Brexit: Ireland/UK social security convention

A new convention on social security matters was signed by Ireland and the United Kingdom on 1 February 2019.

The convention preserves the social security arrangements previously in place under EU law relating to social security contributions, pensions and benefits between the two countries, which ceased to apply following the United Kingdom’s departure from the UK. The convention operates in conjunction with the existing 2007 convention which applies to persons moving between the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Ireland.

Key points

The convention ensures that Irish and UK nationals residing and/or working in the UK or Ireland do not lose their accrued rights to social security benefits when moving between the two countries. This means that the rights of Irish citizens living in Ireland to benefit from social insurance contributions made when working in the UK will be protected and vice versa. 

In addition, the convention provides rules to ensure that employees who work between the two countries are not liable to double social security contributions at the same time. For example, employees who are assigned from one country to the UK or vice versa to perform work for a period not exceeding 24 months shall remain insurable in their home country system, which mirrors previous EU rules. There are also provisions concerning the country of insurability of employees who spend time working between the two countries. 

It should also be noted that the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement includes a Protocol for the coordination of social security for mobile employees. The objective is to protect the entitlements of EU citizens temporarily staying in, working in, or moving to the U.K., and of U.K. citizens temporarily staying in, working in, or moving to the EU after 1 January 2021. As EU citizens are unable to claim the benefit of the Irish and UK social security convention when working across the two countries, the Protocol should instead apply to determine the country in which social security contributions are due in cases where an EU citizen works between Ireland and the UK.

What should employers consider?

In line with the above, there are now different sets of social security co-ordination rules applying to employee mobility between Ireland and the UK. Employers need to assess which set of rules should apply in this context, particularly as there are divergences in relation to social security coverage and the claiming of benefits.

If you have any questions in relation to the above, or if you would like to discuss this topic further, please contact a member of the Mazars employment tax team below:





Ken Killoran

Tax Partner

01 4494451

March 2021