Firstly, it is important to tunderstand whether the work carried out within or outside of the European Union (‘EU’).

As an example, let’s assume that the work is carried out within the EU and the Crew Member is resident in the EU. We would then need to ascertain whether there is a social security treaty between the Crew Member’s country of residence and the country of employment. Since this is not always the case, the information that follows assumes that there is no such treaty. It also assumes that the Crew Member is not substantially employed in their country of residence and works for one employer.

Under certain conditions, Crew Members can be insured under the ‘old’ applicability rules established by European Regulations 1408/71 (adopted in 1971) up to ten years after the introduction of a new Regulation (see below). The Regulation adopted in 1971 made no specific provision for pilots. Under this Regulation, pilots are subject to the same rules as other employees. These rules can continue to apply until 28 June 2022.

European Regulations 883/2004 entered into force for EU countries on 1 May 2010. This Regulation contains a separate provision on social security rules for pilots. Under this newer Regulation, many pilots are now insured in the Member State in which the Employer’s business is established, irrespective of their country of residence.

On 1 April 2012 this Regulation became applicable in Switzerland and on 1 June 2012 it became applicable in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

On 28 June 2012, the applicability rules changed; from that date on pilots are subject to the social security laws of the Member State in which the Employer’s base is located. The Employer’s base is where the Pilot generally starts and ends a duty period – in other words, it is where the Pilot takes off and lands.

On this basis, when it comes to social security, the rules that apply in a particular case depend on when the pilot started working for their Employer, where they are resident, where they work and where the Employer is located. There have been several changes in the law and there are various transitional regulations that may apply so it is important to ascertain which social security legislation applies during the period in question.

If you have EU resident crew members and are carrying out flights in Europe please contact us directly to discuss social security contributions. We can assist with understanding the rules and making social security declarations and payments in the relevant EU Member States.


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