Business risk


When the employer faultily prevents the performance of the work or cannot accept it for other reasons, he is still obliged to pay the employee's salary without the employee having to work.

If the employee is fit to work but the employer refuses because he has no work to offer him, if the performance of the work is impossible for technical reasons or if the employee's work does not bring him any economic benefit, it qualifies as a business risk. 


In the event of a pandemic, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the operations of certain companies are severely disrupted. Between border closures, stock shortages and temporary closure of businesses by the authorities, employers sometimes have no work to offer their employees.

This is a business risk that the employer alone must bear. On the other hand, the employer can take certain measures to limit the financial losses.

Whims of the weather

Sometimes the vagaries of the weather make it extremely difficult or impossible for employees to access the business or to perform their work. For example, heavy snowfall can block roads to the company or cause a power outage and shut down of production machinery.

In some situations, the whims of the weather will constitute a business risk that the employer must assume. The employee will be entitled to his or her salary. However, in special cases, the employer will be released from his obligation to pay salaries.

On-call work

In complicated economic situations, on-call work appears to be an interesting solution for some companies. It allows for the availability of employees on demand without the employer having to commit to the duration or hours of work.

Although this type of work is particularly flexible, the employer remains bound by his duties related to the company's risk. In the event of a sudden drop in the volume of work, the employer cannot simply stop calling his employees on call.

Employee prevented from practicing his profession

Following an accident, a bricklayer is definitely no longer able to carry heavy loads and, consequently, to work. He asks his employer to assign him other tasks, which the employer is unable to do.

Is this situation part of the business risk? What are the employee's rights in terms of salary?

Salary in euros

During the strong franc crisis, some companies decided to pay their frontier workers their salary in euros. Although, in principle, the parties are free to decide in which currency the employer will pay the salary, the payment of the salary in euros may be illegal because the unfavorable exchange rate is part of the employer's business risk.


In search of freedom, some employees become self-employed. In this case, the self-employed person bears the business risk alone.

Beware because self-employment can only be accepted if it meets certain characteristics. In particular situations, such as when the worker is economically dependent on a single client, it may be an employed activity. In such case, the employing client must bear the business risk. He could not abruptly stop using the services of the "false self-employed" when he has no more tasks to assign to him due to economic problems. 

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