Employment agencies

The recruitment of workers by authorised agencies

In Wallonia, certain businesses can help employers to find the right candidate for a position and help job-seekers to access the labour market.

They must obtain official authorisation in order to do so. These applications are managed by the Directorate of Employment and Work Permits.

What is an employment agency?

Employment agencies are either legal or natural persons who provide employment services on their own behalf or on behalf of a third party or have a third party provide them on their behalf.

Employment agencies may offer the following services:

  • temporary employment service: the agency offers temporary work positions;
  • job-search service: the agency looks for a job for workers who request this;
  • recruitment and selection service: the agency looks for workers to meet employers' needs;
  • integration service: the agency helps workers to find a job themselves;
  • outplacement service: the agency provides redundant workers with the tools they need to find another job;
  • finding positions for professional athletes;
  • finding positions for performance artists.

What is the difference between an employment agency and a temporary employment agency?

Temporary employment agencies are employment agencies that offer temporary employment positions. They must obtain a licence in order to do so. Temporary work is authorised only for performing a temporary job. Temporary work is possible only under certain circumstances authorised by the law.

Temporary employment agencies may also offer job-seeking, recruitment and selection and outplacement services and also find positions for professional athletes and performance artists.

Employment agencies that offer job-seeking, recruitment and selection and outplacement services and also find positions for professional athletes and performance artists must register in order to do so.

Employment agencies must respect certain obligations

In Wallonia, employment agencies must register in order to perform their activities.

Employment agencies must be registered in order to perform the following services:

  • job-seeking,
  • recruitment and selection,
  • integration,
  • outplacement,
  • finding positions for professional athletes;
  • finding positions for performance artists.

If the employment agency provides several services, it must be specifically registered for each one.

The obligations of a registered agency:

1° to not provide an employment service for which it is not registered;

2° to not accept or request any payment from workers, or require workers to pay fees of any kind as a condition for the provision of employment services.
 

There are two possible derogations: for the job-seeking service and for finding positions for artists or paid athletes subject to certain conditions.

 3° to not collaborate with an unregistered employment agency;

4° to cancel their registration within 30 days of ceasing operations; and

 5° to submit an annual activity report;

Employment agencies that do not comply with these obligations will be subject to sanctions.

 

Exemptions to registration:

The following structures are exempt from submitting a registration application as an employment agency:

1° public employment services
2° the selection offices of the federal or regional public services
3° job-seeking services for seafarers
4° public social welfare centres (CPAS) if they provide integration services
5° universities and colleges, Arts colleges and Architecture colleges if they provide job-seeking services
6° Regional employment missions if they provide job-seeking or integration services
7° integration companies if they provide integration services.

The bodies mentioned in points 4, 5, 6 and 7 must still provide a simplified annual activity report.

Temporary employment agencies must respect certain obligations

The obligations of licensed temporary employment agencies:

  • to include the contact details of the Administration responsible for checking and monitoring the provisions of this decree in all contractual documents sent to workers or employers;
  • to include the licence number in advertisements and all communication;
  • to not accept or request any payment from workers, or require workers to pay fees of any kind as a condition for the provision of temporary employment services;
  • at the request of the job-seekers using the services of the licensed temporary employment agency, to provide a declaration indicating the date and time of their visit to the temporary employment agency;
  • to provide sufficient training for their employees and check that these employees comply with the current regulations;
  • to not collaborate with unlicensed temporary employment agencies;
  • to notify the Administration of the cessation of its operations;
  • to submit an annual report that includes information on the licence conditions as well as data contributing to the transparency of the regional labour market.

Any agencies that do not respect these obligations will be subject to sanctions.

Exemptions to licensing:

Agencies that are already licensed in Flanders, Brussels or in the German-speaking Community for the provision of temporary employment activities may submit a simplified application (exemption) in order to provide their services in compliance with the law in Wallonia.

These agencies must, however, meet the obligations set out by the Decree of 3 April 2009 on the registration or licensing of employment agencies, including the submission of an annual activity report.

These agencies are, however, free to submit a licence application in accordance with the traditional procedure. If they do so, they avoid a situation in which the withdrawal of their licence in another region automatically leads to the loss of their exemption in Wallonia.

To follow the full licensing procedure, agencies must tick the box on the form stating that they wish to submit a licensing application.

Exemptions to registration or licensing requirements

Exemptions to registration:

The following structures are exempt from submitting a registration application as an employment agency:

1° public employment services
2° the selection offices of the federal or regional public services
3° job-seeking services for seafarers
4° public social welfare centres (CPAS) if they provide integration services
5° universities and colleges, Arts colleges and Architecture colleges if they provide job-seeking services
6° Regional employment missions if they provide job-seeking or integration services
7° integration companies if they provide integration services.

The bodies mentioned in points 4, 5, 6 and 7 must still provide a simplified annual activity report.

 

Exemptions to licensing:

Agencies that are already licensed in Flanders, Brussels or in the German-speaking Community for the provision of temporary employment activities may submit a simplified application (exemption) in order to provide their services in compliance with the law in Wallonia.

These agencies must, however, meet the obligations set out by the Decree of 3 April 2009 on the registration or licensing of employment agencies, including the submission of an annual activity report.

These agencies are, however, free to submit a licence application in accordance with the traditional procedure. If they do so, they avoid a situation in which the withdrawal of their licence in another region automatically leads to the loss of their exemption in Wallonia.

To follow the full licensing procedure, agencies must tick the box on the form stating that they wish to submit a licensing application.

The registration procedure for employment agencies

Agencies must complete the online registration application form as an agency that offers recruitment and selection, job-seeking, integration, outplacement services and finds positions for artists or athletes.

Registration application dossiers are handled directly by the Directorate of Employment and Work Permits of the Wallonia Public Service. Employment agencies are issued with a permanent registration number.

Wallonia has set up a Consultation and Dialogue Committee for employment issues. This committee supervises this legal provision.

The licensing procedure for a temporary employment agency

Agencies must complete the online licence application form as a temporary employment agency.

Temporary employment agencies that already have a licence in one of the other Regions of Belgium may complete a simplified procedure and obtain an exemption. This exemption request must also be submitted using the licence application form.

Licence application dossiers for temporary employment agencies are first analysed by the Administration. They are then sent to the Economic and Social Committee of the Walloon Region for comment. The relevant Minister will make the final decision on whether to grant or refuse a licence to operate as a temporary employment agency.

Temporary employment agencies are issued with a licence number that is initially valid for a period of two years. After this period, their licence may be renewed indefinitely.

Activity reports

Employment agencies are obliged to submit an annual activity report containing:

  • quantitative and qualitative data
  • data outlined by the Consultation and Dialogue Committee for employment issues of the Economic and Social Council (CESRW)

The objective is to guarantee the visibility and transparency of the regional labour market.

The role of the Consultation and Dialogue Committee for employment issues

This Commission is part of the Walloon Region Economic and Social Council.

The missions of this Committee are to issue reasoned opinions on:

  • the licensing of temporary employment agencies
  • the different types of services involved
  • the suspension or withdrawal of licences from temporary employment agencies and the registration of employment agencies
  • all issues relating to job-finding in general and to temporary employment
  • and to submit an annual activity report to the Government and to the Walloon Parliament

The composition of this Committee:

  • a President and a Vice President
  • representatives of employer organisations
  • representatives of employee organisations
  • representatives of Government

 

This Committee includes a Consultation Chamber whose role is to:

1° organise the collection of data between:

  • the Walloon vocational training and employment office, the Forem
  • the employment agencies
  • the temporary employment agencies

2° to organise the sharing of the data exploitation results by the Forem

3° to organise cooperation in areas of common interest between:

  • the Forem
  • the employment agencies
  • the temporary employment agencies

4° to submit proposals to the Government on ways of increasing the transparency of the regional labour market, and in particular to establish a framework for the collection of information.

As well as representatives of the Consultation Committee, this Chamber includes:

  • representatives of the Forem,
  • representatives of the Walloon Institute for Evaluation, Prospective and Statistics ( IWEPS)
  • on invitation, experts whose presence is considered necessary