To enable companies in certain sectors to cope with the consequences of the Covid-19 epidemic, it is possible, under certain conditions, to hire out to them permanent employees who are employed in other companies.
Hiring out employees to users is prohibited, subject to the exceptions provided for in the Act of 24 July 1987 on temporary work, temporary agency work and hiring out employees to users.
‘Covid-19 support measure’ exception
The Act of 20 December 2020 provided for an additional exception to this rule until 31 March 2021.
This exception is extended until 30 June 2021 by the Act of 2 April 2021.
Conditions for hiring out
If an employer wishes, outside his regular activity(ies), to hire out his permanent employees to a user, he must comply with the following conditions:
- the user must belong to the care or education sector or operate a contact tracing facility/centre in order to limit the spread of Covid-19;
Note - Care sector is understood to mean:
- private and public services providing care, support and assistance to individuals, the elderly, minors, disabled persons and vulnerable persons, including victims of intra-family violence (joint committees nos. 318, 319, 330, 331, 332, 322 if the temporary agency worker is employed by a user who falls under one of the above-mentioned joint committees);
- private and public institutions or services in charge of operating vaccination centres in the context of the fight against Covid-19 (for all activities related to the operation of a vaccination centre).
- the hiring out must take place between 1 April 2021 and 30 June 2021 in order to cope with the consequences of the Covid-19 epidemic in the user's company;
- the permanent employees that are hired out must have started work before 1 October 2020.
The conditions and duration of the hiring-out period, must be laid down in a written document:
- drawn up before the beginning of the hiring-out period;
- and signed by the employer, the user and the employee.
No further formalities are required.
Pay and working conditions during the hiring out
The employment contract between the employee and the employer remains in force during the hiring-out period.
This means, among others, that the employer remains liable for the payment of wages to the hired out employee, the latter being furthermore not entitled to receive lower wages, allowances and benefits than those received by employees carrying out the same tasks in the user's company.
As for the user, he becomes jointly and severally liable for the payment of social security contributions, wages, allowances and benefits resulting from the employment contract concluded between the employer and the employee.
During the hiring-out period, the user is also responsible for the application of the legislation on the regulation and protection of labour applicable at the place of work (as referred to in Article 19 of the Act of 24 July 1987).
Source: Act of 2 April 2021 on temporary support measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Belgian Official Gazette, 13 April 2021.