October 20, 2022

Belgian’s “labor deal” was agreed to by parliament, and will take effect on publication in the Official Journal, although some measures will be implemented later.

Highlights

  • Right to disconnect. Employers with 20 or more employees must respect their employees’ right to disconnect after working hours, and revise their collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) or work policies by 1 January 2023. However, employers subject to a national or industry sectoral CBA are not required to conclude a company-level CBA or adjust their work rules. 

  • Notification of work schedule for part-time employees. Employers with 20 or more employees must provide seven days advance notification — up from five. For employees subject to sectoral CBAs, the minimum notification requirement increased to three days — up from one. Work rules must be amended within nine months of the labor deal entering into force.  

  • Training obligations. Employers with more than 20 employees must grant four training days in 2023, and five days in 2024. Employers with 10 to 20 employees must grant each employee one training day per year. Training leave can be prorated for part-time employees. Employees must draw up a training plan before 31 March every year — for 2023, the deadline is 30 November 2022.

  • Improved severance measures. Employees with notice periods of 30 weeks or more will be entitled to employment enhancing measures (such as outplacement and training) for one-third of their notice period. Employers will pay up to the value of one-third of the employer’s social security contributions payable during the notice period. Employees paid an indemnity payment in lieu of notice must be available for employability-promoting activities. 

  • Self-employed platform workers. Companies will have to provide physical damage insurance to those workers.

  • Night work. E-commerce employers could introduce work-at-night policies on a trial basis for up to 18 months.

  • Flexible work schedules. Employers can introduce a four-day week for some employees without increasing working time, and if they do so, must adjust their work rules accordingly. Such arrangements are capped at six months, but are renewable on request to the employer. Employers could also allow employees to work a varied schedule over successive two-week periods, such as more work hours in one week, and fewer hours in the second.

  • Working for another employer. During an employee’s notice period, employers could allow the employee to work for another employer (the original employer continues to pay the employee’s salary). In such cases, the work must be organized through temporary employment agencies or by regional employment offices, and the details included in an agreement between all the parties.
     

Related resource

  • Law (French and Dutch) (Chamber of Representatives, 28 September 2022)
Dieter Valgaerts
by Dieter Valgaerts

Associate, Mercer Career

Fiona Webster
by Fiona Webster

Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group

Stephanie Rosseau
by Stephanie Rosseau

Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group


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