New opinion from the National Labour Council regarding the organisation of the social elections

22 Jan 2015

A new Act should rationalise the social elections procedure to some degree.


Moreover, Claeys & Engels launches a new website today (in Dutch and French): on which you will find useful information about the 2016 social elections.

The work to streamline the social elections procedure, initiated after the 2012 social elections (National Labour Council opinion n° 1.883), has been continued and has resulted in a draft bill designed to regulate the organisation of the 2016 social elections. This draft bill was submitted to the National Labour Council which delivered an opinion in this respect (n° 1.919).

The key elements of the opinion may be summarized as follows:

  • Single Act: the subject of the social elections will in principle no longer be ruled by various legal sources but rather by one single Act.
  • Employment ceiling: the social partners wish to keep unchanged the principles regarding the determination of the thresholds (ceilings) in order to establish the social bodies (50 employees for the Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work and 100 employees for the Works Council).
  • Reference period with regard to the threshold: the National Labour Council is not in favour of bringing forward the start of the relevant reference period (to 1 October 2014). Subject to a legal confirmation, the relevant reference period to calculate the average occupancy rate for the social elections of 2016 would therefore be the calendar year 2015 for the employees bound by an employment contract or by an apprenticeship contract, and the fourth quarter of 2015 for the temporary workers.
  • Upload via the web application: several information obligations may be replaced by an upload through the specific web application of the Federal Public Service Employment. The filing of the candidate lists by the representative trade union organisations and their potential later modifications would also become available electronically.
  • Templates: these will be attached to the new Act and will also be available via the web application of the Federal Public Service Employment. Use of these documents would in principle be compulsory.
  • Replacement of candidates: the new Act would explicitly mention that the candidates who have withdrawn their candidature in time (namely by Day X+47 at the latest) and who therefore no longer appear on the modified lists published on Day X+56, may be replaced.
  • Invalid postal ballot papers: the obligation to communicate the invalid postal ballot papers as well as a special report to the Social-Chief District Inspector would be replaced by an obligation of conservation and, after a certain period, by an obligation of destruction.
> Action point
Be sure to visit us regularly at This website contains very useful information with regard to the 2016 social elections and will help you to guarantee a smooth process. We will frequently update the information on the website.