New Belgian Labor And Employment Laws On Work-Life Balance And Transparent And Predictable Working Conditions In Force As Of Today

Published date11 November 2022
Subject MatterEmployment and HR, Contract of Employment
Law FirmCrowell & Moring
AuthorMr Emmanuel Plasschaert, Evelien Jamaels and Gloria Saïdi

By laws of October 7, 2022 Belgium finally transposed the European directive on transparent and predictable working conditions (Directive (EU) 2019/1152), and partially transposed the European directive on work-life balance (Directive (EU) 2019/1158). Here is an overview of some of the most important changes in Belgian law.

Measures to promote work-life balance

New type of leave for carers:

  • Employees may now take up to five days off a year in order to care for a seriously ill family member. These days are to be deducted from the employee's entitlement to unpaid leave for compelling reasons (10 days per year). This leave is, in principle unpaid (no cost for the employer). Any employee taking such leave is protected against termination of employment.

Better protection for employees dismissed for benefiting from or being about to benefit from thematic leave (such as parental leave):

  • Employees now benefit from "upstream" protection i.e., they are protected from the moment they submit their application until one month after the requested effective date During this period, the employee can only be dismissed for a reason not related to the request for time credit or thematic leave.
  • In case of dismissal outside the protection period, i.e., more than a month after the requested start or more than three months after the end of the time credit or thematic leave, the employee is protected against dismissal if the preparatory acts for the dismissal were taken by the employer during the protection period.
  • The burden of proof regarding the reason for the dismissal falls on the employer. Also, at the employee's request, the employer must justify the dismissal in writing.

More difficult to refuse or postpone parental leave.

Obligation to inform employees about the "essential aspects of the employment relationship"

Employers must inform their employees about the "essential aspects of the employment relationship." This obligation applies to new employees, and to existing employees who specifically ask for this information.

The "essential aspects" cover e.g., the identity of the parties, the employee's position, the place of work, etc., as well as collective information such as the length of annual vacations, notice periods, and training rights.

This information may be provided in any written form. However, depending on the nature of the information (individual/collective), the employment contract and the Work Rules seem to be the most obvious vehicles.


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