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FAQs: Posted Workers Directive, A1 certificates, social security rules and post-Brexit challenges

Even after the barriers set down by Covid-19 have been lifted, travellers between the UK and the EU will still have to adjust to more complex travel processes as a result of changes made due to Brexit.

Organisations and their travel managers are now having to manage new administrative processes surrounding the Posted Workers Directive, A1 certificates, social security rules and other post-Brexit challenges.

Here are the most frequently asked questions about post-Brexit travel changes, with answers provided by Karen Abbott, Head of Account Management at ATPI.

What is a posted worker?

A posted worker is an employee who, for a limited period, carries out their work in an EEA member state other than the state in which they usually work. Posted worker status most commonly refers to those who are subcontracted, moving to another office location or engaging in temporary work. However, due to the varied approach to implementing these rules, registration requirements can be triggered for any “work-related presence”.
 

What is the Posted Worker Directive?

First adopted in 1996, the Posted Worker Directive was created to protect the rights of those working within the EEA and to negotiate the difference between minimum wages and working conditions across the member states. It also sought to avoid the neglect of local labour markets due to the use of cheaper foreign workers. 

The Posted Worker Directive guarantees posted workers the same minimum terms and conditions of employment that local workers in the host country are entitled to. These include minimum wages, working time and paid leave.
 

How has the Posted Worker Directive changed since Brexit?

New regulations have been added to the Posted Worker Directive in order to further guarantee:
- Equal pay for equal work
- Host country labour law to apply after 12 months
- Stricter rules for temporary work agencies
 

What are the consequences of not adhering to the Posted Worker Directive?

Organisations can be fined if they do not follow the guidelines laid out in the Posted Worker Directive.  These fines are dependent on the place of work, not the nationality of the worker. There is also a risk of reputational damage for any organisations found not to be compliant. 
 

What is a European A1 certificate?

An A1 certificate is used to confirm the country in which an employee or visitor currently pays for their social security contributions. If you are travelling to Europe for work, you will need to apply for one before you travel. A1 certificates are a portable document, but each country has different processes for obtaining these. 
 

Is an A1 certificate essential?

When it comes to audits, A1 certificates are an essential element of compliance. The European Labour Authority is working to increase joint working inspection between different EU member states.
 

How can my organisation stay compliant with post-Brexit travel changes?

- Define, or redefine, the department that is responsible for business visitors and travellers. This could be a team that is made up of individuals from HR, legal and travel.
- Continue to communicate with your TMC regarding any concerns you have. They will be able to provide you with up-to-date information. 
- Analyse your travel data to identify which travellers, meetings or departments are most likely to be affected by post-Brexit changes.
- Ensure that travellers are educated on new travel processes - this could be done via internal webinars or your company intranet.
- Stay up-to-date with any changes via official government websites
- Don’t delay your preparation until a trip is imminent - the more time you have to prepare, the better prepared you will be.