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Can I loan my staff as an alternative to temporary unemployment?

Wednesday 29/04/2020
Kan ik mijn personeel uitlenen

Before moving on to temporary unemployment, it is certainly useful to consider alternatives, such as the posting of staff or temporary agency work.

Through these possibilities, the employee can generate a higher salary and gain additional experience in another sector. As an employer, this way you can meet the great need for extra personnel in critical sectors. 

As a result of COVID-19, massive use has been made in recent weeks of the temporary unemployment scheme. This is the case both in companies that have to close down compulsorily and in companies that are experiencing a decline in the amount of work or for jobs for which homeworking is not possible and social distancing cannot be respected. 

Loss of income temporary unemployment

These workers receive unemployment benefit equal to 70% of their gross salary, but capped at € 2 754.76 per month. The maximum amount of unemployment benefit is therefore € 1 928.33 gross for a full month of temporary unemployment.  On top of this, the employee receives an additional benefit equal to € 5.63 per day from the NEO. 

Although a certain income guarantee is therefore provided, the temporary unemployment implies at the same time a significant loss of income.  The higher the salary, the greater the loss of income.

While within some companies no work is possible or less work is available, in other companies and sectors, including the care sector and forestry, agriculture and horticulture, we see an enormous need for extra personnel. 

As an alternative to temporary unemployment, the employer may choose to temporarily lend its own staff and thus employ them in another company via the mechanism of the permitted temporary posting or via temporary agency work.  

In this way, the employees remain at work, thus obtaining a higher income, and the need for additional staff in other companies and sectors is also met at the same time. For the employee, this temporary employment can be a personal enrichment.

Permitted temporary posting

In principle, it is strictly forbidden to put one's own employees at the disposal of another employer. Disregarding this prohibition has important consequences such as the creation of an employment contract on the part of the user, joint and several liability for the payment of wages and social security contributions, civil and criminal penalties.  

Recently, the Core Cabinet adopted a package of measures to address staff shortages in critical sectors during the corona crisis. These measures were published in the Belgian Official Gazette on 28 April 2020.  

They provide for a three-month derogation (from 1/4/2020 to 30/6/2020) from the prohibition of posting, allowing an employer to post its permanent staff to a user belonging to the critical sectors in addition to its normal activities.   

An important deviation is that this exception does not require the consent of the inspection services, whereas this is normally the case. Only employees who were already employed before 10 April 2020 can be loaned out.  The duration and modalities will be included in a three-party agreement between the employer, employee and user.  The agreement must be concluded before the start of the posting. 

The original employment contract between the employer and the employee remains in force during the posting.  However, the user becomes jointly and severally liable for the payment of social security contributions, wages, allowances and benefits resulting from this posting.    

The salary and working conditions of the lent employee are at least equal to the conditions enjoyed by a similar employee in the same position with the user.  This does not make it easy for the average employer. The employer must have sufficient knowledge of the user's wages and premiums.

Temporary employment

An alternative is to make use of temporary work. In that case, the existing employment contract can be suspended by mutual agreement in order to give the employee the opportunity to carry out the temporary work.   

If you have other questions regarding the Corona crisis, please visit our special FAQ

Last update: 30/04/2020

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Saskia Lombaerts
Saskia Lombaerts
Director Tax & Legal