15 February 2023



Belgium Belgium
Geographical scope
  • Type

    Provision of insurance and social protection

  • Type


  • Type

    Employment contract

  • Type

    Algorithmic management



Scope of the Initiative

Two measures have been introduced to Chapter 4 of the Labour Relations Act (Act), improving the protection of platform workers:

  • Criteria have been defined for a ‘rebuttable presumption of employment contract’ for platform workers.
  • Those working for a platform and are deemed self-employed must still have an offer for work accident insurance.

A new chapter titled ‘Presumption regarding the nature of the employment relationship for digital commissioning platforms’ has been inserted into Chapter 4 of the Act. To define the scope which the Act can be applied to, ‘digital platform principal’, the ‘platform worker’ and the ‘platform operator’ are defined in Article 337/3. The definitions provided are as follows:

The ‘digital platform principal’ is ‘the provider of a for profit service that, by means of an algorithm or any other equivalent method or technology, is able to exercise a decision-making or controlling power with regard to the manner in which performance is to be realised and with regard to labour or pay conditions, and that provides a paid service that meets all the following requirements: a) it is provided, at least in part, remotely via electronic means, such as a website or a mobile application; b) it is provided at the request of a recipient of the service’. Note, this does not apply to platforms such as Air BnB, where the main purpose is to exploit assets or resell shared goods or services or that provide a service on a non-profit basis. The ‘platform worker’ is ‘any person performing platform work through a digital platform principal, regardless of the nature of the contractual relationship or its qualification by the parties involved’. The ‘platform operator’ refers to ‘the natural or legal person who, directly or through an intermediary, operates the digital platform principal.’

The ‘rebuttable legal presumption of the existence of an employment contract’ for the platform economy in Article 337/3, §2 of the Act has eight criteria which help identify when a ‘platform worker’ and platform should have the legal presumption of an employment relationship. The criteria are as follows:

  1. The platform operator may claim exclusivity with respect to its field of activity.
  2. The platform operator may use geolocation for purposes other than the proper functioning of basic services. Note, geolocation used as a means of control indicates hierarchical control and thus, subordinate power relations typical of employment.
  3. The platform operator may restrict the freedom of the platform worker regarding the manner of performing the work. For example, a bicycle courier who is not free to choose his route or determine the method of delivery himself, or if he must notify the platform of the receipt of the parcel according to a predetermined procedure, indicating the time of receipt.
  4. The platform operator may limit the level of the platform worker’s income, in particular, by paying hourly rates and/or limiting a platform worker’s ability to refuse orders based on a proposed basic rate and/or by not allowing him to determine the price of the work. Collective bargaining agreements are excluded from this clause.
  5. To the exclusion of legal provisions, particularly on health and safety, applicable to users, customers or workers themselves, the platform operator may require a platform worker to comply with mandatory rules on appearance, behaviour towards the recipient of the service or performance of the work.
  6. The platform operator can determine the prioritisation of future job offers and/or the amount offered for a job and/or the determination of the ranking by using the information collected and by monitoring the performance of the platform workers, excluding the result of this performance by electronic means.
  7. The platform operator may restrict, possibly including by means of sanctions, the freedom of organisation of work, in particular the freedom to choose its working hours or periods of absence, to accept or refuse tasks or to use subcontractors or substitutes, except when in the latter case the law expressly limits the possibility of using subcontractors.
  8. The platform operator may restrict the platform worker’s ability to build a customer base outside the platform or to perform work for a third party.

Accident coverage for self-employed ‘platform workers’ in Chapter 4 of the Act must be offered by the ‘platform operator’ to self-employed platform workers. This must cover bodily harm resulting from accidents occurring during the performance, or on the way to and from, remunerated activities for the platform. This means regardless of a platform worker being in an employment relationship or self-employed, those working for the platform will de facto receive an offer for occupational accident insurance.

The platform operator who fails to fulfil this obligation will be held civilly liable for damages to the platform workers. Moreover, Chapter 14 of the Labour Deal Act in Book XV, Title 3, Chapter 2 of the Economic Law Code provides a level 2 criminal sanction for ‘platform operators’ not conforming with this obligation. Moreover, Article 581 of the Judicial Code will be amended so that labour tribunals -and courts of appeal will also have jurisdiction to hear disputes concerning this “common law (industrial accident) insurance”. Thus, self-employed platform workers will thus have equal access to the same courts as employees.

Additional metadata

employment status, regulatory changes
No specific sector focus



Eurofound (2023), Amendments to the Labour Relations Act to Recognise the Platform Economy (Initiative), Record number 4257, Platform Economy Database, Dublin,