by Sofie Vitse and Ellen Verstraete
Recently, we informed you about the measures that have been taken in the context of the long-awaited ‘Arbeidsdeal’ - ‘Employment Deal’ - and more specifically, the direct effect that this new law has on employment flexibility in your business. The Employment Deal is, however, not the only new social legislation that was introduced at the end of 2022 that has an impact on the employer’s HR policy. On 10th November a new law about transparent and predictable working conditions came into force, which was the transposition of a European directive. This law stipulates that specific information of an individual or collective nature has to be provided. The law also provides for a number of new minimum requirements in respect of working conditions for employees. We would like to explain it to you.
As a consequence of the new legislation, the following individual information has to be provided to the employee no later than the first day of work by means of the individual contract of employment or another document:
Certain additional information also has to be provided before an employee’s departure if they are to be sent abroad.
The duty to provide information is only applicable to employment relationships that are entered into after the law takes effect, unless an employee expressly requests the information.
The employer also has to provide certain additional information within one month of the commencement of the employment relationship by supplying its work rules to the employee. This information includes a reference to the right to training offered by the employer, the periods in which an appeal against dismissal can be made, the employer-employee committee in which collective labour agreements are agreed and the social insurance institution to which social security contributions are made.
The legislation has also added protection for the employee to the rules against adverse treatment and dismissal.
As well as extending the duty of the employer to provide information, the law also introduces some new minimum requirements regarding working conditions. These include the obligation to offer training at no charge to the employee so that, for instance, none of the cost has to be repaid if the employee leaves the employer’s service, and you cannot, as an employer, forbid the employee from working for other employers outside his working hours, unless there are statutory exceptions. Too extreme exclusivity clauses cannot be demanded by the employer in the contract of employment either.
As a consequence of the transposition of the European directive in respect of the transparency and predictability of working conditions, a new national collective labour agreement, cao nr. 161, was entered into. In concrete terms, the new collective agreement gives employees with at least six months of service for the same employer the right to ask for a form of work with more predictable and certain working conditions. This means, for example, a permanent instead of a temporary, or a full-time instead of a part-time, employment contract or a part-time employment contract with more hours.
If you would like more information about the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Act (wet transparante en voorspelbare arbeidsvoorwaarden) and/or the rights introduced by the national collective employment agreement (cao) nr. 61, or any other questions for that matter, feel free to contact our Social Legal team. Among other things, they will be able to help you check employment contracts and work rules and whether they conform with the new legislation.
In our opinions, we rely on current legislation, interpretations and legal doctrine. This does not prevent the administration from disputing them or from changing existing interpretations.
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