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Press releases and law firm thought leadership

This page is dedicated to keeping readers informed of the latest news and thought leadership articles from law firms across the globe.

If your firm wishes to publish press releases or articles, please contact Shehab Khurshid on +44 (0) 207 396 5689 or shehab.khurshid@legalease.co.uk

 

Posting of workers to Belgium: Notification of the liaison officer through the LIMOSA declaration

October 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The Act of 11 December 2016 transposed the Enforcement Directive (2014/67/EC) into Belgian law. This act made some modifications to the Act of 5 March 2002 concerning the working, remuneration and employment conditions in case of posting of workers in Belgium and the compliance with it. One of the novelties was the obligation for a foreign employer to appoint a  liaison officer (physical person) in Belgium to act as a contact person with the Belgian  inspectorate. The Royal Decree of 14 September 2017 that was published yesterday in the Belgian State Gazette states that the liaison officer must be appointed through the LIMOSA declaration. The Royal Decree enters into force on 1 October 2017. 

Court of Justice ruling regarding the habitual place of work in “Ryanair-case”

September 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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In its ruling of this 14 September the European Court of Justice confirms its earlier case-law with regard to employees who simultaneously work in various Member States. These employees can bring proceedings before the courts of the place from where they perform the essential part of their duties for their employer. The national court must determine this place in concreto in the light of all relevant circumstances. For the cabin crew in the aviation industry, the ‘home base’ can therefore be a significant indicator, without being equated with it.  

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Discrimination on the basis of religion? A new European decision

The issue of discrimination based on religion continues to occupy the European courts.

In our newsflash of 14 March 2017 , we informed you that the Court of Justice had given its first ruling on discrimination based on religion. In a case involving a Belgian company, the Court of Justice had ruled that a neutrality policy may be constitutive of indirect discrimination, but acknowledged that it can be justified if it is the sole desire of the company to project a neutral image to third parties, which is a legitimate objective.

The Constitutional Court rekindles the debate on the necessity of a hearing prior to a dismissal in

July 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The Constitutional Court rekindles the debate on the necessity of a hearing prior to a dismissal in the public sector

There is a long-standing controversy revolving around the question of whether a public-sector employer is obliged to conduct a hearing prior to the dismissal of a contractual worker. On 12 October 2015, the Supreme Court put an end to this controversy (see our newsflash of 6 November 2015 ). The Council of State followed the Supreme Court’s position. However, in a decision of 6 July 2017 (n°86/2017) the Constitutional Court has brought the discussion back to life.

The Code on the well-being of workers is published

June 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The Code on well-being of workers, which coordinates the various texts concerning well-being in the workplace by grouping them in a single instrument, was published in the Belgian Official Gazette on 2 June 2017 and will enter into force on 12 June 2017. This will make it easier to find specific regulations concerning well-being of workers. It is useful to inform all the stakeholders, who play a role in the company policies on well-being of workers of this recent publication.

Binding effect of E101 certificate (current A1 form) reconfirmed by the Court of Justice

May 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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On 27 April, the Court of Justice of the European Union pronounced again on the binding effect of an E101 certificate (now A1 form). This binding effect is applicable, even if it is found by the competent institution or the courts of the host Member State that the conditions under which the worker concerned carries out his activities do not correspond to the conditions to be subject to the social security of the other Member State.

The deadline to conclude a departure agreement is fast approaching

May 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The Act of 15 May 2014 relating to various provisions modified the concept of “departure” in the Act of 28 April 2003 relating to occupational pensions and the tax regime of these pensions and of certain occupational benefits regarding social security (“AOP”) and has introduced a definition of “multi-organizer pension schemes” (“MOPS”).

Stock options and management companies

May 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Direct grant of stock options to the director of the management company (2)

It is confirmed, in a published ministerial circular, that stock options that are granted by a company directly to the director of a management company which performs services to such company fall within the scope of application of the Act of 26 March 1999, so that this grant can be qualified, for tax purposes, as a lump-sum benefit in kind. However, it is no longer possible to benefit from the halving of the tax valuation rates in order to valuate the taxable benefit!      

Supreme Court pronounces on Article 30 AOP: a deficit must be covered, no matter the cause

May 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The Supreme Court ruled in a judgment of 6 March 2017 that the organiser of a pension promise must cover deficits of the vested reserves, as well as deficits regarding the minimum guaranteed return, no matter the causes of the deficits.

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Increase in the credit of additional hours for certain part-time employees

April 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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In line with earlier announcements in the framework of the Workable and Agile Work project of Secretary of Employment Kris Peeters, the legislator - in view of more flexibility for certain part-time employees - has increased the so-called “credit of additional hours”. An RD of 23 March 2017 (Belgian State Gazette of 5 April 2017) provides the necessary amendments to the RD of 25 June 1990 in this regard. Please also see our newsletter .

European Court of Justice rules for the first time on discrimination based on belief

March 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The Court of Justice confirms a policy of neutrality can justify discrimination based on belief.

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Legal interest rate for 2017 fixed at 2% per year

February 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Since 1 January 2017 the legal interest rate decreased from 2.25% to 2%. In fiscal matters and in matters involving the National Office for Social Security (NOSS) the rate remains 7% for now.

Granting warrants to employees whose employment contracts have been terminated and to former employe

February 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The Ruling Commission brings clarity

 According to the Ruling Commission, improper use of a warrant plan could constitute simulation, barring the warrants from the scope of the Act of 26 March 1999 and resulting in the exemption of social security contributions being forfeited. This could in particular be the case when warrants have been given to a person that has received a notice of dismissal. The Ruling Commission clarifies its position in a ruling of 10 January 2017.

Collective bonus depending on results (“CBA 90”) - Maximum EUR 3,255 gross in 2017

January 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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For “CBA 90” bonuses to be paid in 2017, the maximum exempted amount is higher than last year since the indexed ceilings have been fixed at EUR 3,255 (social security ceiling) and at EUR 2,830 (fiscal ceiling).

Employees incapacitated for work - Re-integration and termination due to medical force majeure

January 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The long awaited law on various provisions regarding labour law in the context of incapacity for work was finally published, together with two royal decrees which entered into force on 1 December 2016. These regulations introduce the principle of a re-integration track within the company for employees temporarily or permanently incapacitated for work.

Student work limit to change on 1 January 2017 from 50 days to 475 hours per calendar year

January 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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As from 1 January 2017, the maximum period in which students can be employed as contingent workers at the beneficial solidarity contribution will amount to 475 hours instead of 50 days per calendar year.

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Benefit in kind on private use of company cars - New CO2 emission benchmarks for 2017

January 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The amount of the benefit in kind on the private use of a company car can be calculated applying a CO2 percentage to 6/7 of the catalogue value of the car. The CO2 emission benchmarks vary each year. The Royal Decree of 24 November 2016 indicates the CO2 emissions benchmark applicable for 2017.

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The interest rate of the AOP guaranteed return remains at 1.75% for 2017

December 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Since the Act of 18 December 2015 entered into force, the interest rate of the legal minimum guaranteed return of the AOP has been variable. This interest rate is published every year by the FSMA on its website before 1 December. For 2017, the interest rate has just been published and remains at 1.75%, the same as for 2016.

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The new salary thresholds for 2017

December 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The Federal Public Service Employment has modified the remuneration thresholds to be taken into account for the application of certain employment provisions for blue- and white-collar employees.

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Stock options and management companies

December 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Direct grant of stock options to the director of the management company

The tax authorities have just confirmed that stock options granted direct to the director of a management company, by the company for which the management services are performed, can fall within the scope of application of the Act of 26 March 1999 in order to benefit from the lump-sum valuation of the benefit in kind. Moreover, it could be possible, in some cases, to benefit from a halving of the tax valuation rate!

Fake self-employment: independent collaboration incompatible with disciplinary sanctions

November 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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On 10 October 2016, the Supreme Court overruled a judgment of the Labour Court of Appeal of Antwerp. This judgment deemed that a security guard could perform his activities for a security company on a self-employed basis despite the company being able to apply disciplinary sanctions provided by the company’s work regulations. The Supreme Court has found this to be incompatible with a contract for self-employment.

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INAMI and SOL contributions: Court of Justice raps Belgium over the knuckles

November 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in a judgment of 26 October 2016 that the withholding of the Belgian  health and disability (HDI) contribution (3.55%) and solidarity (SOL) contribution (up to 2%) on pension benefits violates European rules when the pensioner at the time of the payment is covered by the social security legislation of another Member State of the European Economic Area (EEA). The judgment questions the current legislation and the practice of the Federal Pensions Service, which oblige pension providers to withhold the INAMI and SOL contributions, even when the recipient is covered by the social security legislation of another Member State.   

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Claeys & Engels launches www.gdprbelgium.be today

November 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The General Data Protection Regulation will be applicable as from 25 May 2018. Visit our website to find out what this means for your HR policy. 

The Claeys & Engels data protection team is all set for the GDPR and is eager to assist you in making your company “GDPR-proof”.

To assist you during the preparations of the introduction of the new GDPR, we have developed the website http://www.gdprbelgium.be/. Whenever something new is worth mentioning, our website will be updated.

We hope this website will become your go-to GDPR support and provide all the help you need.

So, let the countdown to 25 May 2018 begin!

Privacy Shield succeeds Safe Harbor

August 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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In our 13 October 2015 newsflash , we informed you that in a decision of 6 October 2015 in the Schrems case the European Court of Justice had declared the “Safe Harbor” framework invalid. Before, this framework ensured that the massive data traffic from Europe to the United States was considered to be safe if an American data recipient had joined it.

On 12 July 2016, the European Commission adopted the successor of the Safe Harbor gateway, the so-called “Privacy Shield”.

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Pension lump sums taxed at 10% in case of unemployment with company allowance (UCA)

August 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The tax administration clarifies its position

As announced in our 11 March 2016 newsflash , the period during which the beneficiary of a supplementary pension lump sum receives unemployment benefit with a company allowance is from now on, under certain conditions, treated by the tax administration as an active period in order to determine whether the tax rate of 10% is applicable.  The tax administration clarified its position in an advice published in the Belgian State Gazette of 11 July 2016.

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New European Directive on the conditions of residence and employment of certain 3rd-country national

June 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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New European Directive on the conditions of residence and employment of certain third-country nationals - Supplementary rights for researchers, students, trainees, au pairs and volunteers by 2018

A new European Directive requires EU Member States to provide supplementary rights by 23 May 2018 for the benefit of third-country researchers and students. Their mobility between other Member States will among other things be facilitated, while they maintain their right of residence for a period of up to 9 months after the completion of research or studies, in order to seek employment or set up a business.

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Rejection of a candidate because of his age - Tribunal finds direct discrimination

June 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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In a recent judgment of the Labour Tribunal of Ghent, division Roeselare of 2 May 2016, the court found that rejecting a candidate because of his age constitutes direct discrimination.

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Tax agreements on lump sum allowances

May 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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From now on, the ruling commission will decide on the lump-sum allowances concerning costs proper to the employer

The tax authorities have confirmed to us that the internal administrative instructions have officially been modified as from 1 May 2016, whereby solely the ruling commission will have the power to decide on lump-sum allowances. It will thus no longer be possible to conclude agreements on this subject with your local tax office. 

New criminal offences in the criminal labour law Code

May 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Sanctions for undeclared work and violations of regulation concerning psychosocial risks at work

Business trips abroad - New flat rate allowances

May 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The new list of flat rate daily allowances that the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs grants to its employees who go on short business trips abroad was approved by Ministerial decision of 29 March 2016. The amounts of the daily allowances remain the same as last year.

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Social elections 2016: last stages before election day!

May 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The day of the social elections (Y-day) is rapidly approaching. However, a few important dates are still coming up.

 Read more 

New procedure to determine the maximum technical interest rate

April 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Act of 13 March 2016 regarding the statute and supervision of insurance and reinsurance companies: New procedure to determine the maximum technical interest rate

On 23 March the Act of 13 March 2016 regarding the statute and supervision of insurance and reinsurance companies was published in the Belgian State Gazette. The main objectives of this act are to transpose into Belgian law the European “Solvency II” Directive, which introduces new rules regarding the solvency and supervision of insurance companies. It concerns an important change in the legislation regarding insurances and reinsurances. 

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Night work now possible for e-commerce activities in the distribution sector

April 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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On 18 March 2016 a Royal Decree (RD) enabling night work for e commerce activities in the distribution sectors was published. This RD provides for working-time arrangements with night work to be introduced at company level in these sectors.

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No damages for the employee if the employer does not offer outplacement assistance

April 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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If an employee is dismissed for serious cause, and this serious cause is later found to be unfair, the employee is not entitled to damages because the employer did not make an outplacement offer, nor does such a dismissal qualify automatically as a case of manifestly unfair dismissal.

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Supplementary pensions taxed at 10% When are you “effectively active”?

In order for certain pension lump sums to be taxed at 10%, it must be attributed or paid out before the legal retirement age is reached (which is presently 65 years); also, the worker (or the company director) must remain “effectively active” without interruption during the three years preceding the legal retirement age. The tax administration gives a broad interpretation to this notion. 

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Branch 21 group insurance - Maximum guaranteed rate for insurers: 2%

On 3 February 2016, the maximum reference rate that insurers can guarantee for branch 21 group insurances was published in the Belgian State Gazette. The maximum guaranteed rate was set at 2% by the Minister of Economy. This is 0.5% more than the maximum guaranteed rate proposed by the National Bank of Belgium (NBB).

Stock options in management companies - Guarantee of a benefit equal to the income tax payable...

Stock options in management companies - Guarantee of a benefit equal to the income tax payable at grant.

In a ruling of 25 August 2015 that was published only on Monday, 1 February 2016, the Ruling Office has confirmed that it is possible to guarantee to the grantee of stock options, with tax neutrality, a gain equal at least to the income tax due on the taxable benefit upon the granting of options. In such situation, the grantee would incur no risk of loss since he is guaranteed an amount equal at least to the income tax incurred upon the granting.  

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Collective bonus depending on results: CBA 90: Maximum EUR 3,219 gross in 2016

For “CBA 90” bonuses to be paid in 2016, the maximum exempted amount is considerably higher than last year since the indexed ceilings have been fixed at EUR 3,219 (social ceiling) and at EUR 2,799 (fiscal ceiling).   

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Day X : announcement of new information

On day X (between 9 and 22 February 2016, depending on the date of the elections) lots of information with regard to the organisation of the social elections needs to be prepared. Companies with a works council and/or a CPPW should moreover discuss this information within these bodies in advance. 

 

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E-commerce in the distribution sector

In Belgium, night work (i.e., between 8pm and 6am) is forbidden. Exceptions to this rule are provided either by the law or by Royal Decree.

Many companies in the distribution sector regard the existing exceptions to the prohibition of night work as not constituting an effective solution. As a result, hardly any Belgian companies conduct e commerce activities. 

Sectoral negotiations, held to improve this situation, resulted in five identical CBAs for joint committees 201 (independent retailing), 202 (retailing in foodstuffs), 201.01 (middle-sized food business), 311 (large retail establishments), 312 (warehouses).

These CBAs attracted great attention in the media but they are only a first step. A second step is a Royal Decree to enable night work for e-commerce in the distribution sector. This Royal Decree is still awaited.

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Social elections: start of the procedure on day

January 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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On day X-60 at the latest (i.e. between 11 and 24 December 2015), employers must launch the social elections procedure by communicating a range of information.

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Social elections 2016: Day X-35 (between 5 and 18 January)

On day X-35 at the latest, the employer must announce several decisions. The latter may be subject to appeal before the labour tribunal at the latest on day X-28.

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Monitoring employees’ e-mail and chat messages does not violate privacy rules

In a recent decision of 12 January 2016, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that an employee’s right to privacy has not been violated if the employee is dismissed as a result of monitoring by the employer of the employee’s e-mails and chat messages sent during working hours.

Legal interest rate for 2016 fixed at 2.25% per year

Since 1 January 2016 the legal interest rate decreased from 2.50% to 2.25%. In fiscal matters and in matters involving the National Office for Social Security (NOSS) the rate remains 7% for now.

What has changed since 1 January 2016 for dismissals?

The legal regime governing outplacement has changed significantly since 1 January 2014. In addition to the specific provisions that already existed for people aged 45 or older, a general regulation was introduced with respect to outplacement for workers whose employment contract is terminated with a notice period of at least 30 weeks (remuneration), regardless of their age. The employer has to offer an outplacement service to those workers.

Social elections 2016: Day X-30 (between 10 and 23 January 2016)

January 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The protection against dismissal as granted to social elections candidates starts between 10 and 23 January 2016, depending on day Y.

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Death coverage for the deferred pension plan members? Obligatory as from 1 January 2016!

January 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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On 8 December 2015 a bill on occupational pensions was submitted to the Chamber of Representatives.

According to said bill a plan sponsor has to offer deferred plan members the possibility to opt for a minimum death coverage.

This possibility must be offered to plan members who leave the pension plan as from 1 January 2016.

Read more 

The battle against social fraud: action plan for 2016

December 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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From the beginning of its term of office, the Michel I government has highlighted that the battle against social fraud and social dumping was a priority.

The government has translated its general policy document into a concrete action plan with 85 action points.

Agreement on the 2016 social elections in the construction sector

December 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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On 19 November 2015 a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) concerning the status of the trade union delegations and a protocol agreement (“gentlemen’s agreement”) were concluded in the joint labour committee of the construction sector (JC no. 124). These documents confirm that for the blue-collar workers in the sector, no social elections have to be organised in 2016, which was also the case for the previous social elections in 2012.

The terror threat - Are employees entitled to salary?

December 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The current terror threat in our country can have an important impact on your company in the event it has to close or your employees cannot reach the office (on time).

Are companies obliged to remunerate their employees  in these situations?

Motivating a dismissal and prior hearing in the public sector

November 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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On 12 October 2015 the Supreme Court ruled that neither the law of 29 July 1991 on the Formal Motivation of Administrative Acts, nor the General Principles of Good Administration (in particular as concerns prior hearing), are to be applied to the dismissal of a contract worker by a public sector employer.

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The index jump... and the mystery of the salary increase

November 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The end of the year is coming and it is now time for most of you to prepare the budgets for the coming year. In order to determine the wage bill, you will perhaps have to take into account the consequences of a salary increase after an indexation, despite the index jump.

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Asylum seekers can now obtain a C work permit four months after applying for asylum

November 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Since 9 November 2015, an asylum seeker can be granted a C work permit at the earliest four months after applying for asylum. Previously such permit could only be granted at the earliest six months after the application was made.

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The pension reform of the Michel I government

November 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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In this newsletter you will find an overview of the new measures regarding (early) retirement.

Manifestly unfair dismissal of a white-collar worker: what is the first case law verdict?

November 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Since 1 April 2014 both blue-collar and white-collar workers can ask the employer to motivate their dismissal based on the new law on the single employment status. In the event the dismissal is manifestly unfair, damages equal to between 3 and 17 weeks’ salary are due.

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The separate taxation at the average tax rate: also for severance payments to self-employed managers

In its judgment of 24 September 2015 (no. 127/2015) the Constitutional Court held that the separate taxation of severance payments at the average tax rate is not only applicable to managers who are bound by an employment contract but also to self-employed managers.

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The payment of salary in scriptural money is mandatory as from 1 October 2016

Following a modification of the law of 12 April 1965 on the protection of workers’ salary, the payment of salary in scriptural money will become mandatory as from 1 October 2016.

Read more 

The Court of Justice clarifies the concept of “working time”

In a recent judgement of the Court of Justice of 10 September 2015, the Court clarifies that the travelling time of an employee without a fixed workplace from home to the first customer and from the last customer back home can, under certain circumstances, count as working time. This decision of the Court of Justice confirms the point of view of some Belgian Tribunals.

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The derogation dismissal regime for blue-collar workers in the construction sector is discriminatory

In its judgement of 17 September 2015, the Constitutional Court ruled that the derogation dismissal regime provided by the Act of 26 December 2013 for blue-collar workers in the construction sector is discriminatory (judgement n° 116/2015). The Court maintained nevertheless the effects of this regime until 31 December 2017 at the latest.

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Claeys & Engels presents its VerkiezingsWijzer/Guide Pratique Elections Sociales

The next social elections will take place between 9 and 22 May 2016. Whether or not these are your company’s first elections, you will know that they require very thorough preparation.

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Professional immersion agreements - Modification of the social security treatment since 1 July 2015

Trainees hired under a professional immersion agreement starting on 1 July 2015 (at the earliest) are no longer subject to social security contributions except if they are hired in the framework of alternating periods of work and periods of training/study, so-called “work with alternating training”.

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Attendance registration in the meat sector - Royal Decrees awaited

>On 18 August 2015 the Programme Law of 10 August 2015 appeared in the Belgian official journal. The law provides for, amongst other things, a system for attendance registration in the meat sector. This legislation is a part of the campaign against social fraud.

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Increase of the legal retirement age - Stricter conditions for early retirement

On 21 August 2015 the Act increasing the legal retirement age and introducing stricter conditions for early retirement (state pension) was published in the Belgian State Gazette.

On the same day the Act of 20 July 2015 relating to various provisions on social affairs appeared delaying a.o. the final rules on the special social security contribution relating to occupational pensions - known as the “Wyninckx contribution” - with another year, until 1 January 2017.

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Reimbursement of costs proper to the employer

The Rulings Service accepts visit or stay expenses for the  spouse and children of an expatriate worker

The Rulings Service recently decided that, in certain specific cases, visit or stay expenses for the family members of an expatriate worker may be reimbursed as costs proper to the employer.

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Unemployment with company allowance scheme - Modification of the “unemployed” status

As part of the plan to keep older employees at work, the Government initially substantially modified the scheme commonly called "unemployment with company allowance", by requiring unemployed scheme participants to be actively available for the labour market (see our Newsletter of 19 January 2015).

Since 1 July 2015, Croatian nationals no longer need work permits

Since 1 July 2015, Croatian nationals have free access to the Belgian labour market and no longer need a work permit to be able to work in Belgium.

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Value of luncheon vouchers increased and the “CBA 90” bonus limited

As of 1 January 2016, the maximum nominal value of a luncheon voucher will be increased from 7 to 8 EUR. The maximum employer contribution will be set at 6.91 EUR per voucher.

The maximum amount of the bonus granted in the framework of non-recurrent result-related benefits will also increase as of 1 January 2016 from 3,100 EUR to 3,169 EUR.

If these amounts are complied with, there is an exemption from social security contributions.

 

Read more... 

Compensation employees' professional mileage: the maximum amount of compensation has changed

As from 1 July 2015, the maximum amount of the fixed mileage compensation is set at 0.3412 EUR per kilometer Read more 

Social elections 2016: Parliament adopts new legislation

June 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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During the plenary session of Thursday 21 May 2015, the Federal Parliament adopted the draft bill that aims to regulate and simplify the organisation of the 2016 social elections. The new Act largely follows the opinion that the National Labour Council had delivered earlier.

Supreme Court opens the door for civil damage claims for victims of a work accident

June 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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An employee who was the victim of a work accident is compensated by the employer's work accident insurer, regardless who was actually responsible for the accident (and even if it resulted from the victim's own error). In return for this system of an automatic compensation, the employee can no longer file damage claims against his own employer. This principle is known as the 'civil immunity' of the employer. In a judgement of the Supreme Court of 21 May, this principle has now been slightly adjusted. 

UCA and time credit: new CBA’s of the NLC - NLC implements RD’s of 30 December 2014

June 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Both unemployment with company allowance (UCA) and time credit are systems in which a right to a company allowance after dismissal, respectively a right to work reduced hours or take a career break on the basis of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), is linked to a right to unemployment benefits/“interruption benefits” (onderbrekingsuitkeringen/allocations d’interruption) based on a Royal Decree (RD).

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Wage moderation - The Act providing the new remuneration margin has been published

May 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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On Thursday 30 April 2015, the Act establishing the maximum margin for the evolution of remuneration costs for 2015 and 2016 was published in the Belgian Official Gazette and entered into force.

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Combined use of a tablet - The NSSO reduces the benefit subject to contributions

May 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The National Social Security Office (NSSO) no longer equates a tablet with a PC when it comes to the valuation of the benefit subject to social security contributions.

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The “index jump” of 2% becomes reality

May 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The Act regarding the promotion of employment which primarily foresees a prohibition of indexation as from April 2015 was just published in the Belgian Official Gazette.

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Points of attention when filing bonus plans (CBA no. 90)

April 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The registry of the General Direction Collective Labour Relations has published a list on the website of the FPS with points of attention with respect to completing and filing an act of accession for the introduction of non-recurring results-related benefits.

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As of today, 1 April 2015, Joint Committee no. 218 is replaced by Joint Committee no. 200

April 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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As of today, 1 April 2015, Joint Committee no. 218 is replaced by Joint Committee no. 200. There are almost no practical implications for both employees and employers.

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Non-competition clause: What with a non-competition clause which exceeds the admitted duration?

March 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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In a decision of 23 January 2015, the Supreme Court stated that the trial judge, asked to rule on the nullity of a non-competition clause of an independent worker which exceeds the admitted duration, has to take into account the agreement's clause which limits the scope of the nullity. 

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Belgium and Luxembourg soften the taxation rules for cross-border workers

February 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Salaries of cross-border workers will no longer become taxable in their State of residence merely because they work occasionally in a State other than the State of usual employment, provided that this occasional work lasts for less than 25 days.

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Laws on psychosocial risks at work: adapt the company work rules

February 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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On 1 September 2014 new laws on the prevention of psychosocial risks at work entered into force. As a result of this legislation, the work rules must be adapted and this at the latest by 1 March 2015.

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Extension partial exemption obligation to deposit advance business tax for night and shift premiums

January 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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In the framework of the Recovery Act of 15 May 2014, tax measures were foreseen amongst other things to increase the competitivity of undertakings.

Read more 

Benefit in kind: private use of a company car

January 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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New CO2 emission benchmarks for 2015

The CO2 emission benchmark applicable to the calculation of the benefit in kind for the private use of a company car was modified for 2015.

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The single employment status – one year on

January 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The Act of 26 December 2013 concerning the single employment status is one year old. It entered into effect on 1 January 2014 and since that date, white-collar-workers and blue-collar-workers have equal notice periods. 

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Declaration IPP’s has been postponed

January 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The deadline for the declaration of individual pension promises to SIGEDIS (DB2P) has been postponed until 30 June 2015.

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Working on Sundays in tourist centres: not all year round

January 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The Belgian Supreme Court has ruled on the scope of the exception that allows working on Sundays in tourist centres.

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Evaluation of the benefit in kind of a mobile phone

December 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The NSSO officially confirms the amount of 12,50 EUR per month but imposes its conditions!

The NSSO just published its new "administrative instructions", in which it officially confirms that the benefit in kind of a mobile phone can be evaluated at 12,50 EUR per month, but only if certain conditions are fulfilled.

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Check-Up Social Elections 2016 - Day X-60 is on the way …

December 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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In exactly one year, the quadrennial social elections for your works council and/or prevention committee will commence. This procedure - which will last for 150 days - starts with the so-called "Day X-60" which falls in December 2015.

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Collective result-based advantages (CBA 90) - Maximum 3,130 EUR in 2015

December 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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For bonus plans which lead to payments in 2015, the exempted amount remains similar to last year, namely 3,130 EUR (social security limit) and 2,721 EUR (tax limit).

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The new salary thresholds for 2015

December 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The Federal Public Service Employment has changed the remuneration thresholds to be taken into account for applying certain legal provisions of employment contracts of white-collar employees. 

Read more 

Subjecting directors-legal persons to VAT has been postponed for one year

December 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Following a decision of 12 December 2014, the tax administration has reversed its decision of 20 November 2014 and postponed the abolishment of the optional VAT system for directors-legal persons until 1 January 2016. 

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LIMOSA declaration for Belgian end users endure European test

December 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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When seconded employees are not in the possession of a LIMOSA form, the Belgian end user must make the declaration with the NSSO himself. In its judgment of 3 December 2014, the European Court of Justice ruled that this LIMOSA declaration obligation for the end user can be justified. 

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Directors-legal persons will be subject to VAT as from 1 January 2015

December 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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In its decision no. E.T. 125.180 of 20 November 2014 the VAT Administration has decided to abolish the optional VAT system for directors-legal persons starting on 1 January 2015.

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Companies have to register internal pension promises before 31 December 2014 in the DB2P

December 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Since 2011 the Occupational Pension Database (DB2P), managed by Sigedis, has been collecting data about occupational pensions in Belgium. This data build-up has taken place in successive steps. In that context, internal pension commitments (IPC's) for employees or self-employed directors maintained by the company have to be registered in DB2P before 31 December 2014.

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Your employee uses a private internet connection and/or PC for professional purposes

November 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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How can you compensate for this?

In its latest "Intermediary Instructions", the NOSS accepts that the employer can grant an exempted amount of 20 EUR per month for the internet connection and 20 EUR per month for the PC if an employee uses both private objects for professional purposes.

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Delegates of non-profit organisations combining daily management and complementary commercial activi

November 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Delegates of non-profit organisations combining daily management and complementary commercial activities - Social security regime for employees applies

A delegate with as his/her main activity the daily management of a non-profit organisation is subject to the social security regime for employees even if the non-profit organisation engages in complementary commercial activities.

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The qualification of copyright income as income from movable property

November 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The Tax Administration sets its conditions.

The Tax Administration has just published a new circular which specifies in what circumstances copyright income can be likened to income from movable property and not to professional income. 

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Compensation for the transfer of intellectual property rights

November 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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For some time, there has been some debate regarding the exact nature of compensation paid by the employer to an employee for the transfer of intellectual property rights over works he created in the framework of the employment contract.

On 15 September 2014, the Belgian Supreme Court made an important decision: such compensation constitutes remuneration and therefore, social security contributions are due.

 

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Concerns regarding UCA as a result of coalition agreement Michel I

October 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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According to the coalition agreement of the new government, employees who are ‘placed in notice' on 31 October 2014 with a view to obtaining UCA can still benefit from the current UCA regulations, which will be strengthened as of 2015.

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Use in Belgium of a foreign employer’s vehicle - The legislator changes the rules

From 1 October 2014 new documents must be kept on board any foreign employer's vehicle used by a Belgian resident.

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Listed stock options and warrants - The Ruling Commission has fixed certain conditions

September 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The so-called "Ruling Commission" sets the conditions under which listed options enter into the scope of the law of 26 March 1999. This is an important decision regarding the exemption from social security of such options.

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Transition to electronic meal vouchers - Paper meal vouchers disappear on 1 January 2016

August 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Aware of the advantages of meal vouchers in electronic form, the Government has decided to definitively replace the paper form by electronic form, with effect from 1 January 2016.

Read more

Reform of employers’ groups - A useful tool for the company

July 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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An Act and a Royal Decree were published in the Belgian Official Gazette concerning the reform of the employers' groups (EG) mechanism, making the EG more accessible and attractive.

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Industry-level agreement on outplacement within Joint Committee no. 218

July 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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CBA of 10 July 2014 on the entitlement to outplacement for certain white-collar workers

On 10 July 2014, the Ancillary Joint Committee for white-collar workers (JC no. 218) adapted the industry-level rules on outplacement to the new rules on outplacement.

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Solidarity contributions on company cars

July 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The NOSS makes a distinction between utility vehicles and other vehicles with respect to the notion of ‘home-to-work travel'.

In its latest version of its instructions for employers, the NOSS states that home-to-work travel undertaken using a utility vehicle cannot be considered as "home-to-work travel" for the purposes of the solidarity contribution on company cars. A utility vehicle is a vehicle which is, from a fiscal point of view, a light-duty vehicle.

 

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More favourable tax regime for night and shift premiums

July 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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In the framework of the Recovery Act of 15 May 2014, tax measures were foreseen amongst other things to increase the competitivity of undertakings.

Read more

Restructuring under the single employment status

July 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Outstanding issues concerning the shortening of notice periods in the context of the unemployment with company allowance system and the reimbursement of the activation indemnity have finally been resolved

 

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European Directive on intra-corporate transfers to the EU

July 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Combined residence and work permit to be available for executives, specialists and trainees who are temporarily being transferred from outside of the EU to a European entity of their employer's group

On 15 May 2014 Directive 2014/66/EU was adopted. This Directive obliges EU Member States (excluding the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark) to provide a combined residence and work permit for intra-group transfers by the end of 2016. This is the first work permit that will allow its holders under certain conditions to work in multiple Member States for entities belonging to the same group and located in different EU Member States.

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Act of 25 April 2014 on the status and supervision of credit institutions

July 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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A stricter regulation of the remuneration policy of credit institutions

For those credit institutions falling within its scope, the new Law imposes strict obligations for their remuneration policies.

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Compensation employees' professional mileage: the maximum amount of compensation has changed

July 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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As from 1 July 2014, the maximum amount of the fixed mileage compensation is set at 0.3468 EUR per kilometer.


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New rules concerning the taxation of non-residents

July 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The transfer of competence for fiscal matters to the Regions has led to two measures which could have a major impact on Belgian non-residents. Firstly, the category "non-residents with accommodation" is abolished and, secondly, the so-called "localisation rules" become important. 

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Social security regime for company representatives

July 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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On 6 June 2014, the Belgian Official Gazette published an Act allowing the reversal of the presumption that the exercise of a mandate in a company or even an association results in an obligation to subject the individual concerned to the social security regime for independent workers. A Royal Decree specifies how.

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Study of performance bonus plans - Bonuses for white-collar workers become more common

July 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Study of performance bonus plans - Bonuses for white-collar workers become more common

 

Claeys & Engels has conducted a large scale study of CBA no. 90 (the so-called non-recurring performance-related advantages), in close cooperation with Vlerick and Hudson. This study received a lot of attention in the press this week (De Tijd - L'Echo). Please find the first results below.

 

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Posting of Workers - the law has been reinforced!

June 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The Posted Workers Directive (1996) has just been reinforced by a new Directive to prevent social dumping, to protect the rights of posted workers and to better ensure fair competition between services providers in Europe.This so-called Enforcement Directive needs to be transposed into national law by 18 June 2016. Below we summarize some of its most important aspects.

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Legislation relating to the fight against the gender wage gap

June 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Analytical report on the wage structure

 

On 15 May 2014 the necessary decrees for the entry into force of the obligation to draft an analytical report concerning a company's wage structure were published.

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Tax exemption social liabilities - Royal Decree published

June 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The Act of 26 December 2013 regarding the introduction of harmonised dismissal rules introduces among others a tax exemption "social liabilities" as of 2019.

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Solidarity contribution for company cars

June 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Clarifications by the RSZ concerning employees who ‘do not have a fixed work place'...

Recently the RSZ changed its position concerning the way the 'fixed work place' has to be determined for the payment of the solidarity contribution for company cars. From now on, the criterion will be the same as that of the tax administration, i.e. an employee has a fixed work place if he/she is working for more than 40 days per annum at the same place.

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FATCA agreement between Belgium and the United States signed

June 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The intergovernmental agreement (IGA) between Belgium and the United States governing reciprocal financial information-sharing and the implementation of FATCA, was signed recently. According to this agreement, Belgian IORP's will not be considered as financial institutions subject to FATCA.

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Time spent on-call is not working time - Confirmation by the Supreme Court

May 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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According to a very recent judgement of the Belgian Supreme Court, the so-called "standby services" do not constitute working time, even if the freedom of movement of the employee concerned is limited as a result. Read more

Business trips abroad - New flat rate allowances

May 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The new list of flat rate daily allowances, which the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs grants to its employees who undertake short business trips abroad, was approved by Ministerial decision of 13 March 2014. Read more

 

Flemish Language Decree is modified - New rules regarding the use of languages in social relations

May 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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In the judgement PSA/LAS, the European Court of Justice ruled the Flemish language decree to be in conflict with the free movement of persons. The Flemish government has now put the necessary modifications in a decree. Read more

Special compensation contribution to be paid on the termination indemnification

April 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The Royal Decree of 9 March 2014 (published in the Belgian State Gazette on 20 March 2014) determines the method of calculation.

 

The new dismissal regulation provides for a so-called ‘special compensation contribution' to be paid on the termination indemnification. The amounts concerned are the indemnification in lieu of notice in case of dismissal by the employer, and the termination indemnification the employer pays in case of termination of the employment agreement with mutual consent.

 

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OntslagWijzer 2014 / Préavis 2014: Update

April 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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As you most probably know, Claeys & Engels published a magazine entitled "Ontslagwijzer 2014"/"Préavis 2014" on the occasion of the new dismissal laws which entered into force at the beginning of this year.

Read more and download the updated version of  "Ontslagwijzer 2014"/"Préavis 2014"

Calculation of the protection indemnity for employees dismissed while on part-time parental leave

March 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The European Court of Justice has ruled that, when a full-time employee is dismissed illegally while enjoying part-time parental leave, the protection indemnity should be calculated based on the individual's full-time salary.

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Soon it will be required to register the attendance at temporary and mobile construction sites

March 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Starting on 1 April 2014 the registration of attendance for persons who execute construction works on temporary and mobile construction sites of a certain scale will be mandatory

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Modernization of temporary work - CBA no. 108 declared generally binding

February 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Due to the Royal Decree of 26 January 2014 CBA no. 108 concerning temporary employment and temporary work is now generally binding.

 

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Different treatment of blue-collar and white-collar employees in the field of occupational pensions

February 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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On 12 February 2014 the National Labour Council has given its unanimous advice on the harmonization of blue-collar and white-collar employees in the field of occupational pensions.  Any distinction regarding future periods of employment should be eliminated by 1 January 2025 at the latest.

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As from 1 April 2014 dismissals need to be motivated by the employer

February 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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CLA no. 109 of 12 February 2014 states that dismissals of blue-collar and of white-collar workers need to be motivated starting on 1 April 2014. Moreover, an indemnity will be due when the dismissal is considered to be "manifestly unreasonable".

 

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The new salary thresholds for 2014 - Adjustment

February 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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he Federal Public Service Employment has changed the remuneration thresholds to be taken into account for applying certain legal provisions of employment contracts of white-collar employees.

 

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Dismissal compensation indemnity for blue-collar employees

February 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The Royal Decree of 9 January 2014 concerning the dismissal compensation indemnity (Official Gazette of 20 January 2014) determines how this indemnity for dismissed blue-collar employees is calculated, applied for and granted.

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Benefit in kind: private use of a company car - New CO2 emission benchmarks for 2014

February 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The CO2 emission benchmark applicable to the calculation of the benefit in kind for the private use of a company car was modified for 2014. Read more

Who signs the letter when dismissing for serious cause?

February 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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This question is best raised beforehand... In 2013, several labour courts found a dismissal, signed by the wrong persons, to be irregular.

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Legal interest rate for 2014 fixed at 2,75% per year

January 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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For the year 2014 the legal interest rate remains 2,75%, which is the same rate as in 2013. In fiscal matters and for claims of the National Office for Social Security (NOSS) the rate remains 7% for now.

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Flemish Language Decree - Hearing of employee not necessarily in Dutch?

January 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Referring to the judgment of the European Court of Justice of 16 April 2013 (see our Newsflash of 16 April 2013), the Brussels Labour Court, in a decision of 17 December 2013, accepted the validity of the hearing of an employee in English, in view of the cross-border character of his employment contract.

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Compensation upon termination of employment and social security contributions

January 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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 Return to the exemption for certain compensatory amounts linked to protected statuses

After having decided to subject almost all termination indemnities to social security contributions, the government recently changed course and decided to keep the exemption for certain protection indemnities. 

 

New dismissal rules

January 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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At the beginning of this new year, the new dismissal rules entered into force.

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Action Plan to fight against social dumping

December 2013 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The government is taking an increasingly harder line in dealing with the problem of abuses by foreign subcontractors, with increased inspections, a stricter prosecution policy and more severe penalties.

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Nullity of irregularly obtained evidence limited

December 2013 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Legislator roots the so-called Antigoon case law in criminal law


The situations in which irregularly obtained evidence will be declared null and voided are now rooted in the legislation.

 

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So-called “fake self-employment”

December 2013 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Special criteria adopted for the road transport and logistics sectors

The Royal Decree of 29 October 2013 complements the existing legal requirements, creating a presumption of fake self-employment for the sectors of road transport and logistics.

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Collective result-based advantages (CBA 90) - Maximum 3,131 EUR in 2014

December 2013 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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For bonus plans which lead to payments in 2014, the exempted amount has been raised to 3,131 EUR (social security limit) and 2,722 EUR (tax limit).

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Tax regime for severance pay

December 2013 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Separate taxation at the average rate of the last year with professional activity

In a circular dated 13 November 2013, the tax authorities changed their point of view on what is to be considered as the "last year with a normal professional activity". From now on, the taxpayer must have exercised a professional activity during the entire year. If not, the year cannot be taken into account to determine the tax rate, even if a replacement income was obtained.

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Harmonised dismissal rules: Proposal

December 2013 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The draft bill concerning the introduction of harmonised dismissal rules was introduced in the House of Representatives on 21 November 2013.

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Unemployment benefits and indemnities due on account of the termination of an employment contract

November 2013 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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A new regime of incompatibilities

Since 1 November every indemnity subject to social security contributions and which is due on account of the termination of the employment contract, will no longer be compatible with unemployment benefits.

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Compensation for moral damages suffered as a result of discrimination - Conditions of the tax exempt

November 2013 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Compensation granted for moral damages suffered as a result of discrimination cannot be exempted from tax except if it is granted in the context of judicial proceedings or a mutual settlement agreement procedure conducted by the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism, with determination of the individual moral damages actually suffered by the worker.

Read more...

 

 

Payments made upon termination of employment and non-compete payments -

November 2013 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Almost all now subject to social security contributions

As from 1 October 2013, the non-compete payments paid under an agreement concluded within 12 months following the end of the employment contract are subject to social security contributions. This also applies to compensations for protected status and compensations for loss of clientele.

Read more

The new salary thresholds for 2014 - A restricted role

November 2013 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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As it does every year, the Federal Public Service Employment has changed the remuneration thresholds to be taken into account for applying certain provisions of employment contracts of white-collar employees. Read more

Daily lump sum compensation amounts - Work-related stay abroad of more than 30 days

October 2013 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The tax authorities accept the granting of a daily lump sum tax-exempted compensation in case of a work-related stay abroad of more than 30 days.

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Increase in the internal limit and the credit of overtime hours is now in effect

October 2013 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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As recently announced (see our Newsflash of 3 September 2013), the legislator has, in a desire for more flexibility, introduced a higher internal limit with regard to respecting the average working time within the reference period and a higher credit of overtime hours for which an employee may renounce his/her right to compensatory time off. The Royal Decree of 11 September 2013 (published in the official gazette on 19 September 2013) contains the necessary procedures.

 

These modifications came into effect on 1 October 2013.

 

Read more...


Applicable employment law in case of international employment

October 2013 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Court of Justice: place where the employee habitually carries out his work is not decisive 

The place where the employee habitually carries out his work must be set aside if the agreement is more closely connected with another country. This principle even applies if the employee was employed for a (very) lengthy period and without interruption in the country of the place where he habitually caries out his work.

 

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Ordinary and additional annual holidays - Publication of three Royal Decrees

October 2013 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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13 and 17 September saw publication in the Belgian Gazette of three Royal Decrees relating to annual holidays and the so-called additional holidays (better known under the term "European holidays").

Negative comments on Facebook - Justifying a dismissal for serious cause?

October 2013 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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The Brussels Labour Court decided in a recent ruling that an employee who regularly posted negative comments about his employer on his public Facebook page was dismissed for serious cause without breach of his privacy rights.


Payments made upon termination of employment and non-compete payments

October 2013 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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Almost all now subject to social security contributions.

As from 1 October 2013, the non-compete payments paid under an agreement concluded within 12 months following the end of the employment contract are subject to social security contributions.  This also applies to compensations for protected status and compensations for loss of clientele.  

Age differentiation in pension contributions

October 2013 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels law firm.

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European Court of Justice - a difference of pension  contributions on grounds of age is legitimate if the difference is appropriate and necessary to achieve a legitimate aim. 

On 26 September 2013 the Court of Justice ruled on the question as to whether employer's contributions to an occupational pension scheme can vary with the scheme member's age.   

Result bonus (CBA 90): the maximum amount for 2013 is 2.488 EUR

For bonus plans paid in 2013, the maximum social security and tax exemption limit will be 2.488 EUR.

Working as a student after completion of studies?

The NSSO adopts a clear position on the issue: the young graduates who graduated in June will be able to continue to work under an agreement for student employment until 30 September of the current year.

The employee must be considered a student when he/she is no longer subject to an obligation of full-time compulsory attendance at school but continues to follow a full-time education or part-time education (under certain conditions).

Constitutional Court retains the current level of protection offered to employee representatives

The Belgian Constitutional Court considers that the protection against dismissal afforded to (candidate) employee representatives in the Works Council and/or the Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work does not violate the principle of equality.

Liability of directors of Belgian companies to the social security in a European context

For the application of European law, the location where a professional activity is exercised is the location where, in practical terms, the person concerned carries out the actions connected with that activity.

The unemployment with company allowance regime: the most recent adjustments

The regime of unemployment with company allowance (formally known as prepension/prépension/brugpensioen) has been modified several times in recent months. Following comments by the social partners, it was announced that a number of measures would be liberalised. This has now been done by the Royal Decree of 20 September 2012, which modifies the Royal Decree of 3 May 2007 regulating the regime of unemployment with company allowance.

Finally, the European Blue Card available in Belgium for highly-skilled employees

Starting Monday 10 September 2012, a "European Blue Card" can be issued to certain highly-skilled non-EEA employees. This will allow them to work and reside in Belgium.

Fight against the gender wage gap - measures to be taken within the company

The Act of 22 April 2012 aimed at fighting against the gender wage gap, published in the Belgian Official Gazette on 28 August, introduces several new requirements with practical implications for companies. In all companies that must file annual accounts, wage data contained in the annual social report will from now on have to be broken down by workers' gender.

Written testimony can no longer be drafted as you see fit!

As from 13 August 2012, the Judicial Code will regulate written testimonies drafted by parties in order to support their case in court. The new provisions of the Judicial Code are modelled after the French regulation.

Rights of temporary agency workers broadened

The Belgian legislator implements the European Directive and broadens the rights of the temporary agency workers against the users

di Rupo’s recovery measures

The government has announced some recovery measures, including in the field of employment.

A workplace that is very hot or very cold? - thermal environmental factors

On 1 July 2012 the Royal Decree (RD) concerning the thermal environmental factors entered into force. This RD determines the conditions under which an employee may work in a very hot or very cold environment.

As from 1 April 2012 - additional holidays

Workers who are starting their careers or who are restarting their activities after a long time off, are entitled to additional holidays after an introductory period of three months.

Employment Law News Flash - JULY 2012

During summer holidays, a lot of students decide to work in order to gain work experience and to earn some money. As from 1 January 2012, new rules regarding student work came into force.

Compensation employees' professional mileage: the maximum amount of compensation has changed

As from 1 July 2012, the maximum amount of the fixed mileage compensation is set at 0.3456 EUR per kilometer.

Modification of Regulations (EC) n° 883/2004 and (EC) n° 987/2009

(applicable national social security regime)

The modifications that will enter into force on 28 June 2012 will have an impact on the applicable national social security regime in the event of cross-border employment within the EEA and Switzerland. For existing situations, a transitional period (maximum ten years) is provided. 

As from 1 April 2012 - additional holidays

Workers who are starting their careers or who are restarting their activities after a long time off, are entitled to additional holidays after an introductory period of three months.

On-call duty from home is not working time

According to the Court of Appeal of Liège, on-call duty from home should not be compensated as working time. Guard duty at work, on the other hand, should be considered as working time.

Extension of parental leave

Since 1 June employees are entitled to four months of parental leave. For a certain period after this leave ends, it will also be possible for an employee to ask for an adaptation of their employment contract or their work schedule.

As of today the "new" European Regulation on the coordination of social security regimes (EC)...

also applies to Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein

On 1 May 2010 the "new" regulation (EC) 883/2004 entered into force in the 27 EU Member States. With regard to Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein the "old" Regulation (EEC) 1408/71 continued to apply. 

Non-compete agreement concluded after the severance notification but before the effective end of...

Under certain conditions, the indemnity paid by the former employer by virtue of a non-compete agreement concluded after the severance notification, but before the effective end of the employment contract, is exempt from social security contributions.

2012 Social Elections: we are almost there but some tasks remain to be done after the election day

Once the votes are counted, there are only a few more formalities left within the framework of the social elections. Unless you would face a dispute with regard to the results of your social elections.

Interim measures regarding the statutory early retirement regime

A Royal Decree of 26 April 2012, published in the Belgian Official Journal of 30 April 2012, contains the previously announced transitional measures regarding the new stricter conditions with respect to legal early retirement.

A job applicant whose application was rejected does not have the right to know whether...

the employer hired someone else

According to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), a job applicant whose application was rejected, even when he claims plausibly that he meets the requirements listed in a job advertisement, is not entitled to have access to information indicating whether the employer hired another applicant at the end of the recruitment process. 

New rules on the designation of a beneficiary in a life insurance contract

A new Article 110/1 of the law on insurance contracts states that, in the event that the legal heirs are designated as beneficiaries without being mentioned by name, the insurance benefit has to be paid to the policy holder's estate, unless counter-proof is provided or if otherwise agreed upon.

620 EUR tax exemption for severance pay and remuneration paid during the notice period

In a Circular of 13 March 2012, the tax authorities specify the employer's obligations under the new regime of partial exemption for severance pay and remuneration paid during the notice period.

A new circular about the French-Belgian cross-border workers

Within a circular of 3 April 2012, the Belgian tax authorities give further explanations about the status of the cross-border workers. These explanations concern the conditions to fulfil in order to benefit from the status after the 1 January 2012. Information about the "seasonal" cross-border workers is also given.

Business trips abroad: new flat rate allowances 2012

With the ministerial decision of 21 March 2012 the new list of flat rate daily allowances, which the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs grants to its employees who undertake "short business trips" abroad, is approved.

Since 1 April 2012, the "new" European Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004 on the coordination of...

social security regimes is applicable in Switzerland

Since 1 April 2012, the "new" European Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004 on the coordination of social security regimes is applicable in Switzerland  

Social elections 2012: last stages before the election day!

The social elections (day "Y") approach with great haste! However, some important steps remain to be taken before then. Below, we list what has yet to happen before day Y.

Employment Law News Flash APRIL 2012 SOCIAL

SOCIAL ELECTIONS ARE COMING CLOSER

While the social elections are coming closer and most procedural steps preceding the social elections have already been taken, we draw your attention to some issues which have to be taken in mind during the further course of the social elections procedure:

Social elections 2012: Composition of the polling station...

postal voting, final modifications to candidate lists

Election day ("Y) is looming! However, there are still some important dates to mark on the calendar. Below we list the next steps to be taken. 

Social elections 2012: do temporary workers count for the distribution of the mandates?

In recent case law, the question was raised whether, with respect to the distribution of the number of mandates per category of employees, one must take into account the temporary workers. At least two contradictory court decisions have been rendered until now.

Accumulating indemnities in the event of the dismissal of an employee representative

The Supreme Court has ruled that the indemnity for protection against dismissal for employee representatives can be cumulated with an indemnity for employment security which is due on the basis of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) concluded at the level of a branch of industry.

Social Elections 2012: the candidate lists arrive…!

On day X+35 at the latest, the candidate lists must be given to the employer. These lists will have to be posted up by the employer on day X+40 at the latest. Thereafter, the employer has some time to dispute the lists if he wishes.

Social elections 2012: are the temporary workers taken into account for...

the determination of the number of mandates?

Now that day X is approaching for a lot of companies, the question arises whether or not, and to which extent, temporary workers should be taken into account for determining the number of mandates. The Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue has taken a position with respect to this question. 

Social elections 2012: Day X (between 7 and 20 February)

Between the 7th and the 20th of February 2012 lots of information needs to be dispersed. This implies that you are exactly 90 days away from the date of the election.

Secondment for more than five years – the National Social Security Office explains its position

The NSSO has explained in what exceptional situations it can, on the basis of a motivated request, give its approval for additional periods of secondment beyond the normal five year limit.

Employment in more than one country - place where the employee habitually carries out his work

place of business through which the employee was engaged

European Court of Justice - Also in case of employment in more than one country at the same time, the criterion of "place where the employee habitually works" should in principle apply 

No social security contributions due on a 'premium for drinks'

A 'premium for drinks' that is paid by the employer to comply with its obligation to put the appropriate drinks at the disposal of its employees is not subjected to social security contributions.

Social elections 2012: Day X-30 (between 8 and 21 January)

The protection against dismissal as granted to social elections candidates starts between 8 and 21 January 2012, depending on day Y.

International mobility - limited access to the Belgian labour market

Bulgarian and Romanian workers still need a work permit until 31 December 2013.

On the basis of a proposal of the Minister of Work Monica De Coninck, the Federal Council of Ministers has decided to extend the transition period for the employment of Bulgarian and Romanian workers for a last time until 31 December 2013.

Modification of the dismissal rules as from 1 January!

Claeys & Engels has updated the calculation modules on www.formuleclaeys.be. Higher level white-collar employees who enter into service after 1 January 2012 will, in the event they are dismissed, be entitled to a notice period, calculated on the basis of the IPA Act. The new notice period amounts to 30 days per started year in service, with a minimum of 91 days.

Social elections 2012: Day X-35 (between 3 and 16 January)

On day X-35 at the latest, the employer must announce several decisions. The latter may be subject to appeal before the labour tribunal at the latest on day X-28.

Employment Law News Flash

Another year draws to its close. At the eleventh hour, a government was formed, a budget was agreed and political pledges were made to tackle the current adverse economic and financial climate. The year-end - traditionally a busy period with the issuing of hefty Programme Statutes - marks the beginning of intensified law-making under the reign of Di Rupo I.

Towards a new dismissal regime

The new regime of dismissal compensation must be simple and should in no way lead to a cost increase for employers. Unnecessary procedures before the courts must be avoided. The purchasing power of the dismissed individuals must be maintained.

The Dutch 30 % -rule: change for Belgium

The Dutch second Chamber recently approved some important changes with respect to the conditions for the Dutch fiscal 30 %-rule. As a result, this rule will in practice no longer be available for Belgians.

New salary thresholds for white-collar workers

As every year, the Federal Public Service Employment has adapted the thresholds of remuneration to be taken into consideration for the application of certain provisions of the employment contract for white-collar workers.

The indemnity in lieu of notice for employees working reduced hours in a "time credit regime"...

still to be calculated on the part-time salary

The Constitutional Court has confirmed that the indemnity in lieu of notice of employees who work reduced hours in a so-called "time credit regime" must be calculated on the basis of the real (and therefore, part-time) salary.

Social Elections - Is your company already registered?

Any company that should organize social elections must register itself with the FPS Employment. Based on this registration, you will receive the necessary data for a personal access to the web application of the FPS.

Prohibiting airline pilots from working after the age of 60 constitutes discrimination

A collective agreement providing an automatic termination of the employment contract of pilots at the age of 60 is discriminatory according to the Court of Justice.

The Royal Decree determining the way temporary workers are counted is published

With respect to the forthcoming social elections, certain temporary workers must be taken into account to calculate the threshold of 50 or 100 workers. Today's Belgian Official Journal contains the Royal Decree determining how an employer must actually count such workers during the last quarter of 2011.

The European Court of Human Rights rules on the limits of a trade union’s freedom of expression

On 12 September 2011, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasburg delivered its judgement in the case Palomo Sanchez and others v. Spain. In this judgement, the Court confirms the right to freedom of expression but takes the view that this right cannot be taken advantage of to harm others.

The ceiling of 100 employees for the establishment of a works council remains unchanged

Today's Belgian Official Journal contains the Act confirming that all companies ("technical operating unit") that usually employ in 2011 on average at least 100 employees (including certain categories placed on the same footing like for example temporary employees), have the obligation to organize social elections for the establishment (or renewal) of a works council (as well as obviously for a committee for prevention and protection at work for which the ceiling remains at a minimum of 50 employees).

Who's Who Legal

'Who's Who Legal' has published an article by Chris Engels on 'New Belgian dismissal rules'.

Blue-collar worker vs white-collar worker: the Constitutional Court requires the legislator to act

In a judgment of 7 July 2011 the Constitutional Court ruled that the legal provisions concerning the notice periods for blue-collar workers and concerning the so-called "carenz-day" for blue collar workers are contrary to the constitutional principle of equality.

Employment and Social Security Criminal Code enters into force

Today, one year after its publication in the Belgian Official Gazette, the new Employment and Social Security Criminal Code enters into force.

The Brussels Labour Court rejects evidence on the basis of...

An employee’s entitlement to a "reasonable expectation" of privacy

A managing director, accompanied by a union representative, breaks open the locked closet of a cleaner, without her knowledge, and notes the presence of objects belonging to the company inside. Informed of this observation, the employee admits that she had put the objects inside the locker.

Tax circular on 'Project private PC'

The contribution an employer makes towards what an employee pays for a computer and/or related material can be exempted from tax under certain conditions and within certain limits.

Seniority premium: the tax authorities tunes to the NOSS

In its circular of 23 May 2011, the Belgian tax authorities tuned their position with regard to seniority premiums following the recent clarification issued by the National Office of Social Security (NOSS).

The Supreme Court comes to a final verdict

A protected employee can waive his entitlement to the protection indemnity

A (candidate-) employee representative can only be dismissed after following the procedures provided for by the Act of 19 March 1991 (dismissal for serious cause or for economic/technical reasons).

 

The new rules on dismissal become reality

On the 7th of April 2011, the Chamber and the Senate voted and approved the draft law on the modification of the Act of 1 February 2011 on the extension of anti-crisis measures in execution of the inter-professional agreement, and to implement the mediation of the federal government with regard to the draft Interprofessional Agreement.

Salary increases seriously limited for 2011 and 2012

As already known, the social partners did not succeed in concluding an inter-professional agreement for 2011-2012.

Work permit exemptions brought into line with LIMOSA declaration exemptions

By Royal Decree of 13 March 2011, a few changes have been made to the exemptions applicable to non-EEA nationals seeking work permits in order to work in Belgium (even if this work is only temporary).

New rules on dismissal as of 2012 A first step towards harmonisation

As we announced in our Newsletter of 24 Febru-ary 2011, the first draft law and royal decree to implement the mediation proposal of the fed-eral government regarding the draft Inter-professional Agreement 2011-2012 (IPA) were approved by the Cabinet on 25 February 2011.

Protected employees and the 2012 Social Elections

A sole candidate also enjoys protection against dismissal

The Supreme Court has again handed down a judgment from which it is clear that the combination of on the one hand protected employees and on the other hand social elections is still giving rise to disputes.

Age discrimination in Europe

Ius Laboris invites you to an online discussion about age discrimination in the workplace.

Protected employees and the 2012 Social Elections

A sole candidate also enjoys protection against dismissal

The Supreme Court has again handed down a judgment from which it is clear that the combination of on the one hand protected employees and on the other hand social elections is still giving rise to disputes.

Business trips abroad: new flat rate allowances

With the ministerial decision of 28 April the new list of flat rate daily allowances, which the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs grants to its employees who undertake “short business trips” abroad, is approved. In this regard, short business trips are those not lasting longer than 30 calendar days.

Work permit exemptions brought into line with LIMOSA declaration exemptions

By Royal Decree of 13 March 2011, a few changes have been made to the exemptions applicable to non-EEA nationals seeking work permits in order to work in Belgium (even if this work is only temporary). These changes concern more particularly foreign (i.e. non-EEA) employees coming to Belgium (i) to attend a scientific congress, or (ii) for meetings in a so-called “closed circle”.

 

Koelzsch judgment: European Court of Justice clarifies applicable employment law for employment in m

On 15 March 2011, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) delivered a judgment on the question how to determine which legislation applies to an employment contract in case of employment in more than one  country. The case at hand concerned a truck driver involved in international transport who was domiciled in Germany and who had a Luxemburg employer.  

 

New surveillance model for the financial sector

New surveillance model for the financial sector – prudential surveillance on pension funds (IORPs) continues to be exercised by the BFIC

The Belgian legislator has opted to change the surveillance structure of the financial sector to a so-called "Twin Peaks" model. In such model the surveillance tasks are divided: the prudential surveillance on the financial institutions moves from the Banking, Finance and Insurance Commission (BFIC) to the National Bank of Belgium (NBB). The BFIC only maintains the surveillance on the rules of conduct of the financial institutions, the surveillance on the financial markets, products and intermediaries, and consumer protection (stock market operations, mergers and acquisitions, insider information, stock market manipulation, etc.). Last week, a Royal Decree was published in that respect in the Belgian Official Gazette.

 

New CBFA regulation dealing with the remuneration policies in the financial sector

The Banking, Finance and Insurance Commission (CBFA) has published a new regulation relating to the remuneration policies in financial institutions. This regulation implements the CEBS guidelines on remuneration policies and practices aimed at facilitating the implementation of European Directive 2010/76/EU (CRD III)

Modifications made to the “Instructions for employers” issued by the National Social Security Of

The National Social Security Office (hereinafter NSSO) has made some modifications to its “Instructions for employers”. Below, you will find an overview of the most important changes.

 

Breach of publicity prescriptions part time employment

In order to combat undeclared employment, the publicity prescriptions regarding part time employment are being penalised by the presumption that the employee is employed on a full time basis, according article 22 ter of the NSSO (National Social Security Office) –act.

 

Social Elections 2012: National Labour Council proposes dates

On 2 March 2011, the National Labour Council has an advice given in which it proposes that social elections take place from 7 May to 20 May 2012 included.

 

Court of Justice deems the use of gender as a risk factor in insurance contracts incompatible with E

On 1 March 2011, the European Court of Justice rendered its judgement in the Test-Achats case. In a landmark ruling, the Court bans the common practice in the life insurance market to apply gender differences in premiums and benefits based on underlying actuarial and statistical data. According to the Court, as of 21 December 2012, unisex premiums and benefits should be the one and only norm.

 

Certain anti-crisis measures have been extended

The Act of 1 January 2011 published on 7 February in the Belgian Official Gazette extends two of the five anti-crisis measures that were introduced in 2009.

 

Legal interest rate fixed at 3,75% per year

On 1 January 2011 the legal interest rate increased from 3.25 % to 3.75 %. This increase relates to both legal interest and judicial interest. The legal interest rate is revised on an annual basis and corresponds to the average annual EURIBOR rate (average of the month of December of the previous year), rounded to the quarter percentage point and increased by two percentage points.

 

Interprofessional Agreement 2011-2012: a decisive step towards harmonizing the status of blue- and w

On 18 January 2011, the social partners agreed a draft Interprofessional Agreement ("I.P.A.") for the years 2011-2012. This draft still needs to be submitted to several institutions of the group of social partners, after which the government will take the necessary legal action in order to put the measures in place.

 

Eco-cheques: new rules apply since 1 January 2011

On Tuesday, 21 December 2010, the National Labour Council concluded the collective labour agreement (CLA) n°98bis modifying CLA n°98 on the so-called “eco-cheques”.

CBA no. 62 quinquies and CBA no. 101: the new regulatory framework concerning European Works Counci

During the session of 21 December 2010, the social partners signed two collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) that will form the legal framework concerning European Works Councils from 6 June 2011.

 

Does a lack of professional knowledge exclude the possibility for a worker to have a self-employed s

The Employment Relations Act of 27 December 2006 establishes four criteria for assessing whether an employment relation is to be qualified as subordinate employment or independent self-employment. These criteria are:

New European social security regulations in force as from 1 May 2010

On 1 May 2010 Regulation (EC) 883/2004 entered into force. This Regulation provides new European social security rules and replaces Regulation (EC) 1408/71. The basic principles remain the same, but there are a number of important changes in order to promote internal mobility, namely:

Indemnity in lieu of notice in case of time-credit:

Indemnity in lieu of notice in case of time-credit: still to be calculated on the basis of the part-time remuneration

A neutral dress code does not constitute a discrimination based on religion

On 27 April 2010, the Labour Tribunal of Antwerp pronounced a judgement regarding the question whether a company may impose a neutral dress code on its employees and whether it may ask its employees not to wear a headscarf at work.

The legislation on the Crisis premium has been modified!

The Act of 28 April 2010 on diverse provisions was published on May 10, 2010 in the Belgian Official Journal of Legislation. Several aspects of the legislation regarding the crisis premium for blue-collar workers were modified. Here is a short overview.

Seniority in the public sector: the Constitutional Court clarifies

In an answer to a prejudicial question of the Brussels Labour Court, the Constitutional Court decided in a decision of 12 May 2010 that, for the determination of the seniority to calculate the notice period, not only the periods worked in the framework of an employment contract must be taken into account, but also the periods worked previously with the same employer under a (public law) statute (decision no. 54/2010).

The possibility to waive a right to the protection indemnity after dismissal

Most Labour Courts recognize the possibility to waive a right to the protection indemnity after dismissal

Surveillance cameras in place since before 10 June 2007:

Surveillance cameras in place since before 10 June 2007: last chance to bring them into line with the law

“Position of trust”: power of decision is not required

Employees who are entrusted with a “leading position” or a “position of trust”, are excluded from the regulations on working time, night work, rest, breaks and respect of timetables.

Employment Newsletter October 2010

Private use by employees of their company mobile phones: moving towards the application of a lump-sum taxable benefit based on €12.50 per month?

Immigration: European Visa Code entered into force on 5 April

European Regulation (EC) no. 810/2009 of 13 July 2009, establishing a Community code on visas, entered into force on 5 April 2010.

When does a continuous fault become a serious cause justifying dismissal?

The Belgian Supreme Court recently annulled a judgment of the Labour Law Court of Bergen because a judgment it had handed down denied the right of the employer (in this case: an administrator of a hospital) to determine himself when a continuous misconduct makes the professional cooperation immediately and definitively impossible – and consequently justifies a dismissal for serious cause.

Severance pay in the event of part-time parental leave

An employee with an employment contract that is dismissed during the period of part-time parental leave is entitled to a severance pay calculated on the basis of the full-time employment. This is what the European Court of Justice judged in a decision dated 22 October 2009. The Court was responding to a prejudicial question posed by the Supreme Court.

New amounts of remuneration for white-collar workers

As every year, the Federal Public Service Employment has adapted the amounts of remuneration to be taken into consideration for the application of certain provisions of the employment contract for white-collar workers.

Revision of the mileage allowance

From 1 July 2009, the new amount of the fixed mileage allowance granted to an employee who uses his/her own vehicle (car, motorcycle or moped) to travel on behalf of an employer, will be 0.3026 EUR per kilometer. This amount applies from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010.

Eligibility to benefit from anti-crisis measures: when is a company a “company in difficulty”?

On 6 July 2009, one of the Decrees implementing the Law of 19 June 2009 on various provisions on employment in times of crisis, was published. In order to benefit from certain anti-crisis measures, in particular the temporary regimes of economic unemployment for employees and the so-called crisis time credit, the Law of 19 June 2009 stipulates that a company must prove that it meets one of the requirements for recognition as a `company in difficulty’.

Sport- and culture cheques: the Treasury follows the positions taken by the National Social Security

The Tax Administration has issued new directives concerning sport and culture cheques (Circular of 2 June 2009). The Administration was thereby obviously inspired by the legislation concerning social security (Royal Decree of 30 June 2006).

Supplementary pensions: publication of the new Anti-discrimination Report

On the 2nd of July 2009, the “Anti-discrimination Report 2008-2009’” drawn up by the Occupational Pension Commission, was posted up on the Internet site of the CBFA (Banking, Finance and Insurance Commission). This report was established by a working party to which the Occupational Pension Commission in association with the CBFA, had entrusted this task. The report running to some one hundred pages, contains a variety of practical questions concerning discrimination within the framework of supplementary pensions. It reflects the points of view of the different delegations represented in the Occupational Pension Commission.

Revised Code Buysse published

On 23 June 2009, a revised version of the Code Buysse was published. The Code contains a list of recommendations in the field of corporate governance for non-listed companies. As it concerns recommendations, companies are in principle free to follow them or not. Evidently, the Code carries a certain moral authority.

Modification of the procedure for collective dismissals

On 19 June 2009, a Royal Decree modifying the procedure that should be followed in the event of a collective dismissal was published in the Belgian Official Gazette.

Eco-cheques can now be granted without being subject to social security contributions

In our newsflash of 11 March 2009, we announced the possibility to grant in 2009 eco-cheques exempted from social security contributions.

Eco-cheques can now be granted without being subject to social security contributions

In our newsflash of 11 March 2009, we announced the possibility to grant in 2009 eco-cheques exempted from social security contributions.

New Act amending diverse rules

The new Act amending diverse rules was published on 19 May 2009. Here follows an overview of its most important provisions.

 

Temporary measures to protect employment

The Minister for Labour has announced a series of measures designed to avoid redundancies and to help companies in these times of crisis. These measures are currently being finalized and will apply from 1 July until 31 December 2009 with the possibility of an extension until 30 June 2010, after advice from the National Labour Council.

Free movement of workers from the new EU member states as from 1 May 2009

The Belgian federal government has decided not to extend the transitional arrangements that restricted the free movement of workers from the ‘new EU member states’.

European Works Councils: recast Directive approved by the Council of the European Union

On 23 April 2009 the Council of the European Union approved the European Recast Directive on the establishment of European Works Councils.

Reimbursement of costs: new fixed allowances for employees or managers travelling abroad

During their foreign business trips employees or managers have numerous small expenses, for which it is not always possible to obtain receipts. The tax administration and the NSSO accept a fixed reimbursement of the costs of meals and other small expenses, as long as the allowance for such expenses is reasonable.

The Act aiming at the revival of the economy: new rules in various fields

The Act aiming at the revival of the economy was published in the Belgian Official Gazette on 7 April 2009. Here is an overview of the relevant provisions relating to taxation and employment/restructuring.

Exercise of stock option plans: extension possible

The exercise period for stock option plans can under certain conditions be extended by a maximum of five years in a fiscally neutral manner.

The Constitutional Court deliberates upon the Anti Discrimination Law

In its judgement of 2 April 2009 the Constitutional Court considered the appeal concerning the partial abolishment of the Anti-Discrimination Law of 10 May 2007.

The Act on the continuity of enterprises entered into force on 1 April 2009

On 27 March 2009, the Belgian State Gazette published a Royal Decree providing that the Act on the continuity of enterprises (the "Act") will enter into force on 1 April 2009. The amendments to the Judicial Code, as provided for in the Act of 26 January 2009, will equally have effect as from that same date.

Flemish government approves the reinforced encouragement premium

On 20 March the Flemish government formally approved a reinforced encouragement premium for employees of companies in restructuring or in difficulty, who reduce their working time.

Strikes: the European Court of Human Rights pronounces

In a recent decision of 5 March 2009, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has judged that under certain circumstances the interest of maintaining law and order prevails over the freedom of association. In these circumstances, criminal proceedings may be started against the perpetrator of certain kinds of actions.

A meal voucher with a value of 7 EUR as from 1 January 2009?

The inter-professional agreement of 2009-2010, which aims at supporting  economic revival and restoring confidence, foresees the possibility for  employers to grant in 2009 every employee a net advantage of 125 EUR (250 EUR in 2010), which is completely exempted from employer's contributions. 

 

Limits on so-called “golden parachutes” in the new Corporate Governance Code

Yesterday the new Corporate Governance Code for listed companies was presented. The new Code is a revision of the so-called ‘Code Lippens' which dates from 2004.

The NSSO accepts an alternative calculation method for the seniority bonus

For a considerable period of time now the National Social Security Office (NSSO) accepts that employers award a seniority bonus to their employees after 25 or 35 years of service.  

CBA n° 98 makes eco- cheques possible for employees

On 20 February 2009, the National Labour Council concluded a collective bargaining agreement relating to eco-cheques.

INTERNATIONAL TRANSFERS OF EMPLOYEES

The transfer of an employee to go to work in another country than the home base will inevitably complicate the relations between the parties. Indeed the transfer will involve not only very practical but also legal questions, most notably in relation to the applicable law and the applicable social security system.

The control powers of the social inspection are questioned

In its decision of 3 December last, the Constitutional Court answered two preliminary questions which were put to it concerning the control powers of social inspectors.

Crossborder workers: new amendment to the Belgian-French treaty

On 12 December 2008 a new amendment to the double taxation treaty between Belgium and France was signed. It replaces the amendment signed on 13 December 2007. This new amendment has not yet entered into force as it has not yet been ratified.

Revision of the mileage allowance

The amount of the fixed mileage allowance granted by the state to officials for transportation with their private car, has recently been raised to 0.3169 EUR per kilometer.

Read more

Revision of the mileage allowance

The amount of the fixed mileage allowance granted by the state to officials for transportation with their private car, has recently been raised to 0.3169 EUR per kilometer.

Read more

The end of the "golden parachutes"?

In the context of the financial crisis and the fact that a number of senior executives have left some large listed companies, the government has submitted a draft bill aimed at putting a ceiling on the departure indemnities (often called golden parachutes) paid to such executives in listed companies.

New amounts of remuneration for white-collar workers

As every year, the Federal Public Service Employment has adapted the amounts of remuneration to be taken into consideration for the application of certain provisions of the employment contract for white-collar workers.

The "Renault Act"-ten years on: company restructurings & social plans,what are the trends in Belgium

Claeys & Engels has just published a new study concerning company restructurings and social plans. This study is based on an analysis of 216 collective bargaining agreements, concluded during 100 recent restructurings (2006-2008).

Dispensation from paying withholding tax: practical modalities

For the remuneration of sportsmen, scientific researchers, employees working in shifts and in certain cases also for the payment of overtime hours, it is possible for the employer to only partially pay the withholding tax to the tax administration.

The recording of telephone conversations does not always breach privacy

In a judgment of 9 September 2008, the Supreme Court confirmed that the protection afforded to private communications by international law does not as such prevent the recording of a private conversation by one of the participants to the conversation, even if this recording takes place without the knowledge of the other participants.

Premium for legal cohabitation and marriage

In a recent Circular, the tax administration confirmed that a marriage premium is free of taxes, insofar as its value does not exceed 200.00 EUR.

 

Transfer operating base: the indemnities paid for supplementary travel expenses are exempt from tax

When the employer decides to transfer the operating base of its activity, the indemnities paid to the workers in compensation for the supplementary travel expenses, can be considered as a reimbursement of costs proper to the employer, which is not taxed, if certain conditions – laid down by the Tax Authorities – are fulfilled:

Withholding tax: new scales to apply as from 1 October

As from 1 October 2008, new scales apply to the withholding tax.

Management agreements of Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORPs)

The CBFA Circular letter of 26 August 2008 reiterates the obligation imposed on IORPs requiring them to determine rules of management and operation which enable the clear determination of the rights and obligations of the IORP and the sponsoring undertaking(s). These rules must be laid down in the by-laws or in a separate management agreement with the sponsoring undertaking(s).

Evolution of case law concerning the employer’s right to control his employees

The Labour Court of Antwerp (Hasselt section) recently confirmed that an employer may dismiss an employee for serious cause when it is discovered that the employee’s use of internet and e-mail violates the company’s internal regulations.

Movie vouchers for employees: officially exempted from taxes

An employer can grant its employees movie vouchers. From now on, these vouchers will be officially exempted from taxes under certain conditions.

Interim workers are now also entitled to a “results” bonus

Since the start of this year employers can grant “results bonuses” to their personnel (the so-called non-recurrent advantages linked to results). These are exempted from taxes and social security contributions up to a threshold of 2,200 EUR per year. The employer only pays a solidarity contribution of 33 %. To benefit from this system the bonus has to be dependent on collective, uncertain targets. Moreover, the bonus plan has to be introduced by following a stringent procedure, described in the CBA 90 and the Act of 20 December 2007.

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Opinion on the notion of “other social purpose” for the surplus in a pension plan

On 19 August 2008 The Commission for Occupational Pensions published an opinion regarding the scope of the notion of “other social purpose” in article 14-4 of the Royal Decree implementing the Occupational Pensions Act. This article determines how the surplus in a pension plan is to be allocated in the event the pension plan is terminated permanently or when the organiser of the plan disappears for any reason whatsoever, without the pension plan being taken over by a third party.

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French cross-border workers: the Council of State approves the point of view of the Treasury

On 13 December 2007, Belgium and France reached an agreement on the abolition of the cross-border workers regulation so that this regulation would lapse for Belgian cross-border workers for remuneration received after 1 January 2007. For the French cross-border workers a transitional arrangement was to be adopted.

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Membership fees for a service club reimbursed by the employer can be exempted from social security

The Labour Court of Brussels considers that the reimbursement, by the employer, of the membership fee paid by employees to a service club (Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, etc.) can be exempted from social security contribution.

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The employer who makes discriminatory public statements is subject to sanctions

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) considers that an employer who states publicly that he will not recruit immigrants because of reluctance on the part of his customers, commits an act of discrimination.

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Service contract with a self-employed worker, the judge can

The Supreme Court has recalled that a judge can recharacterize a contract concluded between a company and a self-employed worker. Thus, if the judge considers that the service contract does not reflect their real relationship, it can be recharacterized as an employment contract.

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Revision of the mileage allowance

From tomorrow, the new amount of the fixed mileage allowance granted to an employee who uses his own vehicle (car, motorcycle or moped) to travel on behalf of the employer, will be 0.3093 EUR per kilometer. This amount applies from 1 July 2008 to 30 June 2009.

Precision on VAT exemption for the management of the OFP

Since 1 January 2007, management services for organizations for financing pensions (OFP) are exempt from VAT. This exemption relates to the management of the portfolio as well as to the management of the OFP itself. Until now, uncertainties remained regarding the interpretation of the notion of “management” for the application of the VAT exemption.

New developments concerning remuneration and pensions

On 16 June 2008, the Programme Act and the Act containing various provisions were published in the Belgian State Gazette. These two acts modify several legal provisions, namely in the following areas.

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Increasing powers for the Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work

In the Belgian Gazette on 16 May an Act was published increasing significantly the powers of the Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work (hereinafter the Committee) in companies without a Works Council. Because of this publication, the provisions as explained in our Newsflash of 5 March 2008 enter into force.

Our website: www.claeysengels.be

Contact information: newsflash@claeysengels.be

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Time credit: the Court has examined the basis of the calculation of the indemnity in lieu of notice

In its decisions of 13 March and 8 May 2008, the Constitutional Court confirmed the interpretation of the Supreme Court (end 2006) on the provisions concerning the basis for the calculation of an indemnity in lieu of notice paid to an employee benefitting from time credit (working time reduction).

Our website: www.claeysengels.be

Contact information: newsflash@claeysengels.be

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Mobile phone and blackberry: no lump sum valuation method for private use

Putting a mobile phone or a blackberry at the disposal of an employee or a director for his/her private use, constitutes for such individuals a taxable benefit in kind.

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Reimbursement of car expenses: limited deduction based on the CO2 emission level

The extent to which car expenses are tax deductible for a company depends on the CO2 emission level of the car: the former tax deduction percentage of 75 % has been increased or reduced according to how polluting the car is (going from 60 % up to 90 %). The fuel costs remain 100 % deductible.

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2008 Social Elections: we are almost there but some tasks remain to be done after the election day

Once the voting on election day (day Y) is finished, some important dates should be kept in mind before the 2008 social elections can finally be considered as being over.

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Concluding an agreement on the duration of the notice period prior to dismissal: a possibility?

In a recently published court decision of 7 April 2008, the Belgian Supreme Court spectacularly modifies its case law with respect to agreements on notice periods.

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Reimbursements: new allowances for employees travelling abroad

During business trips abroad, employees and company directors often have numerous expenses for which it is not always possible to have relevant documents allowing a refund. Both the tax and the social security authorities accept the reimbursement on a lump sum basis as long as it is “reasonable”.

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The “CO² tax” entirely deductible !

As you know, since 1 January 2005, company cars are subject to a solidarity contribution, better known as the “CO² tax”. This system of social contribution which is linear and fixed, is based on the CO² emission level of the vehicle.

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Social elections 2008: Final steps before election day!

Election day (day “Y”) is looming! But a few important steps still remain to be taken.

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For more information please visit our website www.claeysengels.be       

Seniority premium: fiscal treatment now mirrors social

In a recent Circular dated 12 March 2008, the Belgian tax authorities confirmed that they have aligned their position with that of the social security authorities with regard to how seniority premiums are to be treated tax wise.

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For more information please visit our website www.claeysengels.be       

Additional information to be provided to the prevention advisor and to employees

Since 13 March 2008 employers must inform the prevention advisor - company doctor about every instance of incapacity for work of an employee that lasts for a period of four or more weeks. Moreover, employers must inform the incapacitated employee about his right to have a meeting with the prevention advisor - company doctor prior to resuming work.

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Travel costs in Belgium : updated non-taxable amounts

When a worker travels within Belgium for work, the employer can opt to grant fixed compensation to cover the expenses incurred.

Social elections 2008: the candidate lists are coming…!

At the latest on day X + 35 (depending on day Y, between 11 and 24 March), candidate lists can be introduced at every employer where social elections are being held. Any candidate list introduced after this date will be irregular. To verify whether the candidate lists are introduced on time, one must take into account the date of dispatch of the candidate lists if sent by post or the date on which they were submitted to the employer.

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Information and consultation of workers in a company with less than 100 workers

The social partners have agreed on a draft of a collective bargaining agreement to amend the current collective bargaining agreement n° 9, as well as on a bill to complete the transposition of the European Directive on “information and consultation”.

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Changes in the social balance sheet as from 1 December 2008

According to the provisions of the two Royal Decrees published last Tuesday in the Belgian Gazette, as from 1 December 2008 professional training courses will have to be mentioned in every company’s social balance sheet. From the same date, the actions taken to promote employment will no longer have to be indicated on such balance sheet.

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Circular on the annual accounts and reporting obligations of IORPs

On 21 February 2008, the Banking, Finance and Insurance Commission (BFIC) published its circular to institutions for occupational retirement provision (IORPs) concerning the annual financial statements, statistics and accompanying documents for the financial year ending in 2007 in which it lays down the reporting regulations for the financial year ending in 2007.

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Company Car : «40 days» rule applies to every employee

In our newsflash of 31 December 2007, we mentioned that the Belgian Tax Authorities consider an individual’s « fixed workplace » as the place where that individual is present for at least 40 days during a taxable period. As explained, this definition is important in order to determine the minimum number of kilometers for the evaluation of the benefit in kind resulting from the private use of a company car.

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Company cars: new amounts for calculating the benefit in kind

The new amounts for determining the value of the benefit in kind of a company car were published in the Belgian Gazette of 14 February 2008.

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Legal interest rate fixed at 7% per year

Sinds 1 januari 2008 is de wettelijke interestvoet verhoogd van 6 naar 7%.  Dit geldt zowel voor de wettelijke als de gerechtelijke intresten.

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Social elections 2008: Day X (between 5 and 18 February)

At day X, 90 days before the elections (day Y), the Works Council, the Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work or, if such bodies do not exist yet, the employer, must inform the workers about several elements.
 

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The new convention between Belgium and the USA for the avoidance of double taxation has entered into

The new double tax treaty between Belgium and the USA has been published in the Belgian Official Gazette of 9 January 2008. This new  convention modifies several important provisions for individual taxpayers.

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