Dismissals May Become More Expensive As of January 1, 2019

New Legislation Enacted

As of January 1, 2019, all sectors are required to adopt a sectoral collective bargaining agreement (CBA), guaranteeing employees’ right to a notice period of at least 30 weeks, with one third of the termination package consisting of measures increasing the employee’s employability and the other two thirds of the severance package representing either the notice period or a payment in lieu of notice (which must be at least 26 weeks). Employers are subject to a sanction for non-compliance. To date, no sector has adopted a CBA. Therefore, employers are advised to seek counsel before dismissing an employee.

Time to Start Preparing the 2020 Social Elections

New Legislation Enacted

On October 23, 2018, the National Labour Board (NLA - Nationale Arbeidsraad) proposed to establish the next period for social elections — to elect the employee representatives in the Works council and/or the Health and safety committee — between May 11 and 24, 2020. Consequently, companies can now start to take organizational measures: determine whether to organize social elections, contact partners, prepare calendar, etc. The actual election procedure takes 150 days and will run from December 2019 until May 2020. All companies employing on average more than 50 employees in the reference period must organize social elections.

Training Clause May Be Used for Certain Fewer Paid Employees

New Regulation or Official Guidance

A training clause is a clause in the employment agreement in which the employee undertakes to reimburse a part of the costs of an education or training, paid by the employer, if the employee leaves the company before the end of the agreed period. Such training clause is subject to certain conditions. One condition is that the employee’s gross annual salary must amount to a minimum of 34,819 EUR (amount as from January 1, 2019). However, as of November 10, 2018, this condition will no longer apply for an education for a function/profession which is on the list of so-called ‘bottleneck professions’ (i.e., hard to find personnel). As soon as this list will be established, employers can be better protected if they hire employees and let them follow an education to exercise a bottleneck function/profession.