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On Wednesday 18 April, the European Parliament adopted a proposal from the Commission which makes amendments to the modernised social security coordination regulations No (EC) 883/2004 and 987/2009. They include changes affecting aircrew and self-employed workers.
As it stands, the general rules that apply to all persons working in two or more EU countries apply to aircrew. These general rules do not fully fit the way in which airlines are organised. Many airlines provide their services from so-called "home bases", the place where the personnel normally starts or ends a duty period or a series of duty periods and where, under normal conditions, the operator is not responsible for the accommodation of the aircrew member. This is also the location with which the worker has the greatest connection during his/her employment.
The amendments now recognise this close connection with the inclusion of the concept of 'home base", which means that the person will be subject to the social security legislation of the country of the "home base". Let's for example imagine the situation of a pilot who is working for an airline which has his registered office in France, but who is residing in Italy and whose 'home base' is in Italy. According to the new rules, he will be subject to the Italian social security legislation and no longer to the French legislation. This means contributions will be paid in Italy, for example.
Also, the regulations contained some gaps concerning the provision of unemployment benefits to self-employed cross-border workers - or "frontier workers" in the regulations (i.e. people who work in one EU country but live in another to which they return daily or at least once a week). For employed frontier workers, the country of residence is responsible for paying such benefits, not the country of last employment. This is an exception to the general rule and is designed to allow the ex-frontier worker to have better support to find a job in his/her country of residence.
Modernised regulations extend unemployment provisions to self-employed workers. The amendments proposed introduce practical provisions for self-employed frontier workers. These will apply in case the country of residence has no unemployment benefits scheme for self-employed unemployed persons. In this case, the country of last activity will pay the unemployment benefits if the person registers with the unemployment services and fulfils job-seeking activities there. Of the 27 EU countries, 18 have an unemployment benefits scheme for self-employed persons and 9 don't.
It is up to the Council now to approve the European Parliament's position in its first reading.