Can a public official go and work in the private sector?

Verified 14 October 2022 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

Yes, you can leave the public service temporarily or permanently to work in the private sector, whether you are a public servant or a contract worker.

But your employer’s administration examines beforehand the compatibility of your future private-sector activity with your previous public-sector duties.

The proposed activity must not undermine the dignity of your previous public service duties.

It must not jeopardize or jeopardize the normal functioning, independence or neutrality of the public service.

It must not undermine the ethical principles of the public service: impartiality, integrity, probity, secularism, etc.

The proposed activity must not lead to an illegal acquisition of interest.

If you plan to work in the private sector after permanently or temporarily ceasing to work in the public service for less than 3 years, you must beforehand obtain the agreement of your employer administration.

This applies if you temporarily cease your duties as part of an availability (for personal convenience or to follow your spouse) or leave for personal convenience.

This also applies if you permanently cease your duties as a result of your retirement, resignation, dismissal, a contractual breakdown, etc.

This applies whether you are considering working as a salaried or unsalaried employee in a company or as a liberal.

How do I apply?

You must send the following documents to your employer administration:

  • Letter expressing your wish to engage in private activity and to be temporarily placed in a situation in accordance with your status (availability, leave for personal reasons) or to leave your position permanently
  • Description of the envisaged project containing all relevant and detailed information enabling your employer administration to examine your application
  • Extract from the register of commerce and businesses (extracts K or Ka) or copy of the statutes of the organization you wish to join or the statutes or draft statutes of the company you wish to set up or take over
  • Copy of your employment contract if you are a contractual
How is the application processed?

Your employer administration will respond within 2 months.

Failure to reply within this period shall be deemed to be a refusal.

The decision of your employer's administration may include reservations aimed at ensuring your compliance with ethical obligations and the normal functioning of the service.

If your employer administration considers that it does not have all the necessary information, it invites you to complete your request within a maximum of 15 days.

If your employer administration has serious doubts as to the compatibility of your proposed activity with the duties you performed during the previous 3 years, it shall consult the ethics referent.

The fact that the ethics referee is seized does not suspend the 2-month period within which your employer administration must respond to your request.

If the opinion of the ethics referee does not remove the doubt, your employer administration refers the matter to the High Authority for the Transparency of Public Life (HATVP).


If you hold or have held in the last 3 years a job subject to declaration of assets and liabilities and declaration of interests, your employer administration must submit your request to the prior notice of the HATVP.

The fact that the HATVP is seized suspends the 2-month period within which your employer administration must respond to your request.

The HATVP may ask you and your employer administration for any information or document necessary for the review of your project.

The HATVP may also collect from public and private persons any necessary information.

It may hear or consult any person whose contribution it considers useful.

The HATVP issues a notice of compatibility or compatibility with reservations (for a maximum of 3 years) or incompatibility.

The HATVP shall deliver its opinion within 2 months of the referral.

Failure to deliver an opinion within two months shall constitute an opinion on compatibility.

A notice of compatibility with reservations and/or incompatibility is required from you and your employer administration.

Your employer administration shall make its decision within 15 days of receipt of the HATVP's notice or within 2 months of the HATVP's referral if no HATVP's notice is received within 2 months of the HATVP's referral.

Please note

If you are considering a change of occupation within 3 years of your temporary or permanent termination of service, you must beforehand obtain the agreement of your home administration.