On 1 September 2017, the Social Security Agreement between China and the Netherlands entered into force.
In essence, the Social Security Agreement aims to save social security costs for companies and employees. It allows that seconded employees remain partially socially insured in their home country for a maximum period of five years. This also means that the seconded employees are exempted from certain social security contributions in the host country. Family members are partially covered during the period of secondment of the employee, but only if they are not employed in the host country themselves. The period of five years can be extended in special circumstances by the Chinese respective Dutch authorities.
The Social Security Agreement does not cover all of the social security components. In the Netherlands it applies to old age pensions, survivor dependents insurance and unemployment insurance, whereas in China it applies to pensions and unemployment insurance. As a result, employers must be aware that they may not obtain full exemption from social security contributions, meaning that they might still need to pay additional insurance contributions, for example for medical care or industrial accidents.
Employees can obtain a certificate of coverage in their home countries. Even if their secondment started before 1 September 2017, as long as they meet the requirements and apply for the certificate before 1 March 2018.
The Dutch-Chinese Social Security Agreement is among the currently seven effective agreements China has signed with other countries so far in this area since 2001, which include Germany, South Korea, Denmark, Canada, Finland and Switzerland. The ones signed with Spain and France are not yet effective.