company with his or her work.
Previously we provided information on applying double taxation conventions and on which country to pay tax in during postings, but less attention is probably paid to the social security aspects of postings and what they are based on.
The general rule is that a person conducting activity in a given Member State is obliged to pay social security in the country in which the activity is performed. However, there are special cases when the country of insurance differs from where the work is actually performed. These include postings for example (temporarily working in another Member State) or working in more than one Member State at the same time. Below we analyse when and under what conditions we can remain insured in Hungary during a period of working abroad, what the related terms are for the issue of an A1 form to guarantee this, and what would the right procedure be for postings of a few days.
Postings (temporarily working abroad)
Posted employees generally remain insured in the country they came from, but such periods of work may not exceed 24 months. The basic condition here is that the posting employer must conduct a significant business activity in Hungary.
This statutory significant activity criterion is fulfilled if the employer agrees that the ratio of people employed in Hungary or the ratio of sales revenue generated from activities in Hungary will be at least 25% in connection with its overall activity in Hungary and abroad. Hungarian law can still be deemed applicable even if these conditions are not met, provided that the circumstances verify a significant activity of the employer in Hungary.
A posted employee may not remain insured in Hungary for example and the parties may not receive an A1 form if
- the people employed in Hungary only carry out administrative tasks,
- the activity carried out in the Member State of the posting and the activity in Hungary fall into different sectors of the economy,
- the employer does not exercise the employer’s rights over the posted employee throughout the entire duration of the posting,
- the employee did not have an uninterrupted entitlement to healthcare services of at least 30 days prior to the posting,
- the employee is posted to replace another employee already in a posting,
- the employee was already posted within the last 60 days for a period determined in the Coordination Regulation or a social security agreement.
What should be done in the case of a conference lasting a few days?
If employees of a Hungarian company take part in a conference for a few days in another European Union Member State, the question arises of whether an A1 form needs to be requested in this instance. Such cases fulfil the criterion of a posting too, so based on the rules of the Coordination Regulation there might even be an obligation to pay foreign contributions. To avoid the risks it can therefore be worthwhile obtaining an A1 form before the start of the conference for these short-term postings too.
Parallel activity in two countries
If an employee works in another Member State subject to the Coordination Regulation or a social security agreement, as well as working in Hungary, what can be done so they remain insured in Hungary throughout the period of parallel work?
Assuming they live in Hungary, having Hungarian insurance is subject to the employee performing the majority of the activity in Hungary (as an employee, the working hours and wage of the activity in Hungary must be at least 25% of the overall working hours and wage). In this case the government office scrutinises the actual and expected data for the activity in Hungary and abroad relating to the last 12 months and the subsequent similar period. The regulatory background is complex, as shown by the fact that other rules are applicable if the former conditions are not complied with; this is why every single case has to be examined thoroughly in the case of activities carried out in parallel.
Official A1 form verifying insurance in Hungary
If the administrative body in Hungary confirms that Hungarian law applies, it will issue a form within 30 days of receiving such a request, stating the terms of the insurance and any expiry date. In all Member States this is known as the A1 form. The form verifies that the employee or self-employed person is subject to social security rules and regulations in Hungary while working in another Member State. If one posting follows another in more than one Member State, the applicable law must be assessed on a case-by-case basis, and so the forms must be issued separately. The competent body must be informed without delay about any changes in the circumstances, who then invalidates, revokes or amends the form.
Article 16 of the Coordination Regulation enables Member States to agree on exemptions from applying the relevant rules of applicable law, for certain groups of people. If a consensus is reached by the Member States in the given case, the validity of the A1 form may not exceed five years.
The team of WTS Klient Hungary has special expertise regarding the taxation and social security payment liabilities of expats. You can rest assured that in consultation with our tax advisers and legal colleagues we can find the answer and solution to any social security issue or problem arising in connection with postings. Please do not hesitate to get in touch.