A new bill on working time was published in mid- August. Among the measures introduced, it provides for new provisions applicable to the so-called category of ‘autonomous employees’ (managers etc). These are employees working a fixed number of days a year without being subject to specific legal working time obligations (such as the daily and weekly maximum working time). The new bill provides these employees with the option to individually give up part of the existing rest days and to increase the number of days of work in return for an increased remuneration.

However, the total number of working days cannot exceed 282 per year in any case (the lower cap being 235 days, in the absence of any agreement on working time).

The remuneration for these additional working days has to be agreed between the parties, with a minimum increase of 10 per cent, and is exempted from income tax and social security contributions.

The new bill also introduced measures aimed at increasing protection of autonomous employees who enter into an individual working time agreement: ??

  • an individual interview will take place with each employee concerned on an annual basis;
  • if an employee receives a remuneration entirely out of proportion with his workload and obligations, he/she can claim compensation before a judge, whatever the applicable agreement on working time says; and
  • the works council must be consulted every year on the use of working time agreements, as well as on the practices put in place to monitor the situation of the employees concerned.