Cross-border workers – compliance with Dutch coronavirus legislation

cross-border worker

A new piece of Dutch legislation that will impact the travel movements of cross-border workers is expected to come into force on 1 May 2021. The new act will affect you if you employ people who live in one EU country and work in another. What will change? And what about the tax rules governing cross-border workers?


The Dutch government is working on a bill for mandatory COVID testing and self-isolation for all incoming travellers, which may include your cross-border workers. The bill is expected to enter into force on 1 May 2021. The new act stipulates that travellers entering the Netherlands are required to self-isolate for ten days and show a negative test. This will have a major impact on your operations.

Exception for cross-border workers who cannot work from home

So far, self-isolation has been advised rather than mandated and there has been an exception for cross-border workers, i.e. people who work in the Netherlands but live in another EU country (or vice versa) and systematically travel to their home country at least once a week. They currently do not have to self-isolate, provided they prove that they cannot work from home.

Actual practice

The Dutch government plans to uphold the exemption for cross-border workers who cannot work from home in the new act. While we will not know how this will play out exactly until shortly before the new act comes into force, we expect that your employees will, in fact, be required to demonstrate to the customs authorities that they meet the requirements. If they do not, for instance because they could actually work from home, they will be forced to self-isolate after having crossed the border.

Working from home: does your cross-border worker have social security cover?

If your employees were covered by Dutch social security before the COVID-19 pandemic, they will continue to be covered while working from home outside the Netherlands. If your employees have social security cover in a country other than the Netherlands, this will not change due to them working from home either. It has been agreed in a European context that the social security situation of employees who have been forced to work from home because of the social distancing measures will not be subject to change.


Arrangements have also been made with Germany and Belgium on the tax that is due on the wages of cross-border workers who are forced to work from home due to the pandemic.
Rules in countries other than the Netherlands
The Dutch government is not the only administration that has introduced coronavirus measures. Other governments may have imposed measures that are relevant to you as well.

Safe place of work and housing

Irrespective of whether your employees will be exempt from the new rules or not, you are required to offer them a safe place of work. This applies equally to your Dutch and non-Dutch workers.

If you provide temporary housing to your workers in the Netherlands, you are expected to make sure that their accommodation is coronavirus-proof as well.

More information

It is important that you have all the pertinent information before you make any decisions, especially since cross-border workers usually can – and have to – make some arrangements in their home country as well. If you have any cross-border workers, please inform your international payroll officer now by getting in touch with your contact person or with acconavm Employee Service International. Alternatively, you can send an email to

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