A new special social security contribution should discourage companies from making too much use of consecutive daily agency work contracts from 1 January 2023

On July 19, 2022, the National Labor Council social partners proposed to introduce a new accountability mechanism to to punish companies that make excessive use of consecutive daily temporary agency work (“interim”) employment contracts (SDC): if the SDC number exceeds a certain threshold during a semester, then the business user will have to pay a special social security contribution. this contribution amount shall Gradually increase of the SDC number. The National Labor Council has to asked the government to take all necessary legal and operational initiatives So that this responsibility mechanism shall come into effect on January 1, 2023.

What are (consecutive) daily agency work contracts?

Consecutive daily agency work contracts (SDC) are employment contracts for agency work that are entered into for a maximum of 24 hours with the same user and that follow each other immediately.[1] It is legal to perform this type of agency work employment contract, provided the user can justify the need for such flexibility. This means that the user must be able to demonstrate that: the work volume depends on external factors, whether the work volume fluctuates strongly or is related to the nature of a specific task.

Why are (consecutive) daily agency contracts popular?

Data from the National Social Security Office (“NSSO”) shows that SDC is very popular.[2] This finding is not surprising, as it is a flexible tool that allows business users to quickly respond to (unpredicted) operational needs, especially in the logistics sector with its ‘just in time’ business models.

Why is the use of (consecutive) daily agency contracts discouraged?

While the added value of SDC is recognized, reliance on this type of contract may not constitute a business model that guarantees the operational functioning of a company. The overuse of SDC by a corporate user will be discouraged. This is mainly because it leads to professional insecurity for the temporary worker concerned.

In certain industries, the use of SDC is already highly regulated and restricted; for companies that fall under Joint Committee No. 124 for the construction sector, the use of SDC is even prohibited.

What what does the future accountability mechanism look like?

Business users will have to pay a special social security contribution if the SDC number exceeds a certain threshold during a period of 6 months.[3] The higher the SDC number, the higher the contribution:

An example: a business user who uses the same temporary agency worker 85 times in the period between 1 January and 30 June 2023 on the basis of a consecutive daily temporary employment contract (SDC) would have to pay a special social security contribution of EUR 2,550.

Are there exceptions to this rule?

In “exceptional circumstances” users can recover the special social security contribution (after having paid it first) subject to a prior, specific procedure. The RSZ takes the final decision on whether or not to grant compensation.

It is worth noting that the social partners have not defined the concept of “exceptional circumstances”.

When does the accountability mechanism kick in?

The aim of the social partners is to have the responsibility mechanism come into effect on 1 January 2023. It is not yet certain whether this target date will be met; Not only do certain legal and regulatory initiatives need to be taken, but from an operational point of view specific tools need to be implemented (such as an application that allows a business user to check the SDC number).

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