hr policy

Work rules vs. company policies: can we still see the forest for the trees?

reading time: 5min | #freelancers #HR | 12 July 2023 | Lise Breine & Julie Van Acker

The terms "work rules" and "company policy" have by now become general concepts in the business world and will certainly be of interest to you as an HR freelancer are not new. But what exactly is the difference, and is there a reason why it is best to include certain agreements in one document or the other? The distinction between the two documents is more important than you (probably) think. Our partner, law firm A.lex, will be happy to guide you through all of it in the blog below.


First of all, we must say that for certain aspects there is no choice at all. There are several entries that are mandatory in labor regulations. These are included in the labor regulations law or other specific legislation (e.g., the "infamous" Labor Deal of October 3, 2022). It would lead us too far in this blog if we were to list and explain all the mandatory entries. What is important, however, is that if these entries are not included in the labor regulations, the employer risks a fine in that case. Otherwise, you are free. The choice depends on several factors such as the target group, the size and importance of the provision(s) to be introduced.

Limited target group

For example, if the agreements relate to a limited target group, and not everyone has business with the content, or if they are agreements that will change frequently, then policies are preferred. Policies do not necessarily apply to everyone and can easily be changed.

Changing employment regulations

Changing labor regulations, on the other hand, is less straightforward. For most changes, a specific procedure must be followed, whereby the employees (and also the works council in large companies) must agree to the changes before they can take effect. In addition, the social laws supervision inspection must also be informed about the labor regulations and changes. From this point of view, the labor regulations are a relatively cumbersome instrument, and changes should be bundled as much as possible. However, it is the instrument par excellence for making company agreements opposable and grouped together. After following the introduction and/or amendment procedure, the included provisions are enforceable.

Change company policy

A company policy, on the other hand, is in fact a unilateral document prepared by the employer, which in principle does not require the agreement of the employee or organs. Such policies are therefore easy to amend. Of course, the downside is that making these provisions enforceable will be less easy.In order to make these policies enforceable, it is at least required that the employees actually receive these policies or know where they can consult them (e.g. intranet). Moreover, an acknowledgement of receipt is recommended at all times, possibly through a clause in the employment contract and/or employment regulations.

Moral of the story

  • The labor regulations are a clear document with clear legal value, in which company agreements should be included as much as possible.
  • The company policy is a simple alternative that can be used for additional (group) agreements.


This blog post was brought to you by law firm A.lex. A.lex specializes in all facets of corporate law. It focuses mainly on broad labor law and commercial questions and issues. Their mission is to unburden the entrepreneur, large and small, as much as possible legally. on September 28, 2023, A.lex together with GIGHOUSE will give a workshop for HR Freelancers around false self-employment. Interested? Click on more information.

Learn more

Freelancers? No thank you! They are too expensive for our business!

February 6, 2024 #Money #utor #P Price

An analysis shows that freelancers' costs are comparable to those of permanent and temporary workers, making choosing expertise over contract form essential; GIGHOUSE advocates valuing flexible forms of employment and the use of independent experts.

4 min.
Read Blog
Freelancer summit

3 reasons why you should attend the Freelancer Summit

October 10, 2023 #events #freelancers

The Freelancer Summit offers freelancers valuable opportunities for networking, continuing education and personal meetings with matchmakers.

5 min.
Read Blog

Why choosing a niche as a freelancer is important

July 18, 2023 #freelancers

Find out how to ensure you can charge higher rates and get more meaningful projects by researching market demand and improving your skills.

5 min.
Read Blog
hr policy

Labor regulations vs. company policies: can we still see the forest for the trees?

July 12, 2023 #freelancers #HR

Employment regulations or company policies? For many HR freelancers, it is often unclear. Law firm A.lex clarifies.

5 min.
Read Blog

My freelance activity: as a natural person or under a corporation?

July 11, 2023 #free #freelancers #earning as a freelancer

Freelancer in Belgium: Choosing between individual or company? Discover legal, tax and financial insights for the best choice. Case study shows financial difference. Make smart decisions with professional advice!

5 min.
Read Blog

Why 100% working from home is not a good idea

July 11, 2023 #freelancers

Working from home has advantages, but also disadvantages such as blurred work-life separation, reduced social contact and inappropriate infrastructure. Variety and co-working spaces help freelancers find balance.

3 min.
Read Blog

Subscribe to the newsletter

    [honeypot id number]

    I have read and understand the privacy policy.