The Administrative Commission for the regulation of the labour relationship is a social ruling authority. Parties to a labour relationship may obtain legal certainty regarding the nature of the labour relationship (employee or self-employed) through an application to the Administrative Commission for regulation of the labour relationship. The recently published 2014 annual report gives an insight into the functioning of the Administrative Commission and its decisions.
The Administrative Commission for the regulation of the labour relationship (the "Commission") has been operational since 2013. During its first year of operation, 6 decisions were taken. In 2014 the number of decisions already amounted up to 25.
The annual report shows that the Commission received applications from different sectors, and from the Flemish as well as the Walloon and Brussels-Capital Regions. It is interesting to note that, in a few cases, the Commission made a ruling in situations involving the use of a management company.
A content analysis indicates that 18 of the applications submitted in 2013 and 2014 were declared inadmissible. The most important reasons for declaring an application inadmissible were:
- the application was not submitted within one year after the start of the labour relationship;
- a criminal, judicial or administrative proceeding was either pending or had ended;
- the labour relationship was already terminated;
- the application was incomplete.
In 9 of the 13 admitted cases, the chosen categorisation was confirmed. In 4 of the admitted cases, a recharacterisation was made – in 3 cases from self-employed to employee and in 1 case from employee to self-employed. All decisions were taken based on the general criteria, as defined in the Labour Relations Act. Consequently, there are no decisions known yet regarding the “high-risk” sectors for which specific criteria were determined (construction work, surveillance, the transport sector, the cleaning sector, agriculture and horticulture).
The Commission does not see itself as an organ aiming to eliminate false self-employment but as a social-ruling authority with the purpose of giving the applicants legal certainty. Now that there is more insight into how the Commission proceeds, and with 30 decisions having been published already, it is to be expected that more and more parties to labour relationships who, in good faith, are doubtful regarding the nature of their labour relationship will overcome their hesitation and submit an application to the Commission. The fact that the Commission takes a decision regarding an application within a relatively short period (three months) is undoubtedly an advantage. The fact that none of the decisions of the Commission were challenged before the Labour Court shows that those involved mostly accept the opinion of the Commission.
It is to be expected that the importance of the Commission and its decisions will only increase in the future.