Finnish Centre for Pensions sees growing demand for international services

The Finnish Centre for Pensions’ (ETK) new international services department has seen growing demand since its launch at the beginning of the year.

The department issues decisions on social security for work abroad, handles claims for pensions from abroad, offers pension advice, calculates pensions and offers customer service.

The Finnish Centre for Pensions established its new department for international services in order to be able to better answer to the growing number of Finns working abroad.

Staff working in the department resolve issues relating to work abroad, such as the granting of A1 certificates, handling claims for pensions from abroad and advising customers. They also make pension calculations. In addition, the department helps its workers expand their skills and allows for its’ employees to move from one task to another.

“The customers are at the core of everything we do. We try to handle things as flexibly as possible with our customers,” ETK head of department, Max Rönnberg, said.

“Some employees or self-employed persons going abroad to work get their A1 certificate within as little as one hour. During the ongoing year, we have improved the application procedure for the A1 certificate. It has become increasingly smooth and our services continually improve.”

The number of applications for A1 certificates for posted workers has grown rapidly over several years, according to ETK, whereas pension claims have decreased. With the A1 certificate, workers or self-employed persons can prove which country’s social security is applied to them while they work abroad.

In 2000, around 7,000 claims for pensions from abroad were sent to the Finnish Centre for Pensions. Traditionally, Finns have claimed pensions from Sweden, but in recent years, the share of pension claims from Sweden have declined. A1 certificates for posted workers, on the other hand, were granted to around 9,300 persons.

ETK issues most A1 certificates not only to workers or self-employed persons posted to Sweden but also those posted to Germany and Spain. It is to be expected that working abroad will continue to increase in popularity.

“Working abroad has been popular already for several years, but in particular due to the coronavirus pandemic, working abroad has become a new alternative as most companies in Finland encourage their workers to telecommute,” ETK special adviser, Marjaana Lundqvist, said.

In the future, working abroad, submitting claims for an A1 certificate and pension claims from abroad will be increasingly facilitated when the information can be transmitted electronically within the European Union via the EESSI system.

Of all A1 certificates granted by ETK in 2020, a considerable part concerned employees who work in several EU countries. Today, many workers shift country of work and do so-called hybrid work in their home country and the target country. This is likely to become more popular also in the future, ETK predicted.

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