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?
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.
When an employee is dismissed, the employer may opt for immediate dismissal, without the employee in question having to carry out any more work, or for dismissal with the employee having to work their notice. During a notice period, the employment contract continues as usual and the salary is paid at the normal times. In the event of immediate dismissal, the employer is held to pay a severance payment.
Since 2011, the Belgian Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue has published quarterly statistics on collective redundancies on the website www.employment.belgium.be. The number of collective redundancies announced in 2017 was remarkably low: 3,829. Compared to the record years 2012-2013, there was even a drop by 77%! However, the beginning of 2018 was another tough period, with 2,405 jobs in the first quarter.
It can happen that an employer wants to change the function of an employee. If there is mutual agreement, this is, of course, perfectly possible. From a strictly legal point of view, an addendum does not even need to be drawn up. However, it is advisable to do this so that both parties know where they stand.
An employee simply fails to turn up for work. Her employer is not even informed. No form of justification, such as a medical certificate, is forthcoming. In response, the employer sends a letter by recorded delivery requesting that the employee presents herself again for work immediately or justifies her absence.
The motives that the legislator provides for recruitment through employment agencies are clear: it must involve temporary situations, whereby the company has an acute personnel shortage and this is remedied by taking on agency staff. In reality, however, agency work has evolved considerably to become a highly efficient means of recruitment.
Now that there is every likelihood that another national strike is on its way, the question arises what the personal effects are for the strikers in terms of labour legislation. Are strikers entitled to pay and holidays? What are the rights of blue-collar workers and temping staff? What if strikers become involved in an accident?
On 24 May 2016, the European GDPR Regulation (General Data Protection Regulation) came into force. This regulation governs the processing of personal data and includes a number of amendments to the current Belgian Privacy Law. The impact of these changes on your business should not be underestimated. A transitional period of 2 years has been provided. This means you have until 25 May 2018 to ensure your company is ready to fulfil the new obligations.