Child benefits for workers’ families are generally provided by the state of employment, even if the family lives in another Member State. If entitlement would otherwise arise in more than one Member State, the regulations contain priority rules to determine who has primary responsibility for paying. If the effect of these priority rules puts a lower rate of benefit into payment, the state with the higher rate must pay a supplement to make up the difference.
Industrial Injury Benefit
Benefits for work-related injuries or diseases are the responsibility of the state in which the claimant is employed at the time of the accident or disease. More complex rules cover the determination of liability of benefits for occupational diseases.
The regulations contain two methods of apportioning responsibility between Member States for the payment of invalidity benefits; in Malta’s case, responsibility is apportioned on a pro-rata basis – this occurs where the rate of benefit is determined by the length of the periods of insurance. Each state pays a rate of benefit which reflects the length of the claimant’s insurance under their scheme. Benefits will be payable anywhere in the EU, EFTA, and Switzerland. A pro-rata Invalidity Pension is paid according to the same general Proportionality rule applied for the Old-Age and Survivor’s Pensions.
Old Age (Retirement) and Widows’ Benefits
Liability for the payment of old age and widows’ benefits is generally apportioned between Member States on a pro-rata basis. Each state pays a rate of benefit which reflects the length of the claimant’s insurance in their scheme. This applies anywhere in the EU, EFTA, and Switzerland. In this context a person who has lived and worked for more than 1 year in two or more of the above-mentioned states will be paid a pension proportional to the periods spent in these states. So, if for instance a person worked 20 years in Malta, 15 years in Italy and 5 years in the United Kingdom (total 40 years). This person should get a pension of not less than 20/40 years of the theoretical amount from Malta, 15/40 from Italy and 5/40 from the U.K. All these states will work out the full theoretical rate of pension as if the person worked the whole 40 years there.
The new Regulations do not provide for any major changes in the way pension entitlements are calculated. What is provided for, however, is the obligation for all Member States to devise a national IT infrastructure which, when connected to a main hub hosted by the EU Commission, will enable for data to be exchanged electronically between Member States. EESSI (Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information), as this system is known, will drastically reduce the process of awarding pensions which entail exchange of information between Member States.
The Regulation contains special rules on Sickness and Maternity Benefits for workers, unemployed persons, pensioners and members of their families residing or staying abroad. These rules distinguish between Sickness Benefits in cash and Sickness Benefits in kind (emergency medical care). The granting of such benefits may require the aggregation of insurance periods completed in other Member States. This is a guarantee that one will not lose the sickness insurance coverage when changing employment and moving to another State in the EU.
As a general rule, Sickness Benefits in cash are always paid according to the legislation where a person is insured, regardless in which country one is residing or staying, while Sickness Benefit in kind (emergency medical care) are provided according to the legislation of the country where one is residing or temporarily staying as if the person was insured in that country. For more information on the provision of Sickness Benefits in kind, please contact the Entitlement Unit within the Health Division (www.ehealth.gov.mt) on Tel: (356) 2299 2345/6.
The state of last employment is generally responsible for providing unemployment benefits. The latter State aggregates insurance periods completed in other Member States provided that, the person was employed between the date of arrival in that State and the date of first registration for work.
A person in receipt of Unemployment Benefits from one state may opt to go search for work in another Member State. In that case, the unemployment benefits received in that state may be exported accordingly. The jobseeker must inform the competent institution for the payment of the unemployment benefits and the latter shall make the necessary arrangements to continue paying the benefits due to the jobseeker, even if he/she is not subject to the control procedures of that state. However, when a jobseeker opts for such a provision, he/she shall be subject to the employment and control procedures of the state where the unemployed person is seeking employment. The benefit may be exported for a period of 3 months. However, if the competent authority (of the state paying the benefits) is satisfied that the jobseeker has good prospects of finding employment in the other state, the 3 month period may be extended to 6 months.
The new regulations introduced new provisions for frontier workers – persons working in one Member State but residing in another Member State to which they return daily or at least once a week. The new Regulation allows unemployed frontier workers to make themselves available also to the employment services of the state in which they pursued their last activity. This rule was intended to increase the probability of the jobseeker to find employment. In this case, the Member State of residence will be responsible for the payment of Unemployment Benefits. However, the jobseeker shall be obliged to comply with the control procedures and obligations applicable in each State.