Reform of employers' groups - A useful tool for the company

18 Jul 2014

<p>An Act and a Royal Decree were published in the Belgian Official Gazette concerning the reform of the employers' groups (EG) mechanism, making the EG more accessible and attractive.</p>

The EG is a system which allows enterprises to associate with each other to benefit from the work of employees which they cannot, for financial and/or workload reasons, hire exclusively for themselves.

Before the reform, the applicable system was rather rigid;

  • it only concerned lower qualified employees who have left the labour market;
  • it required the conclusion of a full-time employment contract for an indefinite period;
  • and to formalise the EG it was necessary to use the "economic interest grouping" as set out in the Company Code.

Moreover, prior ministerial authorization was necessary.

Although a prior ministerial authorization remains required, the reform of the EG:

  • opens the system for all employees;
  • allows the use of fixed-term contracts, half-time contracts and contracts for a specified project/task (minimum 19 working hours per week);
  • allows the use of a non-profit organization.

The reforms become retroactively applicable as of 1 February 2014, but shall be tested through a number of pilot projects, since certain technical aspects still need to be sorted out (sectorial committee to which the employees of the EG will belong, VAT aspects).

> Action point

Identify the needs which an EG might meet in your company.