Every four years, the social partners in Belgium hold their Olympic Games: workplace elections. After the votes have been counted we know which of the workplace representatives will be members of the Works Councils and the Health and Safety Committees. Thorough preparation of this process is very important for any company.
A pandemic such as a coronavirus (COVID-19) has a significant impact on our professional lives. We, therefore, answer some pressing questions. How to fight the virus in the workplace? What to do if a colleague becomes infected? What if I am infected myself? Do I still have to come to work? Am I entitled to my regular wages?
Since 2011, the Belgian Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue has published quarterly statistics on collective redundancies on the website employment.belgium.be. The number of collective redundancies announced in 2018 was around 6,027. This represents an increase compared with the remarkably low figure of 3,829 in 2017. In 2019, the number went back up again in line with 2018, reaching 5,087 announced collective redundancies.
A company merger, company sale, bankruptcy or voluntary closure can all be a reason for a company to wind down. Labour law provides for strict procedures for companies planning to wind down. Companies that do not comply with these procedures risk severe criminal sanctions.
Bad weather, heavy traffic, a train strike or you've simply overslept. These are all the reasons employees give when they are late for work. The key question is, according to the letter of the law, what are the valid reasons for latecomers keeping their full wage or avoiding other sanctions?
What effect does part-time work have on the calculation of severance pay in the event of dismissal? By definition, a part-time employee has a lower salary than a colleague who does the same job full-time, but does this also apply to severance pay?
Employees must take their legal holiday entitlement before the end of the year. Nonetheless, we see in practice that some employees and employers make mutual agreements to transfer holidays to the following year. This practice is unlawful and is even a punishable offence! It is important that the entire holiday entitlement is taken in time.
Employees who are candidates in trade union elections are by law protected against dismissal, despite the fact that their employers do not yet know about their being candidates. During this hidden period, union representatives and candidates in union elections can only be dismissed for two very strictly defined reasons: economic-technical reasons and urgent reasons. Even so, an employer who dismisses an employee during this period takes a huge risk.
The King can relinquish his claim to the throne. But can his subjects also waive their rights as employees vis-à-vis their employer? Could employees waive, for example, their rights to wages, a thirteenth-month bonus, bank holiday pay, holiday money, severance pay ... if they did not wish to receive this?
Contrary to what many may think, Belgian labour law does require employers to formally justify a dismissal. Employees can be dismissed verbally or in writing with the 'simple' announcement that they will be dismissed from a certain date. So without any detail about the motives that played a role in this dismissal. Are employees always left out in the cold when they are dismissed?