Social elections 2016: last stages before election day!

19 Apr 2016

The day of the social elections (Y-day) is rapidly approaching. However, a few important dates are still coming up:

1. Nomination of observers
2. Last adjustments to candidate lists
3. Update of list of voters
4. Printing of ballot papers
5. Handing over or sending poll cards
6. Poll cards in case of postal ballot

1. At the latest on day X+70 (between 19 April and 2 May), the trade unions and the organisations of executives (‘kaderleden’/’cadres’) can nominate the same number of employees as there are polling stations as observers of the electoral operations (and the same number of reserves).

2. The candidate lists can still be changed if a case is being heard before the labour tribunal. Moreover, candidates can be replaced until day X+76 (between 25 April and 8 May) in the following five circumstances:
- death of a candidate;
- a candidate resigns from the company;
- a candidate resigns from the trade union that proposed him/her;
- a candidate withdraws (at the latest on day X+47);
- a candidate changes employee category.
As from day X+77 (between 26 April and 9 May), the candidate lists can no longer be changed.

3. At the latest on day X+77 (between 26 April and 9 May), the names of those no longer employed by the company can be removed from the list of voters (with the agreement of the works council, the committee for prevention and protection at work or the trade union delegation).

4. On the same date, the candidate lists become definitive and the ballot papers can be printed. Some practical points to attend to: correctly indicate candidates (names, order, etc.), use identical font and neutrally coloured paper (avoid blue, red and green ballot papers).

5. Poll cards: to be handed over or sent at the latest on day X+80 (between 29 April and 12 May).

If you hand over poll cards, you must be able to prove you have done so by having the employee sign a register with acknowledgment of receipt (if employees are not validly invited, this could lead to the annulment of the elections). If the voter is not present on the day that poll cards are handed over, he/she must be invited by registered mail of the same date or by “any other means” so that you as employer can prove both the sending and the receipt by the recipient. If there is no proof of receipt, the poll card must be sent by registered mail at the latest eight days before the election date. The sending may include the invitation for both the works council and the prevention committee.

6. The invitation of voters who vote by post accompanied by the stamped ballot paper(s) is to be handed over to the voters present in the company at the latest ten days before the election day. This handing over is again done with acknowledgment of receipt. With regard to absent employees, the President of the polling station sends all these documents by registered mail on the same date. Also in this case, the sending can include the poll card and the ballot papers for both the works council and the prevention committee. The observers can be present at this operation after being notified by the President of the polling station.


> Action point
Carefully check all subsequent steps in the election calendar and make the necessary preparations to print, hand over or send the poll cards and ballot papers in time.
Would you like to know more about our tailor-made training on the competences and operation of the works council and prevention committee, and the rights and obligations of the employee representatives? Then, contact us at
Also for all your other questions regarding the social elections, you can contact us at this address.