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On 15 January 2019, the British parliament voted to reject the agreement governing the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU). The likelihood of a disorderly exit ("no-deal Brexit") occurring on 29 March 2019 has consequently risen. In consideration of this situation, the German Social Accident Insurance Institutions wish to provide the following information for German and British companies and employees working in each other's countries after the exit date.
Posting of workers from Germany to the United Kingdom
Workers posted temporarily to the UK by German companies will be insured in accordance with German law even in the event of a disorderly exit. The companies concerned must therefore pay premiums to the respective German Social Accident Insurance Institutions with responsibility for them. In the event of an occupational accident or occupational disease, the workers receive benefits from their own accident insurance institution.
As yet, it is still not clear whether companies will have to take out insurance in the UK for the employees concerned, in addition to the existing German insurance. We advise affected companies to contact the responsible bodies in the UK, for example the Department for Work and Pensions, concerning this point.
Occupational accident during a posting
The arrangement to date has been for the funding bodies in the UK to settle the costs of curative treatment and medical rehabilitation and then to charge these costs to the German Social Accident Insurance Institutions. This assistance in the form of benefits in kind is governed by European coordination rules. Should a disorderly Brexit occur, it would cease to apply and substitute arrangements would not be in place.
In the event of a disorderly Brexit, we advise you to plan for the following scenario: Should an occupational accident occur during a posting, it is to be anticipated that the service provider in the UK (e.g. a hospital or doctors' surgery) will present the patient with an invoice for their treatment and require it to be settled immediately. Employers or insured individuals should therefore document the circumstances of the accident as closely as possible, collect receipts, and submit them to the responsible German Social Accident Insurance Institution. The latter will then reimburse the costs in accordance with Volume VII of the German Social Code (SGB VII).
Posting of workers from the United Kingdom to Germany
Workers employed in the UK under British law and posted temporarily to Germany are not insured under German law against occupational accidents and occupational diseases. Companies must clarify with the body responsible for them in the UK whether insurance cover under British law is in place.
British companies posting their workers temporarily to Germany will as before not be required to pay premiums to the German Social Accident Insurance. Since the certification of insurance for foreign postings recognized by the EU would no longer apply, companies should seek information from their responsible authorities on alternative forms of certification. The German health insurance funds can also provide information on mandatory social insurance in Germany.
Where workers are recruited in order to be posted permanently to Germany, premiums must be paid to the responsible German Social Accident Insurance Institution for these workers, as at present. Further information can be obtained from the premiums collection departments of the health insurance funds and from their Liaison Office for Health Insurance Abroad. Information for foreign companies on registration with a German Social Accident Institution is also available from the DGUV (see below).
Occupational accident during a posting
To date, the foreign liaison office of the German Social Accident Insurance (DVUA) has assumed the costs of curative treatment and medical rehabilitation for workers from the UK when they have been posted to Germany by their employer and have suffered an occupational accident there. The liaison office then invoices the company's insurer in the UK for the costs incurred. This assistance in the form of benefits in kind is governed by European coordination rules. Should a disorderly Brexit occur, it would cease to apply and substitute arrangements would not be in place.
Should you have questions concerning the assistance provided up to now in the form of benefits in kind, please contact the branch of the liaison office of the German Social Accident Insurance that is responsible for liaising with the UK. The responsible branch is located at the Duisburg district administration of the BG Verkehr (see below).
In the event of a disorderly Brexit, we advise you to plan for the following scenario: Should an occupational accident occur during a posting, it is to be anticipated that the service provider in Germany (e.g. a hospital or doctors' surgery) will present the patient with an invoice for their treatment and require it to be settled immediately. British employers intending to post workers temporarily to Germany should contact their insurers regarding the procedure to be followed in the event of a claim.