Claeys & Engels > Brussels, Belgium > Firm Profile
Claeys & Engels Offices
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Claeys & Engels > The Legal 500 Rankings
Belgium > Employment Tier 1Working across six offices nationwide, Claeys & Engels' boutique employment law practice enjoys a stellar reputation among its formidable roster of blue-chip domestic and international clients. Best known for its work in the finance, food, transport, and manufacturing sectors, public sector mandates are, increasingly, a core focus for the group. The large team is jointly led by two partners: chairman Chris Engels, an expert in dismissal and European labour law; and Olivier Wouters , a specialist in reorganisations and collective bargaining who also serves as the firm’s managing partner. Inger Verhelst is recommended for her capabilities in individual and collective labour law issues, including discrimination cases, and often appears before the labour courts and European Court of Justice.
Chris Engels; Olivier Wouters
Other key lawyers:
‘The C&E team is highly professional and complementary: experts working very well together to combine expertise in advice that is looked at from different perspectives.’
‘The major difference with other legal firms I have worked with is the exceptional combination of technically correct and smart advice that is at the same time pragmatic and operational: no ivory tower approach, on the contrary.’
‘C&E’s main strength is the pairing of strong technical expertise with pragmatic advice. In particular: – Best in class for employment law – Talented people – Client minded and eager to learn about the client – Accessible, available & responsive – Very much solution oriented – Openness to new technology – Transparency in billing. In short, a truly modern law firm as it should be.’
‘I predominantly work with Chris Engels. Chris stands out for the depth of his experience and expertise whilst never losing sight of a sensible and workable solution for the client. You feel confident with his advice. A great pleasure to work with.’
‘They are very hands-on and practical.’
‘Claeys & Engels combines solid and very professional knowledge in labour law issues with a keen eye on how to approach this in day to day operational HR practice.’
‘Our collaboration with Olivier Wauters is excellent, his flexible approach and outstanding legal knowledge is combined with a practical and down to earth mind, that keeps track on the day to day HR practice.’
Claeys & Engels > Firm Profile
The firm: At Claeys & Engels, we offer a full range of legal services in all areas concerning human resources including tax law, data protection and supplementary pension schemes. We like to think that what sets us apart is how we partner with our clients and accomplish results that matter to our client’s business.
Each question is dealt with by a specialist team of lawyers experienced both in providing advice and in litigation.
In view of the growing internationalisation of the economy, Claeys & Engels is actively participating in a specialist international network.
We offer a personalized service in view of what our clients want. This can be a memo with legal references, a short confirmation by e-mail or a second opinion via phone.
With a large team of specialized HR lawyers in six different offices across Belgium, we are where you need us to be. And as a founding member of Ius Laboris, we offer HR law services for cross-border legal issues in all major jurisdictions.
|Chris Engelsemail@example.com||+32 2 761 47 12|
|Olivier Woutersfirstname.lastname@example.org||+32 2 761 46 24|
|Mr Bart Adriaens||Partner.||View Profile|
|Mr Luc Bihain||Partner.||View Profile|
|Mr Ward Bouciqué||Counsel||View Profile|
|Ms Isabelle De Somviele||Partner||View Profile|
|Mr Dieter Dejonghe||Partner||View Profile|
|Mr Chris Engels||Partner||View Profile|
|Mr Frédéric Henry||Counsel||View Profile|
|Mr Jean-Paul Lacomble||Partner||View Profile|
|Mr Henri-François Lenaerts||Partner||View Profile|
|Mr Patrick Maerten||Partner||View Profile|
|Ms Sophie Maes||Partner||View Profile|
|Ms Fabienne Raepsaet||Counsel||View Profile|
|Mr Nicholas Thoelen||Counsel||View Profile|
|Mr Jan Van Gysegem||Partner||View Profile|
|Mr Bart Vanschoebeke||Partner||View Profile|
|Mrs Inger Verhelst||Partner||View Profile|
|Mr Jean-Yves Verslype||Partner||View Profile|
|Ms Gaëlle Willems||Counsel||View Profile|
|Mr Olivier Wouters||Partner||View Profile|
Staff FiguresNumber of partners : 14 Number of lawyers : 70 Number of lawyers at the Brussels’ office : 48
LanguagesDutch English French German
OtherPartner : Bart Adriaens Partner : Luc Bihain Partner : Dieter Dejonghe Partner : Isabelle De Somviele Partner : Chris Engels Partner : Jean-Paul Lacomble Partner : Henri-François Lenaerts Partner : Patrick Maerten Partner : Sophie Maes Partner : Jan Van Gysegem Partner : Bart Vanschoebeke Partner : Inger Verhelst Partner : Jean-Yves Verslype Managing Partner : Olivier Wouters Counsel : Nicholas Thoelen Counsel : Fabienne Raepsaet Counsel : Ward Bouciqué Counsel : Frédéric Henry Counsel : Gaëlle Willems Counsel : Joris Beernaert Other offices : Antwerp Other offices : Ghent Other offices : Hasselt Other offices : Kortrijk Other offices : Liège
Posting of workers to Belgium: Notification of the liaison officer through the LIMOSA declaration5th October 2017
The Act of 11 December 2016 transposed the Enforcement Directive (2014/67/EC) into Belgian law. This act made some modifications to the Act of 5 March 2002 concerning the working, remuneration and employment conditions in case of posting of workers in Belgium and the compliance with it. One of the novelties was the obligation for a foreign employer to appoint a liaison officer (physical person) in Belgium to act as a contact person with the Belgian inspectorate. The Royal Decree of 14 September 2017 that was published yesterday in the Belgian State Gazette states that the liaison officer must be appointed through the LIMOSA declaration. The Royal Decree enters into force on 1 October 2017.
Court of Justice ruling regarding the habitual place of work in “Ryanair-case”22nd September 2017
In its ruling of this 14 September the European Court of Justice confirms its earlier case-law with regard to employees who simultaneously work in various Member States. These employees can bring proceedings before the courts of the place from where they perform the essential part of their duties for their employer. The national court must determine this place in concreto in the light of all relevant circumstances. For the cabin crew in the aviation industry, the ‘home base’ can therefore be a significant indicator, without being equated with it.
Discrimination on the basis of religion? A new European decision21st July 2017
The issue of discrimination based on religion continues to occupy the European courts.
In our newsflash of 14 March 2017 , we informed you that the Court of Justice had given its first ruling on discrimination based on religion. In a case involving a Belgian company, the Court of Justice had ruled that a neutrality policy may be constitutive of indirect discrimination, but acknowledged that it can be justified if it is the sole desire of the company to project a neutral image to third parties, which is a legitimate objective.
The Constitutional Court rekindles the debate on the necessity of a hearing prior to a dismissal in14th July 2017
The Constitutional Court rekindles the debate on the necessity of a hearing prior to a dismissal in the public sector
There is a long-standing controversy revolving around the question of whether a public-sector employer is obliged to conduct a hearing prior to the dismissal of a contractual worker. On 12 October 2015, the Supreme Court put an end to this controversy (see our newsflash of 6 November 2015 ). The Council of State followed the Supreme Court’s position. However, in a decision of 6 July 2017 (n°86/2017) the Constitutional Court has brought the discussion back to life.
The Code on the well-being of workers is published21st June 2017
The Code on well-being of workers, which coordinates the various texts concerning well-being in the workplace by grouping them in a single instrument, was published in the Belgian Official Gazette on 2 June 2017 and will enter into force on 12 June 2017. This will make it easier to find specific regulations concerning well-being of workers. It is useful to inform all the stakeholders, who play a role in the company policies on well-being of workers of this recent publication.
Binding effect of E101 certificate (current A1 form) reconfirmed by the Court of Justice31st May 2017
On 27 April, the Court of Justice of the European Union pronounced again on the binding effect of an E101 certificate (now A1 form). This binding effect is applicable, even if it is found by the competent institution or the courts of the host Member State that the conditions under which the worker concerned carries out his activities do not correspond to the conditions to be subject to the social security of the other Member State.
The deadline to conclude a departure agreement is fast approaching31st May 2017
The Act of 15 May 2014 relating to various provisions modified the concept of “departure” in the Act of 28 April 2003 relating to occupational pensions and the tax regime of these pensions and of certain occupational benefits regarding social security (“AOP”) and has introduced a definition of “multi-organizer pension schemes” (“MOPS”).
Stock options and management companies9th May 2017
Direct grant of stock options to the director of the management company (2)
It is confirmed, in a published ministerial circular, that stock options that are granted by a company directly to the director of a management company which performs services to such company fall within the scope of application of the Act of 26 March 1999, so that this grant can be qualified, for tax purposes, as a lump-sum benefit in kind. However, it is no longer possible to benefit from the halving of the tax valuation rates in order to valuate the taxable benefit!
Supreme Court pronounces on Article 30 AOP: a deficit must be covered, no matter the cause9th May 2017
The Supreme Court ruled in a judgment of 6 March 2017 that the organiser of a pension promise must cover deficits of the vested reserves, as well as deficits regarding the minimum guaranteed return, no matter the causes of the deficits.
Increase in the credit of additional hours for certain part-time employees13th April 2017
In line with earlier announcements in the framework of the Workable and Agile Work project of Secretary of Employment Kris Peeters, the legislator - in view of more flexibility for certain part-time employees - has increased the so-called “credit of additional hours”. An RD of 23 March 2017 (Belgian State Gazette of 5 April 2017) provides the necessary amendments to the RD of 25 June 1990 in this regard. Please also see our newsletter .
European Court of Justice rules for the first time on discrimination based on belief20th March 2017
The Court of Justice confirms a policy of neutrality can justify discrimination based on belief.
Legal interest rate for 2017 fixed at 2% per year17th February 2017
Since 1 January 2017 the legal interest rate decreased from 2.25% to 2%. In fiscal matters and in matters involving the National Office for Social Security (NOSS) the rate remains 7% for now.
Granting warrants to employees whose employment contracts have been terminated and to former employe1st February 2017
The Ruling Commission brings clarity
According to the Ruling Commission, improper use of a warrant plan could constitute simulation, barring the warrants from the scope of the Act of 26 March 1999 and resulting in the exemption of social security contributions being forfeited. This could in particular be the case when warrants have been given to a person that has received a notice of dismissal. The Ruling Commission clarifies its position in a ruling of 10 January 2017.
Collective bonus depending on results (“CBA 90”) – Maximum EUR 3,255 gross in 201723rd January 2017
For “CBA 90” bonuses to be paid in 2017, the maximum exempted amount is higher than last year since the indexed ceilings have been fixed at EUR 3,255 (social security ceiling) and at EUR 2,830 (fiscal ceiling).
Employees incapacitated for work – Re-integration and termination due to medical force majeure23rd January 2017
The long awaited law on various provisions regarding labour law in the context of incapacity for work was finally published, together with two royal decrees which entered into force on 1 December 2016. These regulations introduce the principle of a re-integration track within the company for employees temporarily or permanently incapacitated for work.
Student work limit to change on 1 January 2017 from 50 days to 475 hours per calendar year17th January 2017
As from 1 January 2017, the maximum period in which students can be employed as contingent workers at the beneficial solidarity contribution will amount to 475 hours instead of 50 days per calendar year.
New rules in case of secondment17th January 2017
Benefit in kind on private use of company cars – New CO2 emission benchmarks for 20173rd January 2017
The amount of the benefit in kind on the private use of a company car can be calculated applying a CO2 percentage to 6/7 of the catalogue value of the car. The CO2 emission benchmarks vary each year. The Royal Decree of 24 November 2016 indicates the CO2 emissions benchmark applicable for 2017.
The interest rate of the AOP guaranteed return remains at 1.75% for 201719th December 2016
Since the Act of 18 December 2015 entered into force, the interest rate of the legal minimum guaranteed return of the AOP has been variable. This interest rate is published every year by the FSMA on its website before 1 December. For 2017, the interest rate has just been published and remains at 1.75%, the same as for 2016.
The new salary thresholds for 201716th December 2016
The Federal Public Service Employment has modified the remuneration thresholds to be taken into account for the application of certain employment provisions for blue- and white-collar employees.
Stock options and management companies6th December 2016
Direct grant of stock options to the director of the management company
The tax authorities have just confirmed that stock options granted direct to the director of a management company, by the company for which the management services are performed, can fall within the scope of application of the Act of 26 March 1999 in order to benefit from the lump-sum valuation of the benefit in kind. Moreover, it could be possible, in some cases, to benefit from a halving of the tax valuation rate!
Fake self-employment: independent collaboration incompatible with disciplinary sanctions22nd November 2016
On 10 October 2016, the Supreme Court overruled a judgment of the Labour Court of Appeal of Antwerp. This judgment deemed that a security guard could perform his activities for a security company on a self-employed basis despite the company being able to apply disciplinary sanctions provided by the company’s work regulations. The Supreme Court has found this to be incompatible with a contract for self-employment.
INAMI and SOL contributions: Court of Justice raps Belgium over the knuckles16th November 2016
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in a judgment of 26 October 2016 that the withholding of the Belgian health and disability (HDI) contribution (3.55%) and solidarity (SOL) contribution (up to 2%) on pension benefits violates European rules when the pensioner at the time of the payment is covered by the social security legislation of another Member State of the European Economic Area (EEA). The judgment questions the current legislation and the practice of the Federal Pensions Service, which oblige pension providers to withhold the INAMI and SOL contributions, even when the recipient is covered by the social security legislation of another Member State.
Claeys & Engels launches www.gdprbelgium.be today3rd November 2016
The General Data Protection Regulation will be applicable as from 25 May 2018. Visit our website to find out what this means for your HR policy.
The Claeys & Engels data protection team is all set for the GDPR and is eager to assist you in making your company “GDPR-proof”.
To assist you during the preparations of the introduction of the new GDPR, we have developed the website http://www.gdprbelgium.be/. Whenever something new is worth mentioning, our website will be updated.
We hope this website will become your go-to GDPR support and provide all the help you need.
So, let the countdown to 25 May 2018 begin!