Esther Soetens Mieke D'Hanis October 19 2022 Labour Deal is now a "done deal": what does this mean for employers? ALTIUS | Employment & Immigration - Belgium Esther Soetens, Mieke D'Hanis Employment & Immigration IntroductionObligations for employerPossibilities for employer IntroductionRecently, the Belgian Parliament approved the Labour Deal. This deal includes, among other things:the four-day work week;the introduction of "transition paths", during which workers can start working for another employer during their notice period;redeployment measures; andthe workers' right to be offline after working hours.This Labour Deal is intended to put more people to work and give employers and employees more flexibility.Obligations for employerWhen the Labour Deal enters into force (which depends on the publication date in the Belgian State Gazette), the following obligations will apply for every employer.Right to be "offline"Each company with at least 20 employees will be required to respect the right for each employee to be "offline" after working hours. These companies will have to lay down rules on "disconnection" at the company level in a company collective bargaining agreement (CBA) or in the work rules by 1 January 2023 at the latest, unless a CBA is concluded by that time either in the National Labour Council or by the applicable joint committee that collectively regulates this right.Individual right to training days and obligation for annual training planEach company with at least 20 employees must draw up a training plan every year before 31 March.Platform workersAn insurance for physical damage must be taken out for self-employed platform workers, and must offer protection equivalent to that provided in the 10 April 1971 Act on work accidents. The date by which this insurance should be in place is unknown and will be determined by a royal decree.Variable working time schedules for part-time employeesVariable working time schedules for part-time employees must be notified to the employees at least seven working days in advance instead of five working days. In case of an exception by sector CBA, then the minimum notification period will be increased from one working day to three working days. The work rules will have to be modified in line with these changes within nine months after the Labour Deal enters into force (depending on the Labour Deal's publication date in the Belgian State Gazette). Until then, the old notification periods continue to apply.Promoting redeploymentFrom 1 January 2023, employees with a notice period (or indemnity in lieu of notice) of at least 30 weeks will be given the right to take-up "employment-enhancing measures" (eg, additional outplacement, training or coaching) during the notice period or after payment of the indemnity in lieu of notice with a value equal to the employer's social security contributions on the salary for one third of the notice period or on one third of the indemnity in lieu of notice (minus four weeks for outplacement).Possibilities for employerFrom the Labour Deal's publication in the Belgian State Gazette, the following possibilities will be open for employers.Introduction of four-day work weekIf the four-day work week is introduced, then the work rules must be amended with this new possible work schedule. If the weekly working hours exceed 38 hours in the company, then a company CBA must be concluded.Introduction of varying weekly working regimeIf the varying weekly working regime is introduced, then the work rules must be amended.Transition pathsEmployees will have the option of beginning work on a voluntary basis for another employer (user) during their notice period. Such work will be organised by the temporary employment agencies or by the regional employment agencies (eg, Service for Work and Vocational Training, Forem or Actiris). An agreement will have to be concluded between these four parties (the initial employer, the employee, the new employer (user) and the temporary employment agency or the regional employment agency) regarding the modalities and the duration of this regulated employee lending.Nightwork in e-commerceEmployers will be able to set up a one-off experiment for a maximum period of 18 months in which:employees can work between eight o'clock at night and midnight on a voluntary basis (without any union intervention); andthe working time schedules are automatically included in the work rules without having to go through the process for amending the work rules.For further information on this topic please contact Esther Soetens or Mieke D'Hanis at ALTIUS by telephone (+32 2 426 1414) or email ([email protected] or [email protected]). The ALTIUS website can be accessed at www.altius.com.