Mandatory accident insurance and determination of employment status based on eight criteria

VS – 02/2022

The Belgian government presented a labour market reform on 15 February. Part of the reform package includes new requirements for determining the employment status of platform workers and their occupational health and safety. In presenting its reform package, the government explicitly referred to the European Commission's proposal for a Directive on Improvement of Working Conditions of Platform Workers (see also DSV News and Opinion).

Determination of employment status – legal presumption

The European Commission has proposed that the determination of the employment status should be based on the actual employment relationship and not the contractual agreement. The determination is to be made on the basis of a legal presumption using five criteria set forth in the proposed directive. Although Belgium follows the European Commission here, it still wants to add three more criteria. Accordingly, a presumption of dependent employment is made if three of the eight criteria are met.

In case of contradiction, the burden of proof lies with the digital labour platform

The digital labour platform may appeal against the presumption of employment status. Analogous to the European Commission's proposal for a directive, the burden of proof should lie with the employer. Also, the appeal should not have a suspensive effect on the application of the legal presumption.

Mandatory accident insurance

Currently, platform workers are mostly not covered against occupational accidents. Under the Belgian government's reform package, platform workers must be insured against occupational accidents, regardless of the employment status, with insurance coverage paid for by the digital labour platform.

The rights of the self-employed should also be strengthened. For example, digital labour platforms should no longer be able to demand exclusivity from an independent platform worker. This allows self-employed platform workers to work as drivers for competing platforms at the same time and choose the best offer for them in each case.  

Next steps

In the forthcoming parliamentary procedure, the proposed measures must be implemented in concrete laws or ordinances and their practical application must be determined. In this context, the social partners are also heard.