As from 1 January 2020 both salary ceilings, referred to in the Law of 3 July 1978 relating to the employment contracts, have been adapted as follows:

  • the ceiling of € 34,819 becomes € 35,761;
  • the ceiling of € 69,639 becomes € 71,523.

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 gross annual salary* exceeds € 35,761.

For the other categories of workers the following applies:

  • a non-competition clause in an employment contract is not valid if the gross annual salary* does not exceed € 35,761;
  • if the gross annual salary* exceeds the amount of € 35,761 without exceeding the amount of € 71,523, 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 € 71,523, 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 their 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 € 35,761.

However, a training clause never applies in case of trainings or education programs for a profession or function that appears on the list of shortage occupations or difficult to fill positions.

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 gross annual salary* exceeds the amount of € 71,523.

* * *

Salary ceilings are also relevant for the calculation of the notice period for white-collar workers, employed by their present employer before 1 January 2014

Both salary ceilings mentioned above, as they were applicable on 31 December 2013 (respectively € 32,254 and € 64,508), remain relevant for the determination of the notice period for white-collar workers, who are employed by their present employer prior to 1 January 2014.

Since the law on the unified status of blue-collar workers / white-collar workers, the total duration of the notice period is composed of two parts, notably:

  • 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:

  • if the notice is notified 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;
  • if notice is notified 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.

* The gross annual salary must be calculated by multiplying the gross monthly salary by 12, and adding the double holiday pay, the end-of-year bonus and all the benefits acquired under the contract. In case of a variable remuneration, the amounts paid during the last 12 months preceding the moment at which the pay threshold is determined, must be taken into account.