Business law and corporate governance

With the Act of 28 April 2010 on diverse provisions, a so-called "system of replacing entrepreneurs" was elaborated, which entered into force on 1 July 2010. Self-employed persons (i.e. individuals or directors of a legal entity) who temporarily cannot exercise their professional activity, can look for candidates who have declared themselves "replacing entrepreneur" via an online-register. In order to be included in such register, the entrepreneurs must present themselves at an office for enterprises ("ondernemingsloket"/"guichet d'entreprises") which is only possible if a company number can be presented.

When the self-employed person has found a replacing entrepreneur who meets his/her needs, they must conclude a written "contract for a replacement for a self-employed person". This contract can only be a fixed-term contract, with a maximum of 30 days per calendar year. In the event of periods of primary work incapacity, invalidity and maternity leave, the term can be prolonged. The King can fix other periods of inactivity which allow a prolongation of the contract for a replacement.

During the term of a contract for a replacement, the replaced entrepreneur may not exercise his/her usual professional activity or any other professional activity.

The replacing entrepreneur, who has registered himself/herself in the register and who has concluded a contract for a replacement, complying with all legal conditions, is irrefutably presumed to be a self-employed person in the framework of the execution of this contract. The legislator explained in the preparatory work for this Act that this irrefutable presumption implies that the work of the replacing entrepreneur involves a management autonomy, which does however not exclude that precise guidelines and tasks on the functioning of the company of the replaced entrepreneur can be given with a view to the execution of the contract for a replacement.

The practical arrangements regarding the register of replacing entrepreneurs, with amongst others the determination of the costs of registration and the data that must be communicated, were set forth in four implementing orders of 19 and 20 July 2010. The register of replacing entrepreneurs can be consulted via this  link .