Binding effect of E101 certificate (current A1 form) reconfirmed by the Court of Justice

10 May 2017

On 27 April, the Court of Justice of the European Union pronounced again on the binding effect of an E101 certificate (now A1 form). This binding effect is applicable, even if it is found by the competent institution or the courts of the host Member State that the conditions under which the worker concerned carries out his activities do not correspond to the conditions to be subject to the social security of the other Member State. 

In accordance with European legislation, the basic principle is that a worker is to be subject to the legislation of a single Member State only. In principle, this is the Member State in which the worker carries out his work except in case he is seconded to another Member State or works simultaneously in several Member States.

To confirm to which social security system the worker is subject to in the case of cross-border employment, the competent Member State issues an A1 form (previously an E101 certificate).

In this case, an E101 certificate was issued on the basis of the former exception for personnel travelling by inland waterway of an international undertaking employed in several countries, while the workers concerned only carried out their activities in a single Member State.

The Court of Justice already confirmed that such E101 certificates are binding on the competent institution and courts of the Member State in which the activities are carried out. In this judgment, the Court of Justice confirms its previous principles and pronounces that this binding effect is even applicable if it is found by the competent institutions of the host Member State that the worker clearly does not fulfil the conditions to fall under the exception and the competent institution does not withdraw or declare invalid the E101 certificate. 

> Action point
Belgian institutions are bound by the A1 forms issued by the competent institution of another Member State. They cannot disregard these forms and subject the workers to Belgian social security as long as these forms are not withdrawn or declared invalid by the other Member State. Consequently, it is of great importance that workers who are seconded to another Member State or who work simultaneously in several Member States always dispose of an A1 form.