Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

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Employed person

Yes, this is possible. The concept of “activity as an employed person” within the meaning of the regulation refers to any activity or equivalent situation which is regarded under the national social security legislation of the Member State in which such activity or situation exists, as an employed activity, irrespective of the existence of an employment relationship.

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 new 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.
Yes, this is possible, for the same reasons as stated in the answer to the question 25.1. The concepts of “activity as an employed” and “as a self-employed person” indeed refer to activities which are regarded as such for the purposes of the social security legislation of the Member State in which those activities are pursued. For instance, in Belgium, members of the board of directors are insured under a scheme for self-employed persons. In France, however, persons carrying out the same activity are insured under a scheme for employed persons. See also question 7.6.

Electronic exchange of social security information (EESSI)

One of the main innovations introduced by the new 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. This system is referred to as the EESSI system (Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information). EESSI is a communication (messaging) system that will allow national social security institutions to exchange social security information in a secure manner concerning persons covered by the regulation. The information is exchanged via structured electronic documents, replacing the paper E-forms used under the former regulation.

The central EESSI system consists in essence of:
  • a central unit (Coordination Node or CN) to be hosted in the Commission's Data Centre and including the EESSI Directory Service. Part of these Directory Services is separately replicated as the EESSI Public Directory, a public database containing the contact details of all social security institutions applying the regulation and to which insured persons have access;
  • the international parts of the access points of the Member States (up to 5 for each Member State) which are connected via a safe network with the CN and through which all electronic data have to be exchanged between Member States;
  • an application (Reference Implementation, or RI) that can be deployed in the national administrations, should they choose to use it (alternatively the national administrations can develop or adapt their own applications);
  • the communication model, composed of the structured forms and patterns used in the communication of the social security data – also known as the structured electronic documents and related business flows.

The EESSI represents therefore the common EU infrastructure, which is developed at EU level whereas the Member States are responsible to take the necessary steps (at technical and institutional level) in order to be connected to the whole system. The central EESSI system only concerns the exchange of information between Member States via their access points. The transmission of data from the national parts of the access point(s) to the national social security institutions remains entirely within the competence of the Member States; whether this intra-State transmission is done by electronic means or not depends upon the Member State concerned.
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.

See also the keywords portable documents and structured electronic documents.

Equal treatment of benefits, income, facts or events

See the keyword assimilation of facts.

Export of benefits

As a rule, you will not lose the right to benefits, nor will the benefits be suspended, reduced or otherwise modified. According to the principle of exportability (or waiving of residence clauses), which is one of the general principles of social security coordination, you are entitled to have your benefit paid in the Member State to which you move. The Member State which grants the benefit may not require you to reside on its territory as a condition for payment or for entitlement to the benefit.

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).

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