Answers to the questions you are most likely to have as an employer or self-employed worker

On June 23, 2016, the UK’s population voted by referendum for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (EU).

Following ratification of the withdrawal agreement by the UK and EU parliaments, the United Kingdom left the European Union on February 1st, 2020 (January 31, 2020 at midnight).

A transition period began on that date and will continue through December 31, 2020. This time will be used to prepare for the implementation of the withdrawal agreement and to work out the future relationship between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

During this transition period, the European social security coordination rules will continue to apply. This means that all currently applicable Social Security rights and obligations will remain the same through December 31, 2020.

The principle of single Social Security membership, according to which each person can belong to only one country’s Social Security system, continues to apply.

With regard to Social Security membership, aside from the special circumstances of postings and multi-State employment, the applicable Social security legislation is that of the State in which salaried or self-employed work is performed, regardless of the worker’s State of residency or of the State in which the employer’s place of business is located.

Important information

As regards France’s relationship with the United Kingdom from January 1st, 2021, we now know more about the measures that will apply under the withdrawal agreement to Frenchinsured individuals who established ties to the United Kingdom prior to December 31, 2020.

Since it has been decided that the European social security coordination rules (EC regulations No. 883/2204 and 987/2009) will continue to apply to circumstances involving cross-border, posted or multi-State workers, it is no longer appropriate to tack a cutoff date of December 31, 2020, onto portable documents and forms issued prior to that date or onto any application for an extension of these.

The validity of these documents is determined based on the duration of the worker’s crossborder circumstances (residency, temporary stay, posting, or multi-State employment).

  • Individuals with cross-border status on December 31, 2020, will continue to come under EU coordination rules with no cutoff date for as long as they continue to qualify as cross-border.
    Example : A worker performing work in the United Kingdom while residing in France will continue to come under the UK social security system.
  • Individuals with previous cross-border status prior to December 31, 2020, whose period of mobility had ended before that date, will keep the entitlements they accrued prior to that date. This mainly applies to benefits, and to retirement pension entitlements in particular, as the principle of aggregation/ proration will apply to periods accrued prior to December 31, 2020.
    Example: A salaried worker currently residing in France who previously worked in the United Kingdom for 20 years : the period of employment accrued in the United Kingdom prior to December 31, 2020, will be counted toward the worker’s retirement pension claim in France.
  • Individuals with temporary cross-border status on December 31, 2020 (posting or multi-State employment) will continue to come under EU coordination rules until their cross-border circumstance has ended (posting or multi-State employment has come to an end).
    Example : a salaried worker who was posted from France to the United Kingdom in November, 2020, will continue to belong to the French social security system (a salaried worker who was posted from the United Kingdom to France will likewise continue to belong to the UK social security system) until the end of their posting assignment (duration is capped at 24 months).

Important information

Rules for admission, residency, employment, and social security eligibility for UK citizens in France
UK citizens who are cross-border workers, already working and continuing to work in France on January 1st 2021, and residing in another EU member State, Switzerland, or the United Kingdom will need to be issued with a residency permit by October 1st, 2021. This document must be applied for prior to July 1st, 2021.

Please go to the official website to apply for a residency permit (« titre de séjour »).

Consult the press kit : « The transition period ends on December 31, 2020 ».

This Q&A is intended to answer the questions you are most likely to have about the consequences Brexit, with or without a deal, will have on applicable Social Security legislation and on the contributions that are payable.