Employment in the European Union.

Working in the European Union.

The basic legal norms of the EU mandate equal treatment for nationals of any member state. They theoretically ensure prospective employees from abroad an equivalent access to the job market.

According to EU legal regulations, free movement of persons entails not only the right to work but also the right to seek employment. However, eligibility for unemployment support doesn’t automatically arise for job seekers; they must work for a certain period in the respective state before being entitled to such benefits.

What an employee in the EU must fulfill:

  • Conditions for employment in individual states must be met, requiring foreigners to obtain permits, and the like.
  • Social benefits remain unchanged in connection with EU membership, with each state determining its amount and conditions.
  • Slovaks working abroad are entitled to local benefits, such as family allowances or maternity leave.
  • If some benefits abroad are lower, individuals can receive benefits from Slovakia.
  • For instance, if a woman works and has a child abroad, where maternity leave lasts only two years, she could stay at home with the child for an additional year, receiving contributions according to Slovak laws.
  • Similar rules apply to pension entitlement – if someone worked in an EU country for at least a year and paid contributions, they gain the right to a portion of the pension according to the rules of the respective state.
  • People can receive a pension from abroad earlier than the Slovak retirement age of 62 if they retire earlier in the country where they worked.
  • If someone loses their job, they can receive unemployment benefits and social assistance only in the country where it occurred, if they meet the conditions, such as the number of years worked, etc.
  • If they move, they lose benefits but can apply for benefits in another country.
  • The same applies to disability pensions and accident benefits – when leaving a country, a person loses them, as each country has different criteria.
  • A person working in a foreign country who falls ill is entitled to sickness benefits according to the laws of that country, regardless of their permanent residence.

Information on this topic can be obtained from Euro Info Centers (in Bratislava and Prešov), or on the following websites:

  • EURES.sk portal,
  • Europa.eu portal,
  • Euractiv.sk portal,
  • Website of the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs, and Family of the Slovak Republic,
  • Website of the Central Office of Labor, Social Affairs, and Family.

Those interested in working in the EU can use the free hotline of the Europe Direct information center: 00 800 678 910 11. This phone number can be dialed from all EU member states. The phone number +32-2-299 96 96 can be called from anywhere in the world. This phone number is not toll-free but is subject to regular local call charges. You can speak to an English-speaking operator, but you can request a transfer to an operator speaking another official language of the EU.

Questions to Europe Direct can also be sent by email by filling out the form on the website. This method is advantageous for more complex or sensitive questions, where finding an answer takes longer, and agents can use the assistance of experts from the European Commission. The service is available in all official languages of the union, including Slovak.