As from 1 January 2018 both salary ceilings, referred to in the Law of 3 July 1978 relating to the employment contracts, are adapted.

The salary ceilings are adapted annually, as from 1 January, in consideration of the evolution of the salaries, as fixed in accordance with the collective labour agreements for the private sector.

As from 1 January 2018 both salary ceilings, referred to in the Law of 3 July 1978 relating to the employment contracts, are adapted as follows:

  • the ceiling of € 33,472 becomes € 34,180;
  • the ceiling of € 66,944 becomes € 68,361.

These salary ceilings are relevant with respect to the non-competition clause, the schooling clause and the arbitration clause.

1. The non-competition clause:

For the commercial representatives the non-competition clause is valid only if the annual salary exceeds € 34,180.

For the other categories of workers the following applies:

  • if the annual gross salary does not exceed € 34,180, a non-competition clause in the employment contract is not valid;
  • if the annual gross salary exceeds the amount of € 34,180 without exceeding the amount of € 68,361, the non-competition clause is valid only for the functions, which have been listed in a (sector) collective labour agreement;
  • if the gross annual salary exceeds the amount of € 68,361, the non-competition clause is valid in principle, except for the functions, listed in a (sector) collective labour agreement.

2. The schooling clause

The schooling clause is a clause, pursuant to which employees, who participate in a training or education program at the expense of the employer, undertake to reimburse a part of that cost if they resign within a period, as agreed upon.

A schooling clause is valid only if the gross annual salary exceeds the amount of € 34,180.

3. The arbitration clause

This is a stipulation, according to which the employee and the employer undertake to submit possible future disputes to an arbitrator.

This stipulation is valid only for employees who meet both conditions:

  • they are in charge of the daily management of the company, or they have management responsibilities for a department or a unit, which are comparable to those for the company as a whole;
  • the annual salary exceeds the amount of € 68,361.

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The notice period for white-collar workers, employed by their present employer on 31 December 2013

Both salary ceilings mentioned above, as applicable on 31 December 2013 (respectively € 32,254 and € 64,508), remain relevant for the determination of the notice periods for white-collar workers, who were employed by their present employer on 31 December 2013, particularly with respect to the determination of the length of the notice period based on time of service up to 31 December 2013.

Since the law on the unified status blue-collar workers / white-collar workers, the total duration of the notice period is composed of two parts, that is, a first part based on the time of service up to 31 December 2013 and a second part based on the time of service as from 1 January 2014 up to the date of the notification of the notice (or the date of termination with immediate effect).

For the first part of the notice period, apart of the time of service up to 31 December 2013, also the annual remuneration is to be taken into consideration as follows:

  • notification of the notice by the employer: the notice period is one month for each started year of time of service, if the annual remuneration on 31 December 2013 exceeded the amount of € 32,254; if not, the notice period is equivalent to three months for each started period of five years of time of service;
  • notification of the notice by the employee: if the annual remuneration exceeded the amount of € 32,254 on 31 December 2013, the notice period is one month and a half for each started period of five years of time of service with a maximum of four months and a half if the annual remuneration is lower than or equivalent to € 64,508 and a maximum of six months if the ceiling of € 64,508 is exceeded.