Cross-border commuter


During the Corona pandemic, terms such as “cross-border commuter”, “border commuter” and “multi-state worker” are gaining importance:  

Cross-border commuter

The term cross-border commuter comes from social security law. A cross-border commuter resides in an EU member state but works in another state. He returns home from his workplace every day or at least once a week (in opposite to an assignment abroad). Cross-border commuters are subject to the social security regulations of the country of employment, i.e. if you work in Germany as an employee, you are generally subject to German social security regulations. These rules are based on Regulations (EC) 883/2004 and (EC) 987/2009.

According to tax law, cross-border commuters are employees who cross the border daily to get to their place of work. The so-called cross-border commuter regulation applies here: In order to avoid double taxation, Germany has concluded agreements with some neighboring states. Cross-border commuters pay income tax in their home country instead of paying income tax in their country of employment. However, this only applies if the place of residence is in close proximity to the border.

Border commuters

Border commuters live in the neighboring countries but spend most of their time working for a company or are self-employed in Germany. Since border commuters earn most of their income in Germany, they are also liable for tax in Germany.

Multi-state workers

Multi-state workers are employees who regularly work in more than one EU member country or work for different employers across the border. In order to avoid double contribution payments, only the regulations of one member state apply in social security law. This means: the multi-state worker is insured in the state in which he spends more than 25% of his working time.  This is based on Regulations (EEC) 1408/71 and (EC) 883/2004. The word multi-state worker is not an official term. The correct term for this group of workers is “regular employment in several Member States”.

Home office

For Cross-border commuters who temporarily – fully or partially – work from home for up to 24 months, there are no changes with regard to the applicable social security law.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it is to be expected, that Germany and other countries might have to impose travel restrictions again in autumn/winter. Workers will have to remain in their home offices.

The intention was not to extend those regulations, however the fourth wave will most likely contribute to the fact that the social security regulations will have to comply with the Corona regulations. For further information, please refer to the following website:

Christin Sandau & Birgit Ennemoser, Stuttgart, Auren HR Germany