- 19 Jan 2012
The NSSO has explained in what exceptional situations it can, on the basis of a motivated request, give its approval for additional periods of secondment beyond the normal five year limit.
With respect to the rules governing the social security regime applicable to an employee when such individual is seconded abroad, special rules often apply that allow the social security regime of the employee's home state to continue to apply. However, such rules in principle provide that the expected duration of the work time in the host state is limited. Such duration ranges from twenty-four months (for example, in European Regulation 889/2004 and in the Belgium-Canada bilateral agreement) to five years (for example, in the Belgium-USA, Belgium-Japan bilateral agreements).
Nevertheless, legislation provides that the competent authorities from the concerned states can agree, in the interests of the person, to deviate from the secondment rules, among which the rule on the maximum duration.
The International Relations Service of the NSSO recently confirmed its policy in this matter. In summary, the NSSO and the social security administrations of most other countries systematically agree to extend the duration to a period of five years. However, the NSSO only allows extensions beyond five years in exceptional cases. General reasons as "the expertise of the seconded employee" or "the market's evolution" are not considered sufficient to allow for a deviation.
However, the NSSO would accept extensions above five years in the following cases:
six months to one additional year maximum if the seconded employee needs time to finalise the tasks he was entrusted with;one additional year maximum (instead of three years in the past) if the seconded employee ends, within this period, his/her professional career (in order to retire etc.). However, the NSSO would still accept extensions until 31 December 2014 at the latest, for secondment periods which start during 2012 and 2013;one additional year maximum if towards the end of the secondment, the company undergoes an important restructuring (merger, acquisition of a company, etc.) as a consequence of which the content of the tasks for which the employee was seconded are significantly modified or extended.
The NSSO insists that a motivated and documented request has to be sent in order to get approval for an extension.