We have taken the entry into force of the new social security agreement between the United Kingdom and Switzerland as an opportunity to examine the deployment of employees from England from a Swiss perspective using the following example.
Consulting (UK) AG, based in London, has signed an order for consulting services for the implementation of new IT applications in Switzerland. The contract will last a total of 24 months and will start on November 1, 2023. Under this contract, some of the work will be done from the UK, but it will also require 2 employees to be on-site with the client in Switzerland. The client is Financial Services AG, which is based in Zurich.
Both employees live in England and are employed by Consulting (UK) AG in London. During the assignment, they will remain employed by Consulting (UK) AG and will continue to be paid by them.
The following assignments are planned:
- Selma Lindholm (Swedish) - Project Manager:
- November 1 to December 31, 2023: Approx. 15 days
- January 1 to December 31, 2024: Approx. 100 days spread over the year
- January 1 to October 31, 2025: Approx. 80 days spread over the year
- Tim Miller (British) - Senior Consultant:
- November 1 to December 31, 2023: Approx. 5 days
- January 1 to December 31, 2024: From February 1 for 21 months
- January 1 to October 31, 2025: Completely
Consulting (UK) AG has neither a company nor a branch or permanent establishment in Switzerland.
What has to be considered for the assignments in Switzerland?
From a legal perspective, the following aspects in particular need to be examined:
- Employment law
- Immigration law
- Tax law
- Social security law
For the period of the assignment in Switzerland, the mandatory legal provisions of Switzerland must be taken into account. This includes, among other things, compliance with working hours, holidays, and public holidays as well as the comparable Swiss salary.
Furthermore, the costs for accommodation, meals, and travel must be borne by Consulting (UK) AG.
There are various tools available in Switzerland for calculating the corresponding comparable Swiss salary. In the canton of Zurich, the Salarium can be used for this purpose. The following is the link: https://www.gate.bfs.admin.ch/salarium/public/ index.html#/start
The planned assignments for the two persons are subject to authorization. Our recommendation would be:
- Selma Lindholm: Obtain a 120-day permit with a start date of 1 November. The first 120-day permit would then expire on 31 October 2024. Directly afterward, another 120-day permit could be obtained for the period from 1 November 2024 to 31 October 2025. If she plans her planned days of work in Switzerland according to the permits, these permits should be sufficient for her. After all, a total of 195 assignment days are planned for her and, based on the permits, she would have the opportunity to work in Switzerland for up to 240 days.
- Tim Miller: A short-term residence permit would be obtained for him with a start date of 1 February 2023, as he is to be constantly on-site in Switzerland from this date. A short-term residence permit can be obtained for a period of up to 24 months. The planned assignment of 21 months is therefore within this period. Unlike Ms Lindholm, however, Mr Miller must take up residence in Switzerland and register in Switzerland.
For the deployment days in the period November to December, the deployment days would be reported via the reporting procedure, provided Consulting (UK) AG still has reporting days left.
For the calculation of the relevant comparable salary for both employees, the median salarium of the salary applies. In addition, the costs for meals, accommodation (hotel) and travel must be covered for Ms Lindholm for the entire period. For Mr Miller, these costs must also be covered in full for the isolated days in 2023. For the 21-month assignment thereafter, these costs only have to be covered for the first 12 months, after which they could be waived. We would certainly still recommend Consulting (UK) AG to pay these costs for Mr Miller for the entire period.
There is a double taxation agreement between Switzerland and the United Kingdom, which can be applied in both cases.
- Selma Lindholm: Due to the fact that she will probably be in Switzerland for less than 183 days in 2023, 2024, and 2025, she will not receive a salary from Switzerland and that she will not be charged to a permanent establishment/branch or related company of Consulting (UK) AG, she can be exempted from tax liability in Switzerland. This means that she remains liable to pay tax in England and must also pay tax on the earned income received on the Swiss working days in England.
For the calculation of the 183 days, however, not only the working days are taken into account, but all days of stay in Switzerland. It is therefore advisable to keep a calendar for the years concerned.
- Tim Miller: For the year 2023, he can be exempted from taxation in Switzerland and must pay tax in England on the earned income attributable to these days. As of the start date of his short-term assignment in Switzerland, he must register in Switzerland. If he registers on 1 February 2024, he will be liable to pay tax in Switzerland from that date. He must pay tax on his earned income in Switzerland. Because his employer is in England, the taxation takes place within the framework of the submission of a tax return.
Social security law
The new social security agreement applies to British, Swiss, and EU nationals. The social security agreement covers the following social security branches: AHV/IV/EO, unemployment insurance, accident insurance, and health insurance. Occupational pension insurance is missing.
Therefore, it applies to both Ms Lindholm and Mr Miller.
- Selma Lindholm: She can continue to be insured under the British social security system during the entire period in Switzerland and be exempted from compulsory insurance in Switzerland. All that is required is to apply for an A1 for the assignment(s).
- Tim Miller: He too can remain insured under the British social security system for the entire period in Switzerland and be exempted from compulsory insurance in Switzerland. In addition to the fact that an A1 must also be obtained for him, he must submit a separate application for exemption from compulsory health insurance.
Because occupational pension provision is missing from the social security agreement, a pension fund must be found in Switzerland with which Mr Miller can be insured.
With careful planning, the operations can take place smoothly and the job can be done successfully.
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.