Concerns regarding UCA as a result of coalition agreement Michel I

17 Oct 2014

<p>According to the coalition agreement of the new government, employees who are 'placed in notice' on 31 October 2014 with a view to obtaining UCA can still benefit from the current UCA regulations, which will be strengthened as of 2015.</p>

The coalition agreement amongst others strengthens the general age condition for the regime of unemployment with company allowance (UCA) (the former "bridging pension") from 60 to 62 as of 2015. Likewise, the age for some deviating regimes for long careers and for a profession involving heavy work is augmented from 56 to 58 years as of 2015.

The coalition agreement determines that employees who are already 'placed in notice' at the latest on the date of '(31/10/2014)' can still apply to the current conditions.

As this date is placed between brackets, it is unsure that this date is definitive. Hence, it is possible that another date will be included in the final regulations, or that transitional measures will be provided for.

The question also arises how 'placed in notice' should be interpreted. The strictest interpretation is that the notice period should have started running at the latest on 31 October 2014. Since 31 October 2014 is a Friday, as a result of the new dismissal rules ( OntslagWijzer 2014 / Préavis 2014: mode d'emploi ) the notice will have to start running on Monday 27 October 2014, which means that the notice should be given at the latest on Wednesday 22 October 2014 (upon registered mail). We believe the current rules also apply to dismissals upon immediate effect before or on 31 December 2014 insofar the employee complies with the seniority and age conditions at the moment of dismissal.

This being said, it is of course not advised to rapidly accord UCA to one or more employees who in the future will possibly not be entitled to this. In certain cases, this could be considered as age discrimination. It goes without saying that all other rules regarding UCA and multiple or collective dismissal should be respected.


> Action point

Please take into account that the coalition agreement foresees in limitations on the use of UCA as of 2015. According to the wording of the coalition agreement, employees who are placed in notice before 31 October 2014 would still be able to benefit from the current regulations.