In order to be considered (a person pursuing an activity as) an employed person for the purposes of the regulation, you need not be actually employed nor even come within the definition of an employee for the purposes of national labour law. It is for the Member States alone to determine who is regarded as pursuing an activity as an employed person. If a Member State decides to subject certain categories of economically inactive persons to a social security scheme for employed persons, these categories of persons could be regarded as pursuing an activity as an employed person within the meaning of the regulation.
In Member States which operate distinct, clearly-defined schemes for employed persons, it is fairly easy to determine who is pursuing an activity as an employed person for the purposes of the regulation. Other Member States, however, have general social security schemes which cover all residents or the whole working population. In those cases the notion of employed activity could be inferred from another branch of social security which operates such a distinction (e.g. accidents at work and occupational diseases).
It has to be noted that the definition of “activity as an employed person” has become less important as the personal scope of the current regulation includes all persons subject to the social security legislation of a Member State, irrespective of whether they are economically active or not. Moreover, the regulation’s chapter on unemployment benefits now also applies to self-employed persons. Nevertheless, the notion of “activity as an employed person” remains important in some respects, notably as regards the determination of the legislation applicable or the granting of family benefits.
When it comes to the rules on the determination of the legislation applicable, persons receiving cash benefits because or as a consequence of their activity as an employed person (e.g. sickness benefits, maternity benefits, unemployment benefits) are considered to be pursuing the said activity. However, this does not apply to invalidity, old-age or survivors' pensions or to pensions in respect of accidents at work or occupational diseases or to sickness benefits in cash covering treatment for an unlimited period.
If you want to read more about this topic, see for example the ECJ ruling in the case INASTI v. Claude Hervein and Hervillier SA (C-222/95)
One of the main innovations introduced by the current regulations is the obligation for Member States to exchange social security information only by electronic means. To this end, an integrated system providing a common secure framework is set up. EESSI (Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information) is a communication (messaging) system that allows national social security institutions to exchange in a secure manner social security information concerning persons covered by the regulations. The information is exchanged via structured electronic documents, replacing the paper E-forms used under the former regulations.
The EESSI system consists of
- the Central Service Node (CSN) - a central system hosted by the European Commission with the master repositories of data used by EESSI actors to handle correctly the exchange of messages (such as the identification of the correct institution, validation of messages, authentication and authorisation of Access Point (AP) to AP communication etc.). Another role of the CSN is to provide central reporting and statistics on EESSI message exchange. There are two EESSI repositories hosted in the CSN:
- the Institution Repository of relevant data about the connected Competent Institutions within EESSI, necessary for the exchange of messages;
- the Common Data Model Repository of structured forms and patterns used in the communication of the social security information, also known as Structured Electronic Documents and Business Use Cases, respectively;
- the Access Points of the 32 participating European Countries (27 EU Member States plus Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and United Kingdom), interconnected via a secure network, which ensures the exchange of all electronic information between countries;
- a national application that can either be a stand-alone application, called RINA, deployed in different institutions, or the existing institution’s application which has been developed to include the functionalities to handle cross-border cases.
The EESSI represents therefore the common EU infrastructure, which is developed at EU level to ensure the exchange of information between the institutions located in different countries, through the Access Points. The Member States are responsible for taking the necessary steps (at technical and institutional level) to connect to the whole system and to ensure the management and transmission of data from their national social security institutions.
The centrally developed parts of the EESSI system were made available by the Commission in July 2017. Following this date, the participating countries had two years to finalise their national implementation of EESSI and to connect their social security institutions to the cross-border electronic exchanges. The first exchanges started in January 2019 and EESSI is expected to be fully implemented by 2021.
Member States can start applying the EESSI as soon as it is functional, but they are only obliged to do so after a transitional period. The central EESSI system was made available by the Commission in July 2017. Following this, Member States have two years to finalise their national implementation of EESSI and to connect their social security institutions to the cross-border electronic exchanges.
During this period, they can further prepare themselves for the electronic exchange of social security information. Member States can decide to phase-in gradually, sector by sector (e.g. sickness, unemployment) as they become EESSI-enabled via their access point. They can also opt to join the EESSI only when all sectors are EESSI-enabled. Being “EESSI-enabled” means that the sector/access point concerned can both send and receive all messages in that sector to/from other States’ access points.
For the electronic communication between the institutions within EESSI, so-called Structured Electronic Documents are developed. During the transitional period, Member States can use the paper SEDs which replace the E-forms. Paper SEDs are derived from the electronic SEDs with a standardised layout for use by those institutions which are not yet EESSI-enabled. However, countries and institutions which have existing national electronic applications based on E-forms or which generate E-forms may continue to use E-forms during the transitional period, subject to certain conditions.
During the transitional period, institutions must accept relevant information on any document issued by an institution, even if it is based on an outdated format, content or structure. E-forms and European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) issued before 1 May 2010 continue to be valid. These documents must be taken into account by institutions until the date of validity expires, or they are withdrawn or replaced.
Legal basis: article 5 Regulation 883/2004
However, not all cash benefits falling within the scope of the coordination regulation are exportable. The principle of exportability does not extend to special non-contributory cash benefits. These benefits are in principle only payable in the territory of the Member State where you reside and under the legislation of that State (see the keyword special non-contributory cash benefit).
Likewise, unemployment benefits are in principle not exportable. The right to unemployment benefits is subject to the condition that you have to remain available to the employment market in the State where benefits are paid. In other words, you have to reside there. However, there is an exception to this exception, in the form of a conditional exportability, limited in time to 3 months (extendable by the competent institutions or services to 6 months) (see the keyword unemployment benefits, questions 69.3 to 69.7).