Frequently asked questionsStatus

What is the difference between a seconded employee and an expatriate employee?

Depending on the duration of your assignment in Switzerland, your situation with regard to France may change:

  • For short or longer but not definitive assignments, you will be considered as “seconded” and continue to benefit from the French social security protection scheme.
  • For open-ended assignments, you obtain “expatriate” status. In this case, you contribute to the social protection system of your host country. If you are working for an umbrella company in Switzerland (or abroad) can however apply to join the Caisse des Français à L’Etranger. Check with your umbrella company which solution is the most advantageous for you.

In short, a seconded employee is an employee who remains attached to their home country and leaves to work temporarily (<24 months), mainly in the EU.   Their French employer gives them an A1 secondment for social security coverage in the host country.   SAGE only manages expatriate workers who have left the basic French social security system (URSSAF, etc.) but who may be tied to the expatriate scheme (retirement and/or unemployment, à la carte) without having to pay the rest of the contributions (family allowances, maternity, training, apprenticeship, CGG CRDS, etc.).

Is there a minimum assignment period for using an international umbrella company?

SAGE will cover you for assignments ranging from a few days to several years. International social security coverage is set up within 24 hours.

Expatriation or secondment?

The status of expatriate employee applies to any employee who has to work abroad for an assignment of at least 3 months. They are affiliated to the social protection system of the country where they go to work. However, they can choose to pay additional contributions to French health insurance by joining the Caisse des français de l’étranger (CFE).


The status of seconded employee concerns an employee who has to work abroad on behalf of their French employer for a short period of time. Secondment enables the seconded employee to continue to benefit from the French social security system.


Sage will help you choose the status best suited to your professional situation.

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