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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, member of Ius Laboris

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Discrimination on the basis of religion? A new European decision

July 2017 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

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

March 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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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Tax shift

February 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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

February 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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...

February 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

February 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

February 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

February 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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

January 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

January 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

January 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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?

January 2016 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

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

October 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

October 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

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

October 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

October 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

September 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

September 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

September 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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>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

September 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

September 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

July 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

July 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

July 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

 

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

July 2015 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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

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

October 2014 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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

November 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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?

November 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

November 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

October 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

October 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

September 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

September 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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!

September 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

September 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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

di Rupo’s recovery measures

August 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

August 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

August 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

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

July 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

July 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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(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

July 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

July 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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According to the Court of Appeal of LiĂšge, 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

July 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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)...

July 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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...

June 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

June 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

June 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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...

June 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

June 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

May 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

May 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

April 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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...

April 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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!

April 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

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

April 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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?

April 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

April 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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
!

March 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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...

February 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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)

February 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

Guidelines of the European Commission following the Test-Achats case

February 2012 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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The European Commission has confirmed that second pillar pension schemes may continue to work with gender-based mortality tables. The Commission also clarifies for which "new" individual life insurance contracts unisex premiums and benefits will be mandatory.

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

February 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

February 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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'

February 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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)

February 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

January 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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!

January 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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)

January 2012 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

Start of the social elections procedure on day X-60

December 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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On day X-60 at the latest (i.e. between 9 and the 22 December), employers must begin the social elections procedure by communicating a range of information. 

Towards a new dismissal regime

December 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

December 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

Contesting the candidates is only possible during the social elections procedure

December 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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The employer has the possibility to contest the candidate lists in the event that a candidate does not comply with the conditions for eligibility. The Supreme Court recently confirmed that this is only possible within the strict terms provided in the social elections procedure.

New salary thresholds for white-collar workers

December 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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"...

December 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

Supplementary company schemes on working incapacity benefits

November 2011 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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To make sure that the employer contributions remain tax-deductible as professional expenses, the supplementary company schemes on working incapacity benefits should no later than on 30 September 2012 explicitly mention that such schemes are aimed at compensating a loss of income.

Meal vouchers - Eco vouchers

November 2011 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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Since 1 October 2011, the National Social Security Office accepts the possibility to convert meal vouchers into eco vouchers and vice versa.

Social Elections - Is your company already registered?

November 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

November 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

November 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

Conditions for family reunification have been changed

November 2011 - Crime. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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Effective 22 September 2011 some new rules for family reunification apply. This will have consequences for family members who are non-EEA nationals (European Economic Area) accompanying a non-EEA employee to Belgium.

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

November 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

November 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

August 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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'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

August 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

2012 Social Elections What’s new?

August 2011 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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With a certain sense of urgency, the Belgian Government has prepared three bills relating to the 2012 social elections. On 14 July 2011 these were passed by the federal parliament. Al-though the publication thereof in the Belgian Official Journal is still pending, we would already like to inform you now about the most important and new aspects.

New tax exemption for severance pay

August 2011 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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The Belgian Official Gazette has published today the Act based on which the remuneration received by employees during their notice period will be exempt from tax up to an amount of 425 EUR (not indexed). As from 1 January 2014, the exempt amount will be doubled. The same exemption applies when the employee receives a severance pay.

Employment and Social Security Criminal Code enters into force

August 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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...

July 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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'

July 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

June 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

June 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

June 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

June 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

June 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

June 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

June 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

June 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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

Protected employees and the 2012 Social Elections

June 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

May 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

April 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

April 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.  

 

Tax status of French frontier workers employed in Belgium: new circular letter

April 2011 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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The double taxation agreement between Belgium and France foresees a special tax regime for salaries of residents of the French frontier zone who are employed in the Belgian frontier zone.

 

New surveillance model for the financial sector

April 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

April 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

March 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

March 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

 

National Labour Council proposes dates

March 2011 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

Intellectual property rights of an employee

March 2011 - Finance. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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In a judgment of 14 January 2011, the Labour Court of Appeals of Brussels defined more precisely the rules concerning intellectual property rights of an employee regarding a patent (invention), and rejected a claim for compensation of an employee.

Court of Justice deems the use of gender as a risk factor...

March 2011 - Finance. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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

Social Elections 2012: National Labour Council proposes dates

March 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

 

Intellectual property rights of an employee

March 2011 - Intellectual Property. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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In a judgment of 14 January 2011, the Labour Court of Appeals of Brussels defined more precisely the rules concerning intellectual property rights of an employee regarding a patent (invention), and rejected a claim for compensation of an employee.

 

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

March 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

March 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

 

Europese sociale zekerheidsregels Verordening (EG) 883/2004:

February 2011 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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nu ook van toepassing op onderdanen derde landen

Legal interest rate fixed at 3,75% per year

February 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

February 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

January 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

January 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

January 2011 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

December 2010 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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:

December 2010 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

December 2010 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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!

December 2010 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

December 2010 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

December 2010 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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:

December 2010 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

December 2010 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

Immigration: European Visa Code entered into force on 5 April

April 2010 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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?

November 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

New European social security regulations as of 1 May 2010

November 2009 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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On 30 October 2009, the implementing regulation of Regulation (EC) No. 883/2004, that will replace Regulation (EEC) No. 1408/71, was published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

Severance pay in the event of part-time parental leave

November 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

November 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

Holiday Pay on holiday pay? The "snowball" effect confirmed by the Supreme Court

November 2009 - Corporate & Commercial. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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On 29 June 2009, the Supreme Court issued an important judgment concerning holiday pay of employees whose remuneration is (partially) variable. The question was the following: does the single holiday pay on the variable remuneration of the employee and which is paid during the year X, have to be taken into account in the basis of calculation of the holiday pay of the year X + 1?

Revision of the mileage allowance

September 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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”?

September 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

September 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

September 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

September 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

July 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

June 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

June 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

May 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

May 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

May 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

May 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

May 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

May 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

May 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

April 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

April 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

Crossborder workers: The House of Representatives approves an Addendum to the Belgian-French Treaty

April 2009 - Tax & Private Client. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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On March 26 last, a draft act was adopted in the House of Representatives containing an Addendum to the double taxation treaty signed between Belgium and France on 12 December 2008. This Addendum replaced the amendment signed on 13 December 2007.

Flemish government approves the reinforced encouragement premium

April 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

March 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

Exercise of share options after dismissal

March 2009 - Litigation & Dispute Resolution. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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In a decision of 17 February 2009, the Labour Court of Brussels took a position on the validity of conditions precedent in stock option plans.

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

March 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

March 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

March 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

March 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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

The control powers of the social inspection are questioned

January 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

January 2009 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

December 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

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Revision of the mileage allowance

December 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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.

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The end of the "golden parachutes"?

December 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

November 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

October 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

October 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

October 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

October 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

October 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

September 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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

Management agreements of Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORPs)

September 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

September 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

September 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

August 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

August 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

August 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

July 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

July 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

July 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

July 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

July 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

June 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

June 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

June 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

May 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

May 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

May 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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?

May 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

April 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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 “COÂČ tax” entirely deductible !

April 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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

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Social elections 2008: Final steps before election day!

April 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

April 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

March 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

March 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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
!

March 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

March 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

March 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

March 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

March 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

February 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

February 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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)

February 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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

January 2008 - Employment. Legal Developments by Claeys & Engels, member of Ius Laboris.

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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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