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Overview of the latest employment news

Retailer given administrative (GDPR) fine for requiring electronic ID for loyalty card provision

7 October 2019

The Data Protection Authority (DPA) recently imposed an administrative fine of EUR 10,000 on a retailer who, for the sole purpose of producing a loyalty card, requires the reading of customers’ electronic identity card (eID). The electronic identity card contains a large amount of information regarding its holder. The use of this information, without the customer’s valid consent, is considered disproportionate to the service offered in return.

Time measurement system is mandatory says CJEU - What is the impact for Belgium?

17 May 2019

In its 14 May 2019 judgment (C-55/18), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that “in order to ensure the effectiveness of the rights provided for in Directive 2003/88 and of the fundamental right enshrined in Article 31(2) of the Charter, a Member State must require employers to set up an objective, reliable and accessible system enabling the duration of time worked each day by each worker to be measured.”

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Fifteen new NWC-CBAs and 2019-2020 wage norm have been legislated

2 May 2019

On 23 April 2019, the National Works Council (NWC) published fifteen new CBAs in execution of the Inter industrial Agreement 2019-2020.

Furthermore, the Government also legislated the wage norm for the 2019-2020 period at 1.1%, in accordance with the social partners’ agreement.

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Social elections 2020: Did you start counting numbers?

29 March 2019

On 13 March 2019, the Committee on Social Affairs approved the draft bill on social elections.

The draft, which will hopefully be adopted and published in the near future, provides some important changes for companies’ practices.

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The mobility budget has (finally) entered into force!

29 March 2019

On 28 February 2019, after a long legislative process, the Belgian federal parliament had finally adopted the ‘Mobility Budget’ for a 1 March 2019 entry into force.

On 29 March 2019, the Law of 17 March 2019 on the introduction of the mobility budget has been published in the Belgian Official Journal, which means that in principle, the mobility budget is effectively available for companies to introduce.

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Subcontracting personal data processing: does GDPR require an agreement?

22 March 2019

Since GDPR’s entry into force, many companies have asked their business partners (clients, suppliers, subcontractors) to enter into a data processing agreement with respect to personal data.

GDPR requires every controller (the employer is almost always a controller) to conclude a specific data processing agreement with all of its processors (i.e. entities that process personal data on behalf and under instructions of the controller).

While this obligation does exist under GDPR, it does not imply that such an agreement must necessarily be concluded with all business partners to whom personal data are transmitted.

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2019 SIOD-Action Plan on social fraud prevention: Flash social audits and sector-specific audits

1 March 2019

The fight against social fraud and social dumping remains a priority for the federal government in 2019. The SIOD (Social Intelligence and Investigation Service) has published its Action Plan on ‘social fraud prevention’ for 2019.

The Action Plan was drawn up in consultation with the social inspectorates, labour auditors, the police, the social partners and the government. It comprises 67 concrete actions at national and international level that are collectively intended to ensure a strengthened and more coordinated approach to social fraud and social dumping.

In 2018, the focus was on major social dumping cases in the construction and transport sectors, the problem of social fraud and crime in Belgium’s major cities, as well as benefit fraud. The proceeds of the efforts made in 2018 are estimated at EUR 275 million.

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Wage norm 2019-2020: trade unions withdraw from the negotiations - What now?

12 February 2019

A national strike organised by all trade unions shall take place in Belgium tomorrow, 13 February 2019. Trade unions withdrew from inter-professional negotiations where the social partners aimed to reach an agreement on a salary increase for the next two years. The trade unions disagree with the maximum salary margin of 0.8% determined by the Central Economic Council (CEC).

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Collective dismissal 2018: the numbers

8 February 2019

Each quarter, the Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue publishes statistics regarding collective dismissals in Belgium. They recently announced the numbers for 2018. In this newsflash, we highlight the most striking data and already look ahead to 2019.

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Profit premium plan: what will 2019 bring?

25 January 2019

The profit premium plan was introduced by the Program law of 25 December 2017. This measure enables a company to distribute a portion of its profits (maximum 30% of the total gross payroll cost for the last closed accounting year) to its employees, doing so within a favourable tax set-up.

The profit premium amount is either:

  • An identical amount for all employees, or an identical percentage of their salary (“the identical profit premium”); or
  • A different amount for all employees, determined according to a distribution index based on objective criteria (“the categorised profit premium”).

The law of 14 December 2018, which contains various provisions on employment, clarifies some aspects of the profit premium plan applicable since 1 January 2019.

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Risk of increased dismissal costs as of 2019?

18 January 2019

Dismissal package: two-thirds notice and one-third employability measures 

The Act of 26 December 2013, which removed the differences between blue-collar and white-collar workers regarding notice periods and the so-called “waiting day” (carenzdag / jour de carence), provided an obligation to increase the employability of dismissed employees with a notice period or indemnity, in lieu of notice of at least 30 weeks. 

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CBA no. 90 bonus: new applicable templates as of 1 January 2019

20 December 2018

On 1 January 2019, the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) no. 90/3 will enter into force. This CBA modifies CBA no. 90 regarding the non-recurring results linked benefits on several points, by introducing inter alia new templates of the deed of accession and CBA and laying the foundation for future e-filing.

National strike in Belgium: occasional telework is an option for employees that aim to work

13 December 2018

The joint trade union front announced a national strike for Friday 14 December 2018. Since strikes often bring blockades and traffic problems, employees that aim to work on such days encounter difficulties in reaching their workplace.

Employees that aim to work, yet cannot reach their workplace due to a strike, are only entitled to guaranteed daily salary if they (i) made reasonable efforts to reach their workplace and (ii) the strike was unforeseeable.

Since the strike of 14 December 2018 is a foreseeable one, a possible solution could be occasional telework. Occasional telework allows employees, who can fully operate through information technology equipment, to work remotely from home or another location of their choice while maintaining the same working conditions, workload and performance standards.

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Special tax and social security treatment for presents under the employer’s Christmas tree

7 December 2018

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” for people who like (giving and receiving) presents. St. Nicholas is busy rewarding good children with presents, while Christmas and New Year are fast approaching.

Within the context of the festive season, some employers like to reward (the children of) their employees with a present. Such presents can be added gifts for both employer and employee, as they are exempt from social security contributions and fully tax deductible under certain conditions.

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What to do when there is a personal data breach

30 November 2018

Recent media coverage indicates that more than 27,000 personal data breaches have been notified to European Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) since the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) entered into force six months ago. Belgium accounts for 300 of these breaches.

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Cash or warrants? Have your employees already made their choice?

23 November 2018

Employees who can choose to receive their variable salary either in cash or in warrants, should express their choice before the end of the bonus year. If not, warrants could be considered as salary for social security purposes.

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When may (or should) employees transfer unused vacation days or compensatory rest to the following year?

16 November 2018

At the end of the year, employers frequently come across employees who did not use their allocated vacation days and compensatory rest.

While some employers allow a (limited) transfer, others do not. What is legally possible?

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Year-end promotions and salary increases: effects of indexation should not be overlooked

9 November 2018

The end of the year is often a period when companies take stock and reflect on the previous months. Therefore, closing the year in many companies involves decisions on promotions, merit increases, bonuses, etc.

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A strike, what to do?

1 November 2018

When googling the word “strike”, you get 494.000.000 hits. All who read the newspapers these past days, weeks, even months or years, knows that strikes are part of the daily news. This is mostly due to the large impact that strikes may have on companies as well as on suppliers and customers who are not involved in the social conflict. We therefore briefly explain the basic rights and obligations.

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Constitutional Court confirms the validity of termination clauses entered into with higher-earning white-collar employees before 1 January 2014

26 October 2018

The Constitutional Court examined a question regarding valid agreements on notice periods (termination clauses) concluded before 1 January 2014 with higher-earning white-collar employees. The court’s assessment considered the Unified Employment Status Act (Act of 26 December 2013), which introduced a unified status for blue-collar and white-collar employees regarding notice periods, the ‘waiting day’ (carensdag / jour de carence) and accompanying measures.

In an 18 October 2018 judgment (140/2018), the Constitutional Court gave the green light for such termination clauses and finally clarified a point of endless controversy.

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