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New bilateral agreement with Austria in the field of social security of habitual cross-border telework

While the EU is still waiting for the Administrative Commission to publish a coordinated solution for cross-border remote work, Slovakia and Austria have concluded a framework agreement based on which teleworkers can work from their residence (home) country up to 40% of their total employment and still maintain coverage under social security system in the country of their employer.

Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic (further only “Ministry”) and the Federal Ministry for Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection of the Republic of Austria signed the Framework Agreement on the application of Article 16 (1) of Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004 regarding habitual cross-border telework on 2 March 2023. This Agreement will enter into force as of 1 June 2023.

The Framework Agreement only applies between Slovakia and Austria. The registered office of the employer where the work is normally performed must be in Slovakia or Austria and the residence of the employee in the other country. “Habitual cross-border telework” means employment carried out under the following conditions:

  • A person usually exercises the employment regularly and for the same employer,
  • The employment is exercised both in the state where the employer’s business place is situated (where the same work is performed normally), as well as in his/her state of residence usually in the home environment, and
  • The work is exercised using information technology to remain connected to the employer’s working environment to fulfil tasks assigned by the employer.

The individual must not exercise an additional employment or self-employment activity and no third-country element must be in the situation as well.

Upon request, a person who habitually caries out cross-border telework shall be subject to the law of the country in which the employer has its registered office / place of business where the work is otherwise carried out, provided that this is in their interest, and the telework in the country of residency does not exceed 40% of the total employment.

A certificate (A1 form) would be required to be obtained to confirm the application of the social security system of the country of employer.

There is a lot of practical questions connected with the Framework Agreement. Based on our conversations with the representative of the Ministry, we understand that they are working intensively on providing more information and instructions during the upcoming months. They informed us that the application for exception under Article 16 of the EC Regulation will still be required to be filed with the Ministry. But if the conditions of “telework” are confirmed via specific questionnaire (to be issued by the Ministry), the time of obtaining the decision on granting the exception should be shortened significantly as the approval of the opposite country’s institution would not be required.

Austria recently signed similar framework agreements also with the Czech Republic and with Germany – these entered into force as of 1 March 2023. There is also a “telework” agreement signed between Germany and the Czech Republic. On the Slovak side, the Ministry expects concluding framework agreements also with other EU countries in the near future.

We will keep you informed regarding any development in this area.

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