04 February 2020

Social inspections: five tips for the interview

Sometimes you will be sent a letter in advance, but it’s equally possible that the social inspection may show up unannounced at the door of your business. During such an inspection, the business manager and employees can expect to be interviewed. Use these five tips to keep a cool head.

If you are inspected by the Employment Law Supervision Service, the visit will start with certain documents being checked:

  • all employment contracts,
  • your employment regulations,
  • work schedules,
  • payslips,
  • the individual annual statement for each employee.

The inspectors can also request work permits and cards, as well as proof of work accident insurance, invoices relating to benefits in kind (e.g. telecom operator, car dealer) and so on.

Read more about their powers in this blog.

They will then ask you and your employees a number of questions. This may seem stressful to you, but if you keep these five tips in mind it is sure to go well:

 Tip 1: cooperate constructively

You cannot refuse an interview: if you do, you risk being penalised. So take a constructive approach and encourage your employees to do the same even if things are very busy. The inspector can interview the employees present individually or collectively. As an employer you may not demand to be present, although it is sometimes permitted.

Tip 2: use your right to remain silent

Cooperating does not mean that you are obliged to answer every question. The inspector must point out that you have the right to remain silent at the start of every interview. Stating that you need to look up or check certain matters, for example with your social secretariat, is therefore not a problem. And if your employees are in any doubt, they can always pass the matter on to you or to HR. In addition, it is inadvisable to start blaming yourself.

Tip 3: let sleeping dogs lie

Answer the inspector’s questions briefly and stick to the point. In other words, definitely do not digress into matters that strictly speaking you haven’t been asked about. Remember that the social inspector has the right to pass on any information obtained to other inspectorates.

Tip 4: consult your lawyer

In the case of serious violations for which you may face a penalty of the highest level (e.g. violations relating to the Dimona declaration), you are entitled to consult a lawyer beforehand. During the interview itself, your lawyer may assist you but not represent you. You will therefore need to be present and if necessary answer questions. In any case, it is advisable to contact your lawyer or advisor whenever there is a social inspection.

Want to know more about the different penalties a social inspector can impose? Read more about it in this blog

Tip 5: request the official report

If you have been questioned by the inspector, you will be given the opportunity to read the official report afterwards, and to add or change things where applicable. You are also entitled to a copy of the report, so be sure to request it.

Finally: pass on these five tips to your staff as well. This is because even when you are not on the premises, the social inspectorate is able to carry out an inspection and ask questions. Make sure you also show your employees the location of the documents that are usually requested by the inspectorate (see the list above), so that they can quickly provide them to the inspector.

Employment & benefits

Do you have any further questions about this? Then be sure to contact our advisors! Let's talk!

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