About us

Employment, pensions and benefits

Reputed for the quality of services and hands on approach

The Employment, Pension and Benefits team of Laga helps clients with all legal issues in connection with HR. The team consists of about 15 lawyers, focusing on different areas of expertise.

SERVICES

Contracts and policies

Well written contacts and policies setting out the principles agreed in detail are the best remedy against discussions and conflicts. We draw up all HR related contracts and policies, such as:

  • Local and international employment agreements
  • Collective bargaining agreements
  • Work regulations
  • Compensation and benefits polices
  • Company car policies
  • E-mail and internet policies
  • Code of business conduct
  • Telework agreement

Flexwork

Employees increasingly demand salary and employment conditions tailored to their individual needs. Therefore, companies need to provide flexible solutions if they want to attract and retain employees.  We help our clients elaborating a legally compliant HR strategy:

  • We examine whether and, to which extent, it is legally possible to introduce a flexible salary package (a cafetariaplan). In particular, we analyse whether the fixed salary, the end-of-year premium or bonuses could be (partially) replaced by other benefits (mobility package, variable incentives, devices, and so on).
  • We advise on the introduction of flexible working time regimes (flexible working time and telework).
  • We draw up all necessary policies and agreements.
  • We prepare and assist with the information session for the employees, the works councils or the Board of Directors.
  • We provide support with the budget monitoring and the calculation of the employer’s cost and resulting net amounts.

Pensions

We advise clients on statutory and supplementary pensions. We regularly advise on, amongst others:

  • discrimination issues,
  • modification of pension plans,
  • pension plans in the framework of a merger and acquisition (due diligence and harmonisation after the merger),
  • participation in industry schemes,
  • pensions in international employment situations,
  • harmonisation of supplementary pension rights blue and white collar workers,
  • bonus pension plans.

We advise several (pan-European) pension funds with the Banking and Finance team and intervene as compliance officer.

Reward

It is not easy to retain good staff, reason why it is very important to have competitive yet payable reward package in place for employees.  We advise on all possible rewarding options, including their tax and social security treatment (often in close collaboration with Deloitte):

  • Variable incentives: cash bonus, warrants, stock options, bonus pension plans
  • Mobility: company car, fuel card, cambio, public transport, bike, mobility allowances
  • Devices: mobile phone, smartphone, PC, tablet
  • Family benefits: ill child sitting, pension savings, day care tickets, double child allowances, vacation
  • Insurance: hospitalisation insurance, dental insurance, private accident insurance, time savings insurance

International employment

We assist with all aspects of various types of international employment thanks to our privileged collaboration with Deloitte. This means that we can render the following services:

  • drawing up of all employment documentation in case of a salary split or, a secondment to or from other countries (in and out EEA)), irrespective of whether the individual has the employee or self-employed status
  • completing all relevant formalities for the authorities: LIMOSA, A1-certificate, work permit, and other immigration formalities,
  • advice on applicable employment law and conditions;
  • advice on applicable social security regime and social status
  • prepare and file all necessary tax declarations and obtain the special tax status in Belgium.

Dispute resolution

Litigation, arbitration and mediation

Our client’s interest always comes first. As it is generally to the benefit of our client, we typically negotiate and find an amicable settlement. However, an out-of-court settlement is not always possible and sometimes procedures are simply unavoidable (when, for instance, dismissing an employees’ representative).  If so required, we will defend the client’s interests in court. We represent our clients in both Dutch and French files before any court in Belgium: whether it is before the Employment Courts, Criminal Courts or Administrative courts. If you need representation abroad, we can appeal to our colleagues of our international network.

Competition and know-how protection

Which employer has never been confronted with a valuable employee leaving for competition?  In such a situation, adequate restrictive covenants are often a valuable protection.  We assist our clients with all aspects hereof, including:

  • Drafting of non-compete clauses
  • Drafting of confidentiality clauses
  • Drafting of intellectual property transfer clauses
  • Drafting of non-solicitation clauses
  • Drafting of schooling clauses
  • Drafting of retention-driven remuneration policies

In addition, we also represent our clients in all disputes relating to the enforcement of such restrictive covenants, as well as litigation aimed at enforcing each employee’s general duty to refrain from unfair competition.

Privacy and data protection

Compliance with privacy and data protection laws can be of utmost importance in employment relations. Non-compliance could not only lead to criminal sanctions but it can also result in valuable evidence being set aside in Court proceedings.  

We advise and assist clients with all aspects of the privacy and protection of personal data of employees, including:

  • monitoring of IT devices and technologies used by employees
  • camera surveillance / CCTV
  • transfer of employee data to other group companies and service providers (processors), in Belgium and abroad
  • data security requirements
  • drafting of privacy notices to employees; and
  • notifications with the Belgian Privacy Commission

Public

We also assist several public entities with their diversified workforce: all kind of ranks and different legal statutes (public officers, employees). We can assist the public entity with, amongst others, the evaluation procedure, the disciplinary procedures and the termination of the collaboration with its employees and public officers, including court procedures.

Health and safety

We assist our clients on all legal aspects related to health and safety at work:

  • we advise on the role and competencies of the health and safety committee, the internal and external service for prevention and protection at work, the prevention counsel and the person of trust
  • we assist with drafting by-laws of the health and safety committee
  • we advise on all legal obligations in the domain of safety at work
  • we support clients in all proceedings if despite the safety measures a work accident occurs
  • we assist clients if an employee files a claim based on psycho-social risks at work
  • we advise on the appointment or replacement of the internal prevention counsel.

Industrial relations

We support our clients in their interaction with the consulting bodies and trade unions. Our involvement includes:

  • advice on set-up, role and competencies European Works Council, Works Council, Health & Safety Committee, Trade Union Delegation
  • drafting by-laws of the Works Council and the Health & Safety Committee,
  • negotiations with trade unions & drafting of collective bargaining agreements
  • organisation of the social elections and all correlating litigation
  • communication strategy towards consulting bodies
  • Reconciliation meetings at the joint committee

Business transformation and restructuring

We lead our clients through the whole process of any type of business transformation, such as mergers & acquisitions, insourcing & outsourcing of activities, simplification of legal structure of the group, closures and collective dismissals, the establishment of a shared service centre, and so on. Our assistance includes:

  • Development of a communication strategy towards employees, consulting bodies and stakeholders
  • Project planning and coordination
  • Development of a contingency plan to ensure continuation of service delivery
  • Harmonisation of salary and working conditions
  • Social due diligence to avoid any unpleasant surprises after purchase
  • Fulfilling of all necessary formalities, including application for social security certificates and compulsory notifications
  • Drafting of collective bargaining agreements,  addenda to employment agreements, letters to the authorities

We closely collaborate with our corporate law and commercial law specialists and take a multi-disciplinary approach with Deloitte to ensure the operation is looked at it from all angles (corporate tax, VAT, business strategy, customs and subsidies, transfer pricing, human capital, and so on).

Social audits and due diligence

We assist clients when confronted with a social audit by advising on communication towards the social inspectorate and risk mitigating measures for the past and future situation. 

We carry out social due diligences in the framework of a contemplated acquisition or simply following a client’s request to be assured that its policies and practices are compliant with social laws and regulations.

The mission of a social due diligence is:

  • to identify possible violations of Belgian employment and social security legislation and the Act on Supplementary Pensions, to estimate the potential impact of the infringement and indication of the measures that need to be taken to regularise the breach of law
  • to identify pending claims in court launched by (former) employees and the NSSO and estimate the financial exposure
  • to identify material risks of social unrest, well-being at work or serious lack of corporate governance with respect to internal policies protecting the companies’ economic interests (presence of confidentiality or non-compete provisions in material contracts) and all other HR related matters that may be relevant for the future HR management

Termination budget calculations

Important decisions involving dismissals are often driven by the need to implement a new strategy, but must also be sustainable from a cost perspective.  

As business-driven lawyers, we assist our clients in the assessment of the financial consequences of both individual and collective dismissals.  We calculate statutory and negotiated severance entitlements, and assess potentially unexpected termination costs that may be triggered due to the circumstances at hand (unfair dismissal, protection against dismissal, job stability, social plans, etc.).  This to ensure that each decision is made with full knowledge of its potential financial implications.

In-house trainings and client breakfast seminars

We offer tailor made, in-house trainings on all topics related to our expertise. Trainings can be either general or in depth, focused on one topic or multidisciplinary, but we always aim at sharing our practical experience and insights.

Each year we organise several breakfast seminars focused on recent legal developments, to which all of our clients are invited.

Did you find this useful?