Collective employment relations
Individual employment

In our first newsletter of this year, you will have learned of the new provisions of the Law concerning various regulations related to work. The Act was published in the Belgian State Gazette of 5 February 2018. Here, we provide you with a short overview of the most important subjects.

  • Suspending an employment contract due to economic reasons is only possible when circumstances are independent of the employer’s will. Should this not be the case, the employer will have to pay the employee for the days on which he has outsourced the work usually performed by this employee to third parties.
  • As of now, the possibility exists to engage someone with a replacement contract to replace an employee who is incapacitated to work and who has permission from the advising doctor of the healthcare insurance to partly return to work. 
  • Employees who are dismissed and are entitled to a notice period or indemnity in lieu of notice of at least 30 weeks are entitled to outplacement. The employer can no longer deduct four weeks of the indemnity in lieu of notice when the employee can not attend the outplacement for medical reasons.
  • The Law clarifies that the internal limit of the working time must also be respected in the framework of a new working time schedule (a so-called system of “great flexibility”). The internal limit restricts the number of hours that can be performed above the average weekly working time. The Law of 5 March 2017 concerning feasible and manageable work raises the internal limit of the overtime to 143 hours. 
  • When employers and employees transfer from one joint (sub) committee to another, the CBA law guarantees the retention of the applicable salary and labour conditions. A new provision states that this regulation is applicable to both employees employed before the transfer and to those who are hired after the transfer. In addition, the principle applies as of now not only in case of change of scope of application of a joint (sub) committee, but also in case of establishment or dissolution of a joint (sub) committee.
  • Employers in the food service industry who work with a registered cash system (the “white register”) now have the possibility to have their personnel perform up to 360 voluntary hours of overtime. This is an additional instrument to the existing rules according to which up to 360 overtime hours can be performed without having to recuperate these hours.

The above-mentioned provisions come into effect on 15 February 2018.

  • Furthermore, as of 1 April 2018 the social inspectors will be granted the additional aid of mystery shopping to investigate discriminatory practices within a specific sector or certain employer.
  • Finally, the Law still contains a few provisions which require further development in order to be applicable in practice. These concern the deduction from the salary for providing facilities to the employee, the abrogation of the systems of career interruption with a work decrease by one third and one fourth, and the provisions on electronic employment contracts and documents.