In addition to improving the social security of working workers, international social security agreements help ensure continuity of benefit protection for people who have received social security credits under the U.S. system and another country. While social security obligations may be one of the main contributions employers will pay when they decide to send a worker to an international mission, social security can also be one of the most neglected aspects of the compensation package. The main social security issues affecting both employers and workers travelling abroad are: Canada has international social security agreements with more than 50 countries with comparable pension plans. These agreements are aimed at: if the agent is required to contribute to social security in more than one country or to contribute a higher amount than if he has stayed in the country of origin, the employer must check whether he is paying these additional costs on behalf of the worker. Beyond the contribution dilemma, the employer must also decide how to manage the situation when the emigrant loses all entitlement to benefits because of the international allowance. For migrants subject to reciprocal agreement, contributions to social security authorities in the United Kingdom and the country of origin under the agreement are counted when determining the right to benefits payable by each country. The agreement contains detailed rules for different types of benefits and information on whether a worker is receiving benefits from the UK or his country of origin. International social security agreements, often referred to as “totalization agreements,” have two main objectives. First, they remove the double taxation of social security, the situation that occurs when a worker from one country works in another country and is required to pay social security taxes to the two countries with the same incomes. Second, the agreements help fill gaps in benefit protection for workers who have shared their careers between the United States and another country. Under certain conditions, a worker may be exempt from coverage in a contracting country, even if he or she has not been transferred directly from the United States.
For example, if a U.S. company sends an employee to its New York office to work for 4 years in its Hong Kong office, and then re-opens the employee for an additional 4 years in its London office, the employee may be a member of Social Security under the U.S.U.K. agreement. The rule for the self-employed applies in cases such as this, provided the worker has been seconded from the United States and is under U.S. Social Security for the entire period prior to the transfer to the contracting country. One of the general beliefs about the U.S. agreements is that they allow dual-coverage workers or their employers to choose the system to which they will contribute. That is not the case. The agreements also do not change the basic rules for covering the social security legislation of the participating countries, such as those that define covered income or work. They simply free workers from coverage under the system of either country if, if not, their work falls into both regimes.