As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers in Belgium, like other countries in the world, were forced to stay at home and telework as early as March 2020.
For workers employed in a country other than the one in which they reside (i.e. "frontier" workers), telework can have an influence on the determination of the social security system applicable to them.
European Regulation 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems states that workers living in a EU/EEA country or in Switzerland and working in another country are subject to the social security system of the country where they carry out their work. This regulation, however, stipulates that when the worker carries out a substantial activity in his country of residence (i.e. at least of 25% of his working time), this state becomes responsible.
As a result of the increased use of teleworking linked to COVID-19, frontier workers residing in Belgium are at risk of seeing a modification in their social security system.
In view of the exceptional situation we find ourselves in, Minister of Social Affairs and Public Health Maggie De Block and Minister for the Middle Classes, Self-Employed and SMEs Denis Ducarme announced that telework due to COVID-19 performed by frontier workers on Belgian soil will have no impact on their affiliation to social security.
A frontier worker who carries out more than 25% of his telework on Belgian territory will not be subject to Belgian social security legislation and will remain subject to the social security of the competent member state, which would be responsible during normal working conditions.
This exceptional measure, which applies from 13 March 2020 (midnight), has been extended until 31 December 2020. The measure will remain in force for as long as the Belgian government's urgent measures to restrict the spread of the virus remain in force. In short, this policy could be extended beyond 31 December 2020, depending on the state of the epidemic.
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