Co-sourcing of employees: unknown, unloved?

Illegally putting workers at the disposal of a third-party user remains a hot item in Belgium. The sanctions should have a dissuasive effect: nullity of employment contract between employee and employer, new employment contract between employee and ‘using’ entity, joint and several liability of both entities for all salaries and indemnities, criminal sanctions…

A rather unknown solution to enable companies to use workforce in a flexible manner is the co-sourcing of employees. Two or more companies, economically linked or not, set up a ‘grouping of employers’ (werkgeversgroepering/groupement d’employeurs). The grouping can hire staff and place such staff with the members of the grouping without any further formalities having to be complied with (except for an agreement between the grouping and the employer-member using the employee). The employee will be on the grouping’s payroll and salary cost is invoiced by the grouping to the using member.

The grouping must obtain prior approval by the Minister of Work though (who will i.a. determine its duration).

According to the information shared by the competent government authority 3 such groupings have been set up in Brussels so far, 6 in the Walloon region and zero in the Flanders region. Unknow, unloved so it seems.

Co-sourcing of employees could hence be an interesting solution for legal entities belonging to the same group and willing to employ staff in a flexible manner over the different entities, without facing the risks of illegally putting employees at the disposal. Companies not being economically linked could co-source employees as well (e.g. 2 companies located in the same premises each requiring a half-time receptionist).