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  • Bilateral social security agreement with the Republic of Estonia

    If you send an Australian employee to work temporarily in the Republic of Estonia, you must continue to pay their superannuation guarantee contributions in Australia.

    From 1 January 2018, you can apply for a certificate of coverage for up to four years.

    This means your employee will be exempt from contributions to funded pensions in Estonia.

    You will need to give the certificate to your employee and keep a copy for your records.

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    About the agreement

    Our bilateral social security agreement with the Republic of Estonia applies when double super coverage occurs – that is, when you or your employee would otherwise have to make super guarantee contributions (or equivalent) in both countries for the same work by your employee. It applies to Australian super guarantee law and Estonian social security laws.

    The agreement starts on 1 January 2018 and applies to super guarantee contributions (or equivalent) made on or after that date. Any compulsory contributions under the Republic of Estonian law for the period before 1 January 2018 must still be made.

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    Effect for different types of employees

    Employees working temporarily overseas

    If you send your employee to work in the Republic of Estonia for less than four years – for your business or a related entity – and double super coverage occurs, only the super laws of your home country will apply. This means super guarantee contributions (or equivalent) are required only under the law of the country that your employee is most likely to retire in.

    Example

    Michelle is sent by her Australian employer to work in Estonia for two years. Michelle's employer must make contributions in Australia under super guarantee legislation. Michelle and her employer must also make social security contributions under the relevant Estonian law.

    As double super coverage occurs, the agreement takes effect and exempts Michelle and her employer from making contributions under the Republic of Estonian law. Michelle's employer will continue to make super guarantee contributions as required in Australia and applies for a certificate of coverage for Michelle to show the Estonian authorities.

    End of example

    This rule also applies if the employee is sent to work for a related company and double super coverage occurs.

    Government employees working temporarily overseas

    If a government employee is sent to work temporarily in Estonia and double super coverage occurs, only the super laws of Australia will apply.

    Self-employed people

    The agreement doesn’t apply to self-employed Australian residents working in the Republic of Estonia. They’re not subject to super guarantee law in Australia, so double super coverage doesn’t occur.

    Diplomats

    The agreement doesn’t affect the treatment of diplomats and consulate officials under the relevant Vienna Conventions on diplomatic and consular relations.

    Extension beyond four years

    Generally, a certificate of coverage will cover Australian employees for up to four years employment in the Republic of Estonia. If you need coverage for longer than four years, you'll need to apply to us explaining the reasons for the extension.

    Approval to extend a certificate of coverage is determined on a case-by-case basis. We can grant an extension only with the mutual agreement of the relevant agency in the Republic of Estonia, and only in certain circumstances.

    An extension may be granted when:

    • an individual who was scheduled to replace the employee is unable to do so because of death, serious illness or resignation
    • the employee must remain in the country of secondment due to an unexpected personal situation – this includes medical reasons (self, spouse or children) or if the employee's children must stay to complete the school year
    • the employee has been under one country's social security system throughout their career and is planning to retire in the immediate future
    • the extension is for a short period
    • the employee returned to the country of origin for a short period during the period of secondment for unexpected personal reasons – this includes medical reasons (self, spouse or children)
    • the extension for work purposes would be in the national interest of either country
    • cessation will cause undue hardship to the employer or employee
    • there has been a reorganisation of a company and the employee maintains an important role in the reorganisation
    • the employee has special skills or background, and the employer makes a strong case for needing the employee to complete a special assignment or project that will be finished within one to four years following the five-year secondment period.

    An extension may also be granted in other special circumstances.

    Your request for an extension can be completed online or in writing. If completing in writing include the:

    • employer's name, ABN and contact details
    • employee's name
    • certificate number
    • reason for the extension.

    Send your request to:

    Superannuation – Bilateral agreements
    Australian Taxation Office
    GPO Box 9977
    ADELAIDE SA 5001
    AUSTRALIA

    See also:

      Last modified: 26 Sep 2017QC 53391