As of 1 January 2023, Saturday is no longer a “working day”
Due to the reform of the Civil Code – and in particular the introduction of Book 1 (“General Provisions”) in the (new) Civil Code – as of 1 January 2023, Saturdays may no longer be considered as working days, at least with regard to the calculation of the period of (three) working days provided for in the Employment Contracts Law. This will have an impact on the date on which the letter of termination must be sent by registered mail in the case of dismissal with a notice period, as well as on the calculation of the period of three working days in the case of dismissal for serious cause.
When an employment contract is terminated with a notice period and a letter of termination is sent by registered mail, the letter does not take effect until the third working day after the date of sending. Currently, it is generally accepted that in this context all days of the week should be considered as “working days”, with the exception of Sundays and public holidays. Saturday is therefore also considered as a “working day”. The same rule applies in the case of dismissal for serious cause: for the purpose of calculating the three-working-day period, Saturdays are currently regarded as “working days”. Only Sundays and public holidays are not working days, irrespective of whether or not the company works on Saturdays.
With the reform of the Civil Code, this rule will change in the near future: Saturdays will no longer be considered as working days, just like Sundays and public holidays.
This means that if the notice period is to start on the following Monday, the letter of termination must be sent by Tuesday at the latest, instead of Wednesday (provided that there are no public holidays from Tuesday on in that week).
Similarly, this means that if the employer finds out about a serious breach on a Wednesday, it still has until the following Monday to proceed with a dismissal for serious cause. Therefore, if the dismissal for serious cause is carried out on a Wednesday, the registered letter containing the reasons for the dismissal must be sent at the latest on the following Monday.
However, the new rule will only apply as from 1 January 2023, when the reform of the Civil Code comes into force. Until then, Saturdays remain working days (unless they are public holidays).
As of 1 January 2023, Saturdays will no longer be considered as working days. This will have to be taken into account in the event of termination of the employment contract (subject to a period of notice by registered mail), and in the event of dismissal for serious cause.