Remote working is not a passing fad caused by the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a way of working that has so many advantages that it will become entrenched in society. I have clients who visit Spain on a regular basis for holidays or to enjoy their retirement. Now more and more of them are considering living here permanently, working and enjoying life by the beach at same time.
Over a year ago, before we’d even had a hint of the coming pandemic and the social changes it would bring, we published an article on our blog on the possibilities and legal risks of remote working. In this article, we concentrate more on the international aspects of this work situation. We’re specifically going to look at the legal problem arising when someone works remotely in one country, Spain, for example, when the recipient benefiting from their services is located in another country. Germany, for instance. This is an increasingly common scenario. There are even local councils and companies in Spanish tourist areas promoting the idea of “holidays all year round”, where the worker is offered the opportunity to enjoy their holiday paradise while meeting their work obligations during part of the day.
But when we provide our services remotely as an employee or a self-employed person and our habitual residence is in one country while the client or employer we are providing our services to is in another, what labour legislation and social security system are applicable? To answer these questions, which always depend on the timeframe, several agreements have been reached in the European Economic Area that essentially require workers to be able to demonstrate via an internationally valid document which national social security system is responsible for their situation and the payment of their contributions. When in this scenario, we must take into account the applicable situation and get expert advice to make sure that we are meeting our tax, labour and social security obligations at all times required by the legislation of the country in question. Cases can vary a lot, and you always need professional advice to make sure you are abiding by the law.
Carlos Prieto Cid – Your legal adviser in Spain