How to choose job insurance for international employees in Europe


In today’s globalized world, businesses increasingly rely on international employees to bring diverse skills and perspectives to their operations. When hiring international employees in Europe, one critical aspect to consider is job insurance. This includes health insurance, social security, and other employment benefits. Choosing the right insurance package can be complex due to varying regulations across countries. This guide will help you navigate the essential steps in selecting job insurance for your international staff in Europe.

1. Understand Legal Requirements

Each European country has its own set of regulations regarding job insurance. It is crucial to understand the mandatory requirements in the specific country where your employee will be working. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Health Insurance: Many European countries have public health systems requiring employees and employers to contribute. Ensure that your insurance package complies with local laws.
  • Social Security: This typically includes pension plans, unemployment benefits, and sickness benefits. Contributions are usually split between the employer and the employee.
  • Workplace Insurance: This covers injuries or illnesses that occur due to job-related activities. It’s often mandatory and varies significantly between countries.

2. Assess Your Employee’s Needs

International employees might have different needs compared to local employees. Consider the following factors:

  • Health Coverage: International employees may require more comprehensive health insurance, including coverage for repatriation and international healthcare services.
  • Family Coverage: If the employee is moving with their family, ensure that the insurance package includes family members.
  • Language Barriers: Choose insurance providers that offer customer service in multiple languages to assist employees who may not speak the local language fluently.

3. Compare Insurance Providers

Not all insurance providers are created equal. Here’s how to evaluate them:

  • Reputation: Look for providers with strong reputations and positive reviews. This can often be a good indicator of reliability and quality service.
  • Coverage Options: Ensure that the provider offers a range of plans that can be tailored to the needs of your international employees.
  • Cost: While it’s essential to find an affordable plan, the cheapest option isn’t always the best. Balance cost with the level of coverage provided.
  • Customer Service: Good customer service is critical, especially when dealing with claims or queries. Make sure the provider is known for responsive and helpful support.

4. Consider Additional Benefits

In addition to the basic insurance requirements, consider offering additional benefits to make your job offer more attractive to international employees:

  • Life Insurance: Providing life insurance can offer peace of mind to employees, knowing their families are protected.
  • Disability Insurance: This can be crucial in ensuring that employees are covered in case of long-term illness or disability.
  • Mental Health Support: With the growing recognition of mental health issues, providing access to mental health services can be a significant perk.

5. Consult an Expert

Navigating the complexities of international job insurance can be daunting. Consulting with an expert in international employment law or a specialized insurance broker can provide valuable insights and ensure compliance with local regulations.

  • Legal Advisors: They can help ensure that your insurance plans meet all legal requirements and avoid potential pitfalls.
  • Insurance Brokers: These professionals can compare different plans and providers to find the best fit for your needs and budget.

6. Keep Employees Informed

Once you have chosen the appropriate insurance plan, it’s essential to communicate the details clearly to your employees. Provide them with:

  • Comprehensive Documentation: Include all necessary details about coverage, claims process, and contact information.
  • Orientation Sessions: Conduct sessions to explain the insurance benefits and answer any questions they may have.
  • Ongoing Support: Ensure that there are resources available for employees to get assistance with their insurance.

What are the best benefits for employees in Europe? 

Employee benefits in Europe are quite generous compared to many other parts of the world, and what’s considered “best” can vary depending on your priorities. Here’s a breakdown of some popular benefits:


  • Paid vacation: Most European countries offer at least 20-30 days of paid vacation, with some exceeding that. France is a leader with 30 days [Monster Jobs].
  • Parental leave: Many countries have extensive parental leave policies, with shared leave between parents being an option. Sweden allows up to 480 days to be shared [jn-recruitment.com].
  • Sick leave: Generous sick leave policies are common, with some countries like Sweden offering up to a year of partially paid leave [Storm4].

Work-life balance:

  • Flexible working arrangements: Remote work and flexitime are becoming increasingly popular, allowing employees more control over their schedules [Pacific Prime].

Financial benefits:

  • Pension plans: Many European countries have robust social security systems that include pensions.
  • Health insurance: Employer-provided health insurance is common, giving employees peace of mind regarding medical costs.

Other benefits:

  • Company perks: These can include things like travel loans, professional development opportunities, and even gym memberships.

It’s important to note that benefits can vary depending on the specific country and company. Some countries, like Denmark and Sweden, are known for their exceptional work-life balance, while others may offer more financial perks.

What insurance do I need to work in Germany? 

In Germany, having health insurance is mandatory to work there. The type of insurance you need depends on your income:

  • Public Health Insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung – GKV): This is the most common option, covering around 90% of the workforce. It’s mandatory if you earn below a certain threshold (roughly €69,300 per year in 2024). This offers good coverage at a set rate shared between you and your employer.
  • Private Health Insurance (Private Krankenversicherung – PKV): This is an option for higher earners (above €69,300 annually), the self-employed, and civil servants. It provides more flexibility in plans but can be more expensive.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

  • Applying for a visa: You’ll likely need private health insurance initially for your visa application.
  • Working in Germany: Once you have a German address and your income falls under the threshold, you can switch to public health insurance.

For further details and resources, you can search online for “German health insurance for foreign workers”.


Choosing the right job insurance for international employees in Europe is a multifaceted process that requires careful consideration of legal requirements, employee needs, and the offerings of various insurance providers. By following the steps outlined above, you can ensure that your international staff are well-protected and satisfied, contributing to a positive working environment and enhancing your company’s reputation as a responsible and caring employer.


Is health insurance mandatory for international employees in Europe?

It depends on the country. Some require it by law, while others offer public options with private plans available. Discuss regulations with your employer and explore their insurance offerings.

Public vs. Private Insurance: What’s the difference?

Public plans are typically cheaper with basic coverage. Private plans offer more flexibility, higher coverage limits, and potentially cover family members.

What factors should I consider when choosing a plan?

Consider your individual needs (pre-existing conditions, routine care), family coverage options, network of hospitals/clinics, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses.

What are some key things to look for in the plan details?

Look for coverage details (inpatient/outpatient, maternity, dental), exclusions, network providers, claims process, and customer service availability.


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