Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.
Factsheet for measure BE-2000-33/2516 – measures in Belgium
|Country||Belgium , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Open ended, started on 12 August 2000|
|Context||Restructuring Support Instruments|
|Type||Legislations or other statutory regulations|
Ensuring business continuity and support for essential services
– Change of work arrangements (working time, rota schemes)
|Author||Dries Van Herreweghe (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||23 June 2022 (updated 02 November 2022)|
Employer groups were established to share workers that are employed for their relatively high-skilled and specific profile: infographics specialists, accountants, prevention advisors and similar.
Other employer groups are created to share workers because of cyclic peaks in production. In that case, the workers may have a lower initial skill profile and are selected based on their robustness.
An employer group is a separate legal entity established by several companies. It hires workers and makes them available to the partner companies. Employees can be hired on a full-time or part-time contract, both permanent or temporary type.
According to the contract binding the members, workers are hired and shared by member companies. In times of reduced or increased need for labour, bilateral agreements are established among member companies regarding the use of the workers. The employer group can be a non-profit organisation or an 'economic interest group' with its sole objective being the sharing of workers. Members must be held jointly liable for its funding (while no capital is being paid into the constitution of the company).
They are also entitled to an annual sliding scale reduction in social contributions. The group is administered by a board of directors appointed by the general meeting. Each company has an identical voting right and in general, decisions are taken by consensus.
Certain conditions apply: * It must involve at least two entities who have a business activity * It cannot employ more than 50 employees (if this should be the case, additional approval by the ministry of labour and the National Labour Council is needed). * The formal goal of the group can only be to provide employees to the members.
Until now, only a few organisations are involved in a Belgian employer group, in June 2020 there were approximately 30-35. The majority of them is active in the Walloon region (25-30), around 5 are active in Flanders. The system is spread across many different sectors but is slightly more concentrated in the culture and media sector.
Employees in standard employment
||Applies to all businesses||Does not apply to citizens|
Local / regional government
Public employment service
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Form||Not applicable||Not applicable|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
Trade unions consider that an employer group is intrinsically better than other atypical job arrangements since it offers stability of employment, predictability of the postings, the creation of new jobs and an interesting mediating role of the employer group manager.
Since they are not members of an employer group, trade unions cannot control the working conditions of the shared workers and the respect of law by the manager and/or the user companies, as is the case in temporary agency work (TAW), where a formal social consultation exists at all levels (company, sectorial, regional, cross-sectorial, etc.).
Eurofound (2022), Employer group, measure BE-2000-33/2516 (measures in Belgium), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/BE-2000-33_2516.html
30 January 2023
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.