HMRC has issued guidance to employers on what steps to take if they send workers to Europe after Brexit. What’s the full story?

Reciprocal arrangements. The UK has so-called reciprocal National Insurance (NI) agreements with EU countries, plus others in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland (see The next step ). The agreements prevent UK employers and individuals from having to pay social security contributions (NI contributions) in those countries if they work in them. These arrangements might come to a end if there’s a no-deal Brexit or one which doesn’t encompass the agreements.

Notifying HMRC. While your employees must obtain exemption from foreign contributions by applying for certificate A1/E101, as their employer you’re required to notify HMRC if you intend to send them abroad to work. Among other things this speeds up the issue of the exemption form.

Steps required. HMRC’s recent guidance tells you what you must do as an employer and what will happen following a no-deal Brexit:

  • if the end date of your employees’ A1/E101 is later than when Brexit occurs, you will need to contact the relevant EU, EEA or Swiss authority to find out if your employee needs to start paying social security contributions in that country
  • if your employee is currently working in the EU, the EEA or Switzerland and has an A1/E101 form, they will continue to pay UK NI for the duration of the time shown on the form
  • if your employee is a UK or Irish national working in Ireland you won’t need to take any action.

Transitional agreements. The good news is that while there’s a risk of double NI/social security payments, the government is negotiating transitional agreements which should keep the current exemptions in place until the end of 2020. We’ll keep you informed on how they progress.