What is a cross-border or border worker?


People who work in one country within the European Union, live in another, and travel back and forth each day (or at least once a week) are considered cross-border workers.

The person must follow laws from both countries. In their country of employment, work-related laws are applied, such as income tax and social security regulations. However, in the country in which they live, they must deal with matters relating to residency and most of the taxes, such as estate taxes.

For the worker to better understand this, the EU created two practical examples:

Example 1: Someone from the Netherlands who was a cross-border worker in Germany.

Evelien is Dutch and worked in Germany as a cross-border worker for ten years. During this time, she took out a private German pension and received a pension savings grant from the German government.

When she was done, the German government demanded that she pay back all the grants she had received during those ten years. The reason they gave for this was she had stopped paying taxes in Germany. But as soon as she stopped working in Germany, Evelien continued paying taxes to the Netherlands, her country of residence.

Evelien went to the courts in Germany, who took her side because, as a cross-border worker, she had a right to the grants, as they were complementary benefits. Evelien did not have to pay back her grant money.

Example 2: A resident of Italy who works in France.

Rosita lives in Italy with her husband and three children, but she works in France. While buying train tickets, she asked for the discount for large families, but was denied because neither she nor her children live in France. All workers in the EU who have large families (defined as families with three or more children) have a right, in the country in which they work, to discounted train tickets starting from the moment they begin working, as long as this discount applies to the citizens of that country as well.