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31 March 2021
The Social Information and Investigation Service (SIOD/SIRS) recently published its 2021 action plan revealing its strategy and top priorities for the year. Similar to recent years, the construction sector remains a target. This article summarises what employers can expect in 2021 and how they can prepare, based on the SIOD/SIRS checklist.
The construction sector will be subject to so-called 'flash controls' in May 2021. Inspectors of several inspection services (eg, social laws and social security) will jointly proceed with coordinated actions in the construction sector.
Although the flash controls are mainly preventative and informative in nature, in cases of non-compliance, the inspection services will proceed with the necessary action, including issuing a pro justitia.
According to the 2021 action plan, no fewer than 2,000 inspection audits can be expected in the construction sector. The flash controls will be in addition to these unannounced inspection audits. Social dumping, non-declared employment and social security contribution fraud remain a priority for the inspection services.
In this respect, the 2021 action plan not only continues SIOD/SIRS's action points as identified in the 2020 action plan but also introduces new focus actions, which will be embedded in a sector-specific approach, focusing on social fraud phenomena that are typical for the construction sector. Figure 1 highlights the most notable new actions.
Figure 1: most notable new actions
The more traditional actions also have their place in the 2021 action plan, such as audits focusing on:
In addition, the federal minister in charge of the coordination of combating fraud has announced in a separate action plan that large construction sites will be monitored proactively and systematically, not only by the various social inspection services but also by the tax inspection services. More details of this action plan are expected shortly.
SIOD/SIRS has published a checklist that allows employers to proceed with a self-compliance check.(1) This checklist gives an idea of the questions that can be asked by social inspectors and which documents could be requested. An update of this checklist has also been announced in the 2021 action plan.
Documents that can be requested in case of audits
Documents that can be requested in the case of audits include:
Questions that social inspectors can ask individuals working on construction sites
Social inspectors can ask individuals working on construction sites:
Documents that social inspectors can ask to see from individuals working on construction sites
Social inspectors can ask to see the following documents from individuals working on construction sites:
This is not an exhaustive list. Other questions can be raised and other documents can be requested. For example, in a social inspection audit on a construction site in which various contractors are active (as part of a contractor 'chain'), the inspection services will often focus on detecting unlawful employee lending issues (ie, where workers are put at the disposal of third-party users whereby the latter exercise (part of) the authority vested in the employer over such workers).
For further information on this topic please contact Emma Van Caenegem at ALTIUS by telephone (+32 2 426 1414) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The ALTIUS website can be accessed at www.altius.com.
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