As from 1 April 2014 dismissals need to be motivated by the employer

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Date:
14 Feb 2014

<p>CLA no. 109 of 12 February 2014 states that dismissals of blue-collar and of white-collar workers need to be motivated starting on 1 April 2014. Moreover, an indemnity will be due when the dismissal is considered to be "manifestly unreasonable".</p>

CLA no. 109 of 12 February 2014 states that dismissals of blue-collar and of white-collar workers need to be motivated starting on 1 April 2014. Moreover, an indemnity will be due when the dismissal is considered to be "manifestly unreasonable".

In the framework of the single employment status, starting on 1 April 2014, employers are obliged to motivate the dismissals of any blue- or white-collar worker with more than six months seniority. Previous consecutive fixed-term employment contracts and temporary employment contracts are taken into account when calculating this six months.

The employer can communicate the motivation at his own initiative. If not, the employee can demand a motivation by registered letter within two months following the end of the employment contract. When giving notice with a notice period, this request needs to be made within six months following the notification of the notice period, but no later than two months after the effective termination of the employment contract.

The employer then has two months to communicate the reasons for dismissal. Otherwise he has to pay an indemnity equal to two weeks' remuneration.

When the dismissal of an employee with a permanent contract is considered to be "manifestly unreasonable", the employer is obliged to pay an indemnity of 3 to 17 weeks' remuneration (depending on the degree of the manifest unreasonableness of the dismissal).

A manifestly nunreasonable dismissal is a dismissal that is based on reasons which are not connected to the suitability or behaviour of the employee or which is not based on the necessities of the functioning of the company, institution or service and which would have never been approved by a normal and reasonable employer.

The new rules are not applicable in following situations:

  • termination of temporary employment contracts or employment contracts for students;
  • dismissal in view of (early) retirement
  • dismissal in the framework of collective dismissal, closure or termination of the activity, or with multiple dismissals as defined on a sectorial level;
  • when a specific dismissal procedure has to be followed, prescribed by law or a CLA.

An unfounded dismissal for serious cause can also be held manifestly unreasonable.

For the sectors which fall under the exceptional measures for the new dismissal laws (such as the construction sector), other rules apply (see our magazine OntslagWijzer 2014 / Préavis 2014 ).

> Action point

Make sure you can motivate a dismissal under the new rules and procedures and avoid manifestly unreasonable dismissals.

We will soon send you a more detailed newsletter concerning this CLA no. 109.