From this article, you will learn:

  • Who pays compensation for an accident at work abroad?
  • Who is entitled to compensation in connection with an accident during a business trip?
  • What benefits an employee can receive if an accident occurs while working remotely abroad?

According to the provisions of the act on social insurance against accidents at work and occupational diseases, an accident at work is a sudden event caused by an external cause, causing injury or death, which occurred in connection with work. An employee may suffer an accident while working both in Poland and while performing official duties abroad – including during a business trip, delegation or in connection with remote work.


Benefit in the event of an accident at work abroad – who pays compensation for an accident?

Determining that an employee has suffered an accident at work will constitute the basis for the employee or his family to apply for specific accident benefits. It is worth noting that the compensation due for the accident (or other form of support) is granted under the social security system to which the insured employee was subject at the time of the accident. Even if a given event does not constitute an accident at work within the meaning of the Act, it will determine specific obligations of the employer related to carrying out appropriate activities aimed at, among other things, determining the circumstances of the accident at work, including its cause.

Social security benefits – also in the event of an accident at work – are granted according to the rules arising from the legislation of the Member State to which the employee was subject at the time of the event. If he suffered an accident while working abroad, but was subject to social insurance in Poland due to this work, he will be able to apply for post-accident benefits from Social Insurance Institution.

In turn, if the employee was subject to social insurance in the country of work, the insurance institution of that country will have the competence to consider and determine the right to benefits in respect of an accident at work.

As a general rule, workers are subject to the legislation of the Member State in which they work. However, there are a number of exceptions, including when an employee is posted to work in another Member State.

If the employee's secondment does not exceed 24 months, the employee is, in principle, still subject to the social security legislation of the sending country.

Therefore, if an employee employed in Poland and delegated to work abroad suffers an accident at work during the above-mentioned time, it is highly probable that he will still be subject to the Polish social security system, and Social Insurance Institution will be obliged to consider and determine the right to accident benefits.


Accident at work during a business trip

It is also worth paying attention to an accident occurring during a business trip.

An accident suffered by an employee during a business trip is treated as an accident at work – unless it was unrelated to the tasks entrusted to the employee.

The concept of an accident during a business trip is broader than the concept of an accident at work – it is related not only to professional duties themselves, but also to the performance of entrusted tasks during a business trip. In order to recognize an event as related to a business trip, it is necessary to examine the circumstances and causes of the accident at work – and in particular whether the employee's behavior was related to the achievement of the purpose of the business trip. All employee behavior that is not necessary from the point of view of the purpose and conditions of the business trip is of a private nature and is not covered by post-accident proceedings.

Importantly, however, an accident during a business trip may include events that occurred as a result of the employee's normal life needs. It is also important that during a foreign business trip, the employee remains covered by the legislation of the country of origin.


Is an accident benefit payable for an accident while working remotely abroad?

While the employee is performing remote work abroad, the employee will be entitled to the same accident benefits as in the event of an accident while working stationary, provided that the remote work abroad has been agreed with the employer. If an accident occurs, the award and payment of accident benefits will depend on the legislation of the country to which the employee is subject. The employer should appoint a post-accident team, which should inspect the accident site to determine the circumstances, similarly to the case of an incident occurring during stationary work. However, the team may refrain from conducting an inspection if it finds that the circumstances and causes of the accident do not raise any doubts.

The benefits available to an employee who has suffered an accident at work depend largely on the health damage suffered, the nature of the assigned tasks and the employee’s stay abroad. It is worth keeping this in mind before deciding to work abroad and consulting the rights and obligations of the employer and the employee with experienced advisors