What has changed since 1 January 2016 for dismissals?

12 Jan 2016

The legal regime governing outplacement has changed significantly since 1 January 2014. In addition to the specific provisions that already existed for people aged 45 or older, a general regulation was introduced with respect to outplacement for workers whose employment contract is terminated with a notice period of at least 30 weeks (remuneration), regardless of their age. The employer has to offer an outplacement service to those workers.

For Joint Committees 124 (Joint Committee for the wood industry) and 126 (Joint Committee for the furnishing industry and carpentry) the general rules on the reasons for dismissal and unfair dismissal will also apply. 

What are the consequences?

Until 31 December 2015, workers dismissed with an indemnity in lieu of notice of at least 30 weeks could decide whether or not to accept the proposed outplacement service. If the outplacement offer was accepted, the employer could deduct four weeks’ remuneration from the indemnity in lieu of notice.  However, if the worker rejected the outplacement offer, the employer had to pay the severance payment in full.

As of 1 January 2016 workers, dismissed with an indemnity of at least 30 weeks of remuneration, lose the right to refuse the outplacement offer. This means that now the employer can automatically deduct four weeks’ remuneration from the indemnity in lieu of notice (of at least 30 weeks’ remuneration) for the outplacement service. 

Reasons for dismissal 
Regarding the reason for a dismissal, only one exception remains to the general rules until 1 January 2018, for workers in the construction sector, employed on mobile construction sites. For more information on reasons for dismissal, please read our newsletter .

> Action point
If you wish to terminate the employment contract of an employee with immediate effect and payment of an indemnity of at least 30 weeks’ remuneration, you can, as of 1 January 2016, automatically deduct four weeks’ remuneration in exchange for the offered outplacement service.
For Joint Committees 124 and 126 a reason for dismissal can be requested, consistent with the general rules on reasons for dismissal.