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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

 

Legal Developments Worldwide

Articles contributed by Claeys & Engels law firm

View the listing for Claeys & Engels law firm

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.

Read more 

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.

Read more 

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.

Read more 

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”.

Read more 

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.

Read more  

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.

Read more 

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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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.

Read more 

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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Home office expenses - New flat-rate indemnity

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

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In its new "Administrative instructions 2015/2", the NSSO has now set the maximum indemnity for home office expenses at 119,61 EUR per month.

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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Legal interest rate for 2015 fixed at 2.50% per year

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

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Since 1 January 2015 the legal interest rate decreased from 2.75% to 2.50%. In fiscal matters and in matters involving the National Office for Social Security (NOSS) the rate remains 7% for now.

Read more 

 

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.

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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.

Read more 

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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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.

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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.

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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"/"PrĂ©avis 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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.