The UK is set to leave the EU at the end of 2020. Here is an update on the rights of UK and Swiss citizens regarding social security after the so-called “specified date”.
A bilateral agreement on the free movement of citizens (FMOPA) from EU member states has been in place since 21 June 1999. This gives EU citizens the right to freely choose their place of employment and residence within the contracting parties. A recent update announced regarding the rights of citizens from both Switzerland and the UK after the specified date with regards to social insurance, in essence ensures that everything will remain the same for persons currently covered by the FMOPA agreement.
However, this is conditional on the status of proof by the individual concerned. For example:
- do they have a valid employment contract?
- are they self-employed?
- or when not employed, can they provide proof of financial independence and full health insurance coverage?
For the persons highlighted below, nothing changes as long as they are in a cross-border situation, i.e. as long as there is a connection to either the UK or Switzerland with regards to their nationality, activity or residence.
- Swiss nationals residing and working in the United Kingdom on the specified date
- British nationals who live and work in Switzerland on the specified date
- Swiss nationals residing in Switzerland and working in the United Kingdom on the specified date
- British nationals residing in the United Kingdom and working in Switzerland on the specified date
In concrete terms, this means:
- Social Security: The same State remains competent for social security, collects contributions and provides benefits without discrimination. For example, certificates A1 on the applicable social security legislation and the rights attached to it remain in force.
- Health Care: Access to health care is guaranteed on a non-discriminatory basis. In the case of residence in the other State, there is still a right to health care at the expense of the competent State. The European Health Insurance Card remains valid for holidays in the other country.
- Family Benefits: Family benefits will continue to be paid without restriction to children resident in the other State, including children born after the specified date.
- Unemployment: In case of unemployment occurring after the specified date, there is an entitlement to unemployment benefit. If necessary, benefits are exported for the permitted period in order to look for a job in the other country.
- Retirement: Persons retiring after the specified date, are still entitled to a pension in accordance with national legislation. Insurance periods completed in the other country are taken into account for the fulfilment of the minimum insurance period and the pension continues to be paid without restriction even in case of residence to the other country. In this case, health insurance cover is also guaranteed by one of the two states.
- Disability Pensions: Disability pensions are also paid in the case of residence in the other state and survivors’ pensions are also paid to survivor’s resident in the other state.
There are other situations and cases in which social security protection is guaranteed after the specified date for example for students and pensioners. For a comprehensive view on all of the subjects and examples visit: https://www.bsv.admin.ch/bsv/en/home/social-insurance/int/brexit-sozialversicherungen.html
As Switzerland’s preferred payroll provider, Accurity GmbH has over 20 years’ experience providing our clients with the best advice about their payroll, pensions and social security and ensuring they make the right decisions. If you would like to speak with one of our team of experts, simply contact us now.