Labour relations: the administrative commission is finally “ruling”

The so-called Labour Relations Act of 27 December 2006 established an administrative commission that can give a ruling determining whether a worker should be regarded as an employee or as a self-employed person.

Administrative Commission is finally “ruling”

Although the Act already celebrated its 6th anniversary, the Administrative Commission on Employment Relations (hereafter referred to as the ‘Ruling Commission’) has only recently become fully operational. This means that parties can finally seek legal certainty about the nature of their labour relation.

Who can request a ruling? When? Where?

A ruling can be requested as follows:


A ruling reduces the risk of false self-employment

A ruling is binding on the institutions represented in the Ruling Commission (2) and on the Social Insurance Funds for Self-Employed Persons. The social ruling will be valid for a period of three years. As long as the ruling applies, the social institutions cannot re-characterise the employment relationship’s nature.

The ruling can only be withdrawn or annulled when it is based on incorrect or incomplete information or, when the contract’s execution is no longer in accordance with the information on the basis of which a ruling was awarded. Courts also maintain their full competence to determine the nature of a labour relation.

A ruling is recommended when the nature of the employment relationship is uncertain

When parties are not entirely sure whether they are entering into an employment contract or a services agreement, a social ruling request is highly recommended. Uncertainty about the employment relationship’s nature can arise or typically exists in the following cases:

the parties want to appeal to an independent contractor’s services while the company has other employees on its payroll with a similar or even identical function;
the parties are working within one of the business sectors for which specific criteria have been determined;
the company wants to establish an (in)formal management committee within a subsidiary of a foreign company composed of self-employed members and the headquarters want a guarantee that the proposed set-up is risk-free;
a VZW/ASBL appoints a new CFO; is he to be considered as “charged with the daily management” and thus irrefutably presumed to be an employee, or can parties choose how they wish to work together?