EMCC European Monitoring Centre on Change

Belgium: Effects of non-compliance with dismissal regulations

Belgium
Phase: Management
Type:
Effects of non-compliance with dismissal regulations
Last modified: 10 December, 2021
Оригинални назив:

Loi du 13 février 1998 portant des dispositions en faveur de l'emploi dite loi Renault /Wet van 13 februari 1998 houdende bepalingen tot bevordering van de tewerkstelling (Wet Renault); Convention collective de travail no. 109 du 12 février 2014 concernant la motivation du licenciement/Collectieve arbeitsovereenkomst nr. 109 van 12 februari 2014 betreffende de motivering van het ontslag

Енглески назив:

Law of 13 February 1998 regarding measures in favour of employment (so-called 'Renault Law'); Collective Agreement n°109 of 12 February 2014 on justified dismissal

Article

Act of 13 February 1998: articles 62-70; Collective Agreement nr. 109 of 12 February 2014: article 7.

Description

The national legislation makes it possible to take action against employers who fail to comply with the information and consultation requirements of the employee representatives (works council in the first place) specified in collective dismissal regulations.

In case of collective redundancy (corresponding to cases where, within 60 days, there are at least 10 dismissals in companies with 20-99 employees, at least 10% in companies with 100-299 employees, and at least 30 dismissals in companies with 300 or more employees), if workers and/or unions' representatives consider that the employer fails to comply with such requirements (such as information and consultation procedures), objections can be launched to the regional employment office during the procedure or during the 30 days waiting period. During this period, the employer cannot proceed to any layoff. If no objections are expressed during this period, the law assumes that the employer has respected the necessary requirements and the employer is allowed to proceed with the collective dismissal at the end of it. However, if objections regarding the information and consultation procedure are expressed, the regional employment office may extend the waiting period up to 60 days in order to allow time to find a solution. If objections are more related to non-compliance with the collective dismissal regulations, they may be expressed to the labour court, extension may apply here as well. 

The main sanction that can be used involves halting the dismissal of workers or even reinstatement, although this happens very rarely, as in practice unions and employers most of the time quickly go to the next step of bargaining a 'social plan' to obtain (extra) severance payments. However, as soon as a complaint is made during the adequate period, the notice period is adjourned.

Collective Agreement nr. 109 formalises the right of an employee formalises the right of an employee to know the reasons that have led to his or her dismissal, and the right to a restitution in case of an apparent unreasonable dismissal. Failure of the employer to to fulfil the request of an employee to know the reasons of their dismissal is sanctioned with a fine equivalent to two weeks of pay of the employee involved (Art. 7). If a dismissal of an employee is deemed unreasonable, it is sanctioned with a fine equivalent to three to seventeen weeks of pay, depending on the degree of unreasonableness (Art. 9).

Comments

In the period from January 2021 to March 2021, 36 technical business units initiated an information and consultation procedure.

Between January 2020 to December 2020, 103 technical business units initiated an information and consultation procedure.

Between January and September 2019, 61 companies started an information and consultation procedure.

In 2018, 87 companies announced an intention to proceed with collective dismissals.

The period January to December 2017 was a historically low year both in terms of the number of layoffs announced (3829) and the number of proceedings initiated (62).

From January 2016 until December 2016, 118 companies started an information and consultation procedure, involving 12,042 employees. In total, 83 companies have finalised the procedure, as communicated by the Ministry of Labour. This ministry has to be notified when a  company starts such a procedure of collective dismissal. 

Cost covered by
  • Employer
Involved actors other than national government
  • Public employment service
  • Trade union
  • Works council
  • Other
Involvement others
Labour court
Thresholds
No, applicable in all circumstances
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