#3 Posting workers in the European Union - administrative challenges

Oct 25, 2019




Every day, we come across the phrase "He works abroad," or "That company works abroad." I'm sure the first thought came to you about was a big profit, a better life or something like that. They rarely thought of about papers, as “He will get my papers”, “Waiting for papers”, you must have heard of those terms. The Papers. Sounds boring, doesn't it? What is behind the word the papers?

"The Papers"

Believe me, I was also one of those who had almost non opinion on papers until I started working at SmartWay Ltd. When I first entered to this field of business, I have never imagined how much business scope this word covers. The Papers. So, it is not only papers, but it also includes many previous and subsequent processes.

“My first experience”

Upon my arrival, the company has already had some experience with posting workers and preparing "papers" and I was able to handle some of this without any problems. However, projects began to emerge in new unexplored countries such as Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany and in this stage, I have just began to realize how big bite this really was. Preparing papers for a new country.

“Who to contact?”

Every start is the most hardest. Where to start to research? Who to talk to? Those were the questions I asked myself.

It is certainly a good idea to first look at the links on the EU portal about posted workers:

It provides basic information that are binding in all Member States and links to institutions dealing with these issues in each Member State. Experiences? Some countries have solved it very well as Luxembourg, while others not quite as well as Spain. First of all, the main problem that arises is language. Most pages are in a non-English language version, which is a major problem.


The next step would definitely be to contact the Croatian Chamber of Commerce , which will certainly try to answer your question, but keep in mind that it will still take time for something like this.


Furthermore, it is not a bad thing to ask the Croatian Employers Association if you are a member because I have only had positive experiences with them.


Last but not least, I have had very positive experiences with the embassies of various countries located in Croatia. Generally speaking, language is not a problem because everyone knows English and it is great that most of them then refer you to all the relevant facts.

Also, if you already have your investor then you should definitely contact him as he should first of all advise you on all the details.

„What we found out?“

When we draw the line and sum it all up, we come to the conclusion that these procedures are somewhat similar in the countries studied so far.

As the basis for all countries serves the A1 certificate which can be obtained from the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute and serves as evidence for the regulation of workers' social insurance. The condition preceding the issuance of this certificate is the specifically regulated annexes to the employment contract, which must specify the maximum working time, minimum pause time and minimum wage in that particular country.

European Health Cards are mandatory in all EU Member States.

In some countries, a European Experience Certificate such as Luxembourg or Germany is required. This is a confirmation obtained by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and confirms that you have sufficient experience with what you are doing.

Each country has its own system of notification of posting workers. Most often, these are web applications where you have to create your account and send a posting notice through it, where you write in more detail about your investor, construction site, your workers and the length of the expiration period.

A little bit more of a problem or a job, as you see, are the countries where you have to apply to their tax office for a VAT number. This means that you enter their tax system and are subject to various obligations such as submitting monthly, quarterly and annual reports. If you do not know the tax rules of that country, it can be a bigger problem. I also had this experience with the state of Luxembourg, where I found that they do not have a reverse charge system and the company had to pay tax on the total amount and then claim the same amount from investors.

As for other documentation such as medical certificates, certificates of competence to work safely, contracts, certificates, tests and similar, it is best to prepare it immediately and send it upon request.

I would also like to point out the language problem of all documentation. Namely, in all countries, they usually require certified translations of all documents, which is a problem, both financially and temporally, because it takes several days, and this part should certainly be considered. Also, some documents have a validity period, such as medical certificates or A1 certificates, and need to be re-translated every year, which makes no sense to me.


„Summa summarum“

When you go to work in an EU country, for sure you take plenty of time to study the process of posting workers to that country, all the documentation you need, and any additional procedures, as mail communications take several weeks. Hope I was able to share some helpful tips and good luck!!


Denis Jelenčić
mag. iur.

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