Article 1 : Context
These general terms apply in the context of the “service voucher” system. Service vouchers are used by the service company to pay for providing the services of a household helper in the home of a private individual, referred to below as the “patron”.
The expression “household helper” used in these general terms is understood to refer indiscriminately to male and female workers.
Article 2 : Material and instructions to be provided and warnings
The patron will make cleaning products and adequate equipment (in good operating condition) available to the household helper.The patron will inform the household helper of the procedures to be used for cleaning his/her home and/or laundry. He/she is responsible for giving instructions and supervising the work done by the household helper.
If the patron wishes to entrust the household helper with the maintenance, cleaning and/or handling of valuable objects or fragile materials (particularly lacquered or other surfaces requiring particular care), he/she must first give adequate instructions.
The patron will then inform the household helper of the objects and fragile materials in the home and will give adequate instructions and products for their upkeep. Under no circumstances can the household helper be asked to clean unusual valuable objects (works of art, unique articles, etc.).
Article 3 : Payments
The patron pays by means of one service voucher per hour worked and undertakes to have a sufficient stock of service vouchers at the time the services are provided.
3.1. Paper service vouchers
The patron gives the household helper a valid service voucher, duly signed and completed (including the detachable stub) per hour worked, at the latest at the end of the household-helper’s daily work. The patron fills in the date on the voucher (the date the service is actually provided) using a blue or black ballpoint pen (not a pencil, marker or other colour) and specifies the type of activity carried out (tick in the box). Note: Sodexo does not accept crossing out, “tipp ex” or other correctors.
3.2. Electronic service vouchers
The patron chooses the option “I authorize informing the approved company in case of an insufficient balance in my electronic wallet” on the Sodexo website. At the end of the working day, the household helper calls a free telephone number from the patron’s telephone and records the number of hours worked.
Then, within 48 hours, the patron must manually validate the service provided in his/her personal electronic space. Consequently he/she cannot expect any automatic confirmation from Sodexo’s computer system. If the service company makes any change (for example due to a typing error), the patron has 48 hours to confirm the record of services provided.
If the patron challenges the record of services provided, he/she must inform the service company at the latest on first working day following the challenge. Electronic payment is considered to have been made regularly when the electronic voucher has been debited from the patron’s account.
Article 4 : Contribution to travel and operating costs
§ 1. Without prejudice to the payment for services delivered using service vouchers, the user is asked to pay a €2 contribution for each service delivered at or outside their home, with a maximum of €16 per calendar month.
For the purposes of this provision, a service is defined as an uninterrupted service delivered by the domestic assistant, regardless of the number of hours involved. The statutory 15-minute break for every four hour-service is not counted as an interruption.
§ 2. This contribution is intended to help fund the operating costs of providing support to the domestic assistance and as a contribution to their travelling expenses.
§3. The contribution will be invoiced monthly and charged in the month following the month in which the associated services were delivered.
Article 5 : Prohibited jobs
The household helper can under no circumstances do jobs that are dangerous, entail a risk for health or are inappropriate, such as:
- cleaning windows at a height (the household helper can climb three steps of a step-ladder at most),
- working outdoors in bad weather (rain, snow, very hot or cold weather),
- services requiring skills that exceed those that can be expected from a reasonably prudent and diligent person doing household jobs;
For example, asking the household helper to do work needed to clean a construction site is prohibited – this entails cleaning all kinds of debris and cement, plaster, etc. and requires skills that cannot be expected of a household helper.
The household helper can clean strictly private premises only. Cleaning common staircases or premises for professional use, such as offices or a doctor’s office, is therefore strictly prohibited. Authorized household errands are exclusively to enable the patron to meet his/her daily needs. The purchase of furniture, household appliances, audio-visual devices, hot meals and the periodic distribution of newspapers and magazines are not considered to be included in daily needs.
Article 6 : Security and hygiene
The household helper must always be put to work under optimal conditions of security and hygiene. In the event of serious hygiene problems or a situation endangering the household helper, the helper or the service company can ask the patron to solve the problem(s). In case of a contagious disease, the patron must immediately inform the service company. In the event of a persistent security or hygiene problem, the household helper will no longer provide services, with immediate effect. All material made available must be in good condition and sure. The patron must inform the service company directly, in the event of an accident incurred by the household helper during the execution of his/her work. As soon as a household helper is pregnant, a certain number of legal measures must be respected for the security and health of the mother and child. The household helper can continue to work for the patron, up to one week before the presumed date of birth, as long as the following is taken into account:
The following is not authorized during pregnancy; the list is not exhaustive:
- a pregnant household helper cannot be put in contact with cats or clean their litter,
- a pregnant household helper cannot be exposed to contagious childhood diseases. If one of the patron’s children has a contagious childhood disease, the patron will inform the service company before the scheduled services. The household helper will come back on the job once the child is cured.
A pregnant household helper cannot carry heavy objects (ex. pail of water), or climb a step-ladder.
Article 7 : Rules imposed on the household helper
The household helper is required to respect to the following rules:
- the household helper is not authorized to smoke on the job. If no break is scheduled during working hours, the patron will give the helper the possibility to smoke a cigarette during the morning and during the afternoon,
- the household helper is entitled to a break during working hours of fifteen minutes per four consecutive hours of service,
- the household helper cannot telephone during working hours, unless the call is needed for the service. Exceptionally, the household helper can be authorized to telephone for private questions, using his/her own mobile telephone,
- the household helper cannot be a close family member of the patron or a member of the household. If this situation should occur, the patron will inform the service company. In that case, the service company will immediately terminate the help,
- the household helper can keep the keys to the patron’s home only if the patron has authorized this in writing. In that case, the patron will see that the household helper returns keys to the home and will remit them to another service company worker (for example in case of a replacement). The service company recommends having the household helper sign a statement on receiving and/or returning the keys. Under no circumstances can the service company be held liable for the management of the keys to the home.
Article 8 : Non-discrimination
The service company offers the patron a quality service that ensures respect of human dignity, privacy, ideological, philosophical and religious convictions, the right to make a claim, the right to information and the patron’s right of inspection, which takes account of the patron’s living situation.
With regard to the householder worker and the service company, no distinction will be made on the basis of race, ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation, philosophical or religious convictions, in the context of the offer and supply of services.
Article 9 : Absence of the worker
The service company will inform the patron as quickly as possible of any modifications in the work schedule.
In the event of unforeseen circumstances (sick leave, absence for force majeure or for exceptional circumstances), the patron is informed without delay by the service company.
The absent worker will be replaced insofar as possible, but no guarantee can be given. In the event of a replacement, there may be a change in working times and day(s) in agreement with the patron.
Article 10 : Absence of the patron
The patron will take all useful measures to ensure that the household-helper’s services can be provided all year long (among other things, access to the home).In the event of a change in place or cancellation of the services stipulated by contract, the patron shall inform the service company in writing:
- of the change in place or cancellation of the services stipulated by contract at least ten working days before the week in which the services are to take place,
- of the date of replacement: at least 3 working days before the week in which the services are to take place.
If the change in place or cancellation is not notified in due time, the service company will invoice the normal hours, unless the patron agrees to have the weekly hours stipulated in the contract worked at another time during the current calendar quarter.
The calendar quarter is understood as follows: quarter 1 = January-February-March; quarter 2 = April-May-June; quarter 3 = July-August-September; quarter 4 = October-November-December.
Article 11 : Loss and theft
In the event of suspicion of theft, the patron must always inform the service company. In the event of theft, the patron must immediately file a declaration with the police, which will draft a report.
The following rules must be respected to avoid any misunderstanding:
- the household helper will only hold a key to the patron’s home if the patron authorized this in writing and informed the service company;
- the household helper will ask for written authorization from the patron before having a copy of the keys made;
- the patron will take the needed precautions as concerns money and valuables that may be entrusted to the household helper.
Article 12 : On-the-job accidents
The service company is required to take out an insurance policy covering on-the-job accidents, with a view to paying compensation to the household helper who incurs an on-the-job accident or an accident on the way to or from work, as stipulated by law.
Article 13 : Duration of services
The provision of services is concluded for an indeterminate duration that takes effect as from the date of signature.
The provision of services can be terminated by either party by giving notice of at least one month, notified by registered letter (the notice begins on the date the registered letter is sent). The party receiving notice can at any time unilaterally reduce the duration of the notice period, or waive it entirely.
Termination of the provision of services is indivisible: it automatically applies to all household helpers from the service company working at the patron’s home.
The provision of services is automatically deemed to be terminated if one of the contracting parties fails to respect one of the obligations stipulated in the contract, after notice to comply is given by registered letter to the other party and remains to no avail more than fifteen calendar days after the notice was sent.
If the patron fails to remit the vouchers due (paper or electronic vouchers) more than ten calendar days after the service was provided, the provision of services will be deemed to be terminated, without prior notice, by a simple request of the service company.
This of course does not exempt the patron from remitting the vouchers on first application.
Article 14 : Delay of payment and recovery
In case of delay of payment for over a month since the provision of services, the patron will owe the service company a lump sum of 150 € for recovery fees, without prejudice for the due payment of the executed and unpaid services.
In case of delay of payment for over 3 months since the provision of services, the patron will no longer be allowed to pay with service vouchers.
He will thus owe the service company the amount of the service voucher in addition to the State subsidy, for a total per hour of 24,34 € in Wallonia, 23,82 € in Flanders and 24,08 € in Brussels.
Article 15 : Dispute
In the event of a dispute concerning the application of these general terms, the courts of the district in which the service company’s registered office is located shall have jurisdiction.