New liability rules regarding the salary debts of the (sub)contractor

Since December 30, 2016 a new additional liability to the payment of salaries by the (sub)contractor was established in the construction sector.

We have now two systems of liability for the payment of the salaries, being:

1. the existing general rules applicable to all sectors and which applies to direct and indirect contractual relationships;
2. the newly introduced rules, which only apply to activities in the construction sector (but not limited to JC 124, for example also JC 111) in relation to direct contractual parties.

The new rules are introduced as the general scheme only enters into force 14 working days after notification of wage debts in respect of an (in) direct contractual relationship. The notification is given by the social inspection or by an employee. In contrary to this, the new regulations come into force immediately in relation to the direct (sub)contractor.

The principal or contractor is only exempted from the jointly and severally liability, if he is in possession of a written declaration made and signed by him and his (sub)contractor, in which the (sub)contractor confirms that he pays the wages to its employees. The principal or contractor has to mention the website of the FOD Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue in the declaration.

Based on the general arrangements, however, he remains jointly and severally liable for the payment of the salary from the expiry of a period of 14 working days from the date on which the principal or contractor is aware of the fact that (sub)contractor is not in order with the payment of wages (there is a liability for future wage debts).

The liabilities is covered normally in the agreement with the (sub)contractor.

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