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Are employers required to give notice of termination?
Any termination process (ie, dismissal with immediate effect or with notice) creates the right for the employee in question to know the reasons for such a decision.
Employers with more than 150 employees must conduct an interview before a termination notice, which may be notified only on the first business day following that interview.
The Labour Code provides for two types of termination of contract:
- termination with immediate effect, which must contain the reason behind the decision; and
- termination with a notice period, where the reasons for the termination are given at the employee’s request within one month and the employer will have one month to provide a response.
What are the rules that govern redundancy procedures?
During redundancy procedures, employers must indicate precisely the reasons for the decision in order to allow the court to examine whether they are real and serious and justify the redundancy decision.
Failure to respect the applicable rules for collective redundancies or mass layoffs will be punished by a judicial nullity of the dismissal or requalification as unfair dismissal.
Are there particular rules for collective redundancies/mass layoffs?
The rules for collective redundancy are applicable if:
- seven or more employees are dismissed within 30 days; or
- 15 or more employees are dismissed within 90 days.
In any case, a minimum of four terminated contracts qualify as collective redundancies if the contracts are terminated for reasons that are not directly related to the employees in question.
When these conditions are met, the employer must apply strict rules and negotiate a social plan.
Employers with at least 15 employees are bound by the Ministry of Labour and Employment to declare dismissals for economic grounds. This declaration duty triggers the impossibility to circumvent the rules of negotiation of a social plan.
What protections do employees have on dismissal?
Employees are protected from dismissal in the case of sickness, pregnancy, maternity, paternity or parental leave or when they are staff representatives.
In the case of such justified absences, employers cannot dismiss employees (not even for gross misconduct). If an employer has a reason to dismiss an employee, it will have to wait until the end of the leave period when the employee returns to work.
Such protection against dismissal remains valid for the duration of sickness leave and for a maximum period of 26 weeks from the first day of justified absence from work. For family leave, such protection lasts during the entire leave period.
Staff representatives and their alternates cannot be dismissed during their mandate and for six months following the end thereof. The same protection is granted to any official candidates to a staff delegation.
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