European Union: Brussels HR Law Focus Newsletter No.1 2015

Last Updated: 5 February 2015
Article by Stefan Nerinckx

"HR Law Focus" newsletters are issued whenever we judge that new legislation or case law might be of importance to your business.

Non-EU employers now more exposed to employment litigation

In an international mobility scenario involving cross-border employment in one or more states, it is probable that at least some of the legislation of the state where the employee works (even if only temporarily) will apply to the employment relationship (these are called mandatory (overriding) rules). This is so even if the employer has no presence in that state and despite any choice of law made by the parties (in this regard, we refer to our numerous previous contributions on this subject: you can find them on our website or we will be happy to share them with you again on request).

However, previously, when it came to appointing jurisdiction (a competent court), the relevant EU Regulation (Brussels I) only applied where the defendant (regardless of nationality) was domiciled in a Member State. Thus, if an employee wanted to sue their employer in the EU, the employer had to have its registered office or at least a place of business in a Member State. That said, EU Directive 96/71 provided that employees could claim in the Member State where the worker was or had been posted, though the directive also only applied to undertakings established in a Member State.

Where the employer had no presence in a Member State, the employee could only sue in the state where the employer was established. Now, since 10 January 2015, companies with no EU presence but with staff working in the EU can be sued by employees under employment litigation in any EU Member State, even if the employer has no branch, agency or other establishment in the EU (based on the Brussels I recast Regulation (Regulation (EU) 1215/2012), which replaces the Brussels I Regulation (Regulation (EU) 44/2001)). For example, employees working for a US-based company that has no EU presence (i.e. no place of business in the EU) have been able, from 10 January 2015, to litigate in the EU, regardless of any (often US) jurisdiction clause and despite the fact that their employer has no EU presence.

An employer not domiciled and not having any establishment in a Member State may now be sued in a court of the Member State where, or from where, the employee habitually carries out their work.

Not only does this mean that an employer foreign to the EU has to defend itself against legal action by its employees before the courts of the EU; it should also be noted that the (EU) rules on determining applicable law provide for the competent court to apply its national law's mandatory overriding rules.

Another consequence of the new Brussels I recast Regulation relates to aspects of simultaneous employment: disputes against multiple employer defendants in different Member States can now be brought before a court in just one Member State (provided that there is a close connection; in practice an employee will sue their employer in the country where they habitually work).


  • Employers not established in the EU need to be aware of this additional litigation route that is available to employees working in the EU.
  • When drafting an employment contract, carefully analyse what the governing law will be and act/implement the rules according to the mandatory (overriding) provisions.
  • Fix the competent court in the contract before any dispute arises (albeit these jurisdiction clauses are of limited validity, i.e. only if the employee chooses to rely on them).

New salary amounts for immigration purposes


From 1 January 2015, the applicable annual remuneration thresholds for various employment law purposes are:

  • €33,203 (legal base amount: €16,100; 2014 amount: €32,886) – non-competition and training clauses.
  • €66,406 (legal base amount: €32,200; 2014 amount: €65,771) – non-competition, arbitration clauses, type B work permit for managerial staff.

These amounts also apply to existing employment contract clauses. If salary conditions are not complied with, the clause will be null and void, i.e. non-enforceable by the employer.

Amounts of annual salary for immigration purposes – highly skilled and managerial positions

From 1 January 2015, companies submitting new and renewal type B work permit applications must confirm that non-EEA and Croatian national workers will be paid at least the equivalent of the following annual salary: Highly skilled foreign workers must earn a minimum annual gross salary of €39,802.

  • Managerial and executive-level positions must earn a minimum annual gross salary of €66,406.
  • To apply for a blue card, employees have to earn a minimum annual gross salary of €51,466.

Definition of annual salary

The definition of annual salary used by the regional authorities depends on the international mobility scenario. For instance, it differs depending on whether the employee has a local contract (signed between the employee and an employer established in Belgium) or an assignment contract (seconded by a foreign entity as employer to an entity established in Belgium). The following definitions of 'annual salary' apply in these two scenarios:

  • For a local contract with an entity established in Belgium for an employee working in Belgium: annual gross salary, social security and taxes included.
  • For an assignment/secondment: annual gross salary subject to taxes (i.e. taxable annual gross salary).

If the thresholds are not complied with, the work permit may be withdrawn by the authorities or the employer will have to rectify the salary situation. In practice, renewal of a work permit will be refused if the salary thresholds have not been complied with for the prior period.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.