For a business trip in the EU and Switzerland it is no longer sufficient to simply check whether the passport or ID is still valid and the flight is booked. The legal requirements regarding the existence of social security confirmations or notifications have been in force for a long time. Their implementation has not yet been implemented in every EU member state. The EU Member States and Switzerland have now adapted and tightened up the implementation of the legal requirements, primarily with a view to combating social dumping, social security fraud and illegal employment. Many companies have already started to deal with this issue in recent years, either voluntarily or based on increased fines for non-compliance with the required notification or the non-existent A1 certificate.

For each business trip, the following aspects must always be checked:

  • Existence of an A1 certificate
  • Existence of a reporting obligation Compliance with the documentation obligation
  • Necessity of an additional work permit
  • Compliance with the legal working and wage conditions
  • Necessity of tax retention in the country of assignment

In practice, it has been found that every company where business travel takes place within the EU and Switzerland deals with these aspects differently. Often this topic is attached to HR. Irrespective of this, it is generally high time to pay attention to this topic and to be prepared for compliance with legal requirements as well as for questions from employees.

The above-mentioned aspects that need to be taken into account for business trips are not new. Only the implementation in the individual countries has changed. Due to the fact that not every country has implemented it in the same way, this leads to an even higher degree of complexity. If you take a closer look at the legal regulations in the various countries, you can see that there are countries that have very restrictive requirements, such as France and Austria. In addition, there are other countries that have tightened their controls, such as Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. A further complicating factor is that business trips are usually not planned long in advance, but rather are planned from one day to the next. This means that there is not much time to check the regulations.

How are we supposed to plan for future business trips or what steps are necessary if this topic has not yet been addressed?

Step 1: Determining the EU countries

In a first step it is useful to find out which EU countries have been visited in the last 12 months and which future travel bookings are already available. As a rule, business trips do not take place in all countries. This is important to narrow down which countries and their implementation rules have to be checked first. At a later stage, it is also possible to check other countries and how they are handled, although it should not be forgotten that the national rules in the individual countries can change again and again.

Step 2: Determining the reasons / purpose

The second step is to determine what the purpose of the business trip is. Again, there will not only be one purpose, but several reasons, such as project cooperation, meetings, participation in a conference or leadership of employees. This is important for checking whether a work permit may be required in addition to a registration due to the activity. In some countries, the notification to be made is also equivalent to a work permit, as is the case in Switzerland.

Step 3: List of legal requirements (see Table 1)

The third step is to find out the legal regulations and instructions in the individual countries and to create an overview for each country. Table 1 shows such a possible overview. Due to the fact that these regulations can change again and again, it is important to check them continuously for validity.



A1 Certificate

Necessary; as a rule, however, it is only requested
for controls and must then be available Obligation to notify
Is also a work permit; only necessary if it is a business trip
with the exercise of an activity; if it is a businesstrip without the exercise of an activity, no notification is necessary

Duty of documentation

Only if an activity is being carried out; as a rule,
proof must be presented when requesting it:
Permission / notification, A1, payroll accounting,time evaluation, employment contract, project contract

Need for representation


Work permit requirement

Registration = work permit only required for employment
Working and wage Only if an activity is carried out: wages, holidays,conditions working hours, health protection

Tax scheme

As a rule, if there is no actual employer in Switzerland
and no costs are passed on to Switzerland or wages arepaid from Switzerland, there is no tax liability.


Cantonal differences both in the requirements for documentation and in the frequency of inspections


Audit of employment
If yes: report / authorisation and obtain A1If no: nothing to do

Table 1

Step 4: Determination of partners

In a fourth step, it is necessary to look for partners in the individual countries who can provide support in the administrative issues. Since the employee's salary and personal data usually also play a role here, it is often not desirable to rely on support from HR in the country of assignment. Data protection is not the only factor that plays an important role here. Since there are different wage bands within a company, you want to avoid possible dissatisfaction due to different wage levels by entering this data in another company. In addition, either the knowledge or the capacity for these concerns is often not available locally in one's own company.

Step 5: Determining the internal process

In a fifth step, the internal processes must now be viewed and ensured, so that in futu- re information about an upcoming business trip can be reported early and the necessary steps can be taken. As a rule, a new process must be defined for this. Frequently, one runs into closed doors within the company and some educational work is required. To overcome this hurdle, it is helpful to check internally what technical support is available so that this can be made as easy as possible for all parties involved. Unnecessary steps should be avoided as much as possible. It must be determined in the process who has to forward which documents / information, which body is responsible for what, and the definition of an exception process.

Step 6: Checklists

In a sixth step, a general checklist as well as a country-specific checklist can now be drawn up, in which the time requirements, the necessary information and the contact persons for the individual points are recorded.

Step 7: Communication

The seventh step is to communicate this new process so that a rethink takes place and one is in a position to comply with the legal regulations in the various countries in the future. This requires targeted, recurring information to the various parties and the attempt to get the various parties on board as quickly and as well as possible.

Step 8: Review

In an eighth step, the legal requirements in the various countries as well as the internal processes must be reviewed and adjustments made.

From our practical experience in supporting companies in this matter, we have found that especially the last step – communication – requires a lot of time and energy. Ultimately, it is important to make it clear to employees that reporting business trips in advance does not mean an interference with free and flexible time management, but merely the possibility of spontaneously planning business trips. As soon as each individual understands this, the company is well on the way to achieving «Compliance» one step further.

In all the accompanying processes we were able to determine that business trips and the associated costs were reduced, as many people now think more about the necessity of a business trip in advance and carry it out in a more targeted manner. Furthermore, we saw that once this process was either ordered or fully supported by the management, the implementation within the company was much easier and more targeted for all parties involved.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.