Standby duty... always working hours?

- Frederik Dudal
On-call duty, standby duty, etc., often give rise to a discussion as to whether or not a certain part of this time can be considered ‘working hours’. After all, this is important when you need to know whether to pay wages. It may also lead to the maximum limits on working time being exceeded, for which overtime and/or compensatory rest may be due. Recently, the Court of Justice provided more clarity on employees in a ‘deserted’ or ‘difficult to reach workplace’. Or how an almost unreachable idyllic Slovenian mountain landscape shapes the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Coronavirus: what are the consequences for work?

- Filip Tilleman
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?

Statistics on collective redundancies

- Filip Tilleman
Since 2011, the Belgian Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue has published quarterly statistics on collective redundancies on the website 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.

Severance pay for part-time work

- Filip Tilleman
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?

Take all your holidays in time, by the end of the year!

- Filip Tilleman
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.

The pitfalls of the hidden protection period

- Filip Tilleman
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.

Employee's Waiver of Rights

- Filip Tilleman
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?

Should the employer have to justify the employee's dismissal?

- Filip Tilleman
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?

Secrecy is an obligation for employees

- Filip Tilleman
During the employment contract, an employee may become privy to business secrets or confidential information related to the employer. Employees must realise that - even if not a word is said about this in the employment contract - there is a fundamental duty of confidentiality.