Companies working with (sub)contractors are (hopefully) already aware that, in some situations, the legislator provides for so-called chain liability, whereby the principal can also be held liable for his contractor's shortcomings. Think of the joint and several liability for salary arrears owed to the contractor's employees, whereby specific rules apply to the construction sector.
Flanders also provides for chain liability if the contractor employs workers without the necessary residence permits. Following some scandals that have appeared in the press over the past year, the Flemish regulator has decided to turn up the heat.
A draft Flemish decree on chain liability aims to end illegal employment of foreign workers and abusive constructions in Flanders. Indeed, the regulations currently state that chain liability does not apply if the principal has his contractor declare in writing that the latter does not or will not employ any non-EU citizens residing illegally - a clause that can regularly be found in service agreements. In this way, the principal or main contractor often escapes all responsibility. The Flemish regulator now wants to clamp down on this.