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Working abroad – within Europe or outside of it – increases in popularity. It also raises many questions.

Workers working abroad are not automatically covered by Finnish social security. They may need an A1 certificate even if the posting abroad is for a short period of time.  For both workers and employers, this may come as a surprise.

“Even if work abroad has been popular for a long time already, and even if the pandemic has boosted the phenomenon, it is surprising how often a worker goes abroad to work without the employer knowing about it. This may cause problems,” says Senior Advisor Marjaana Lundqvist (Finnish Centre for Pensions). 

Telecommuting, work trip, mission, posting – it makes no difference what you call it. Lundqvist points out that what matters is in which country the work is physically done. All work done abroad is subject to the same social security rules. When you go abroad to work, you should have your A1 certificate in your pocket or on your phone. 

What about a few days of work abroad in connection with a holiday trip? 

There is no stipulation in the law of a lower time limit for applying for or getting an A1 certificate. In practice, however, the Finnish Centre for Pensions finds no need to apply for an A1 certificate for work done abroad for less than one month, providing the authorities in the country in which the work is done do not require the certificate.  

”Countries have their own interpretation of the legislation relating to telecommuting. The country in which the work is done is entitled to demand an A1 certificate from the first day of work. In addition, it is worth noting that the legal rules for telecommuting are different within and outside the EU,” Lundqvist explains.

The A1 certificate can be applied for and granted in retrospect for a short period of work abroad if it was not applied for earlier and a need for it arises. 

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Finnish Centre for Pensions – Central body of and expert on statutory earnings-related pensions