Reform of the legislation on the statutory working
time: The Belgian government is proposing reform of the
law on statutory working time in favour of more flexible working.
The reforms still have to be passed by Parliament. The most
important aspects of the reform are:
The average working time to be
applied will no longer be calculated per quarter, but per year
("annualisation") – An employee will be allowed to
work a maximum of 9 hours per day and 45 hours per week, provided
that the annual working time is not exceeded.
A package of a maximum 100 hours of
voluntarily performed paid overtime. In principle, overtime work
entitles the employee to overtime pay and compensatory rest. Each
employee will be able to choose not to take compensatory rest for
an additional 100 hours of (paid) overtime work. An
individual's agreement will be needed.
A legal framework for sliding working
hours – At present, certain employers allow their employees
to work along "sliding working hours", a system whereby
employees can choose to start and end the working day within a
certain time slot (e.g. start between 8 and 10 a.m. and end between
4 and 6 p.m.). In future the sliding working hours system will have
to be inserted in the work rules or in a collective labour
More flexibility towards part-time
employment – It will no longer be required to insert all the
working schedules of the part-time employees in the work
There will be a new legal framework
for occasional home and telework.
If the reforms are passed they will need implemented on an
industrial sector and/or company level.
present: the reform has not yet been passed and several aspects
require action on industrial level. It is however recommended to
keep abreast of the current legal situation.
Re-integration (in the undertaking of their employer) of
employees who are incapacitated for work for a long
period: The re-integration of the employee can be
requested by the employee himself/herself, the treating physician,
the advisory physician of the mutual health organisation or the
employer (the latter only for employees who are on a sick leave for
at least 4 months). The company doctor must evaluate whether the
employee can return to work and can propose (temporarily or
permanently) customised or other work. The employer must draft an
individual re-integration plan in line with the findings of the
company doctor. The employee is not obliged to accept the plan.
Effective from January 1, 2017.
When the employee is re-integrated and performs customised or
other work, he/she remains entitled to the fringe benefits based on
the initial employment agreement, provided that no other agreement
was made between the employer and the employee. The initial
employment agreement is thus no longer suspended. If the employee
becomes unable to work during the performance of the customised
work, the employer is not obliged to pay a guaranteed income
Effective from January 1, 2017.
An employer wanting to terminate an employee who is absent for a
long time due to incapacity to work, will only be able to do so
after the termination of a re-integration programme.
Action required:Employers must
work out a (collective) re-integration policy on company level that
must be re-evaluated on a regular basis.
In addition, if an individual re-integration request is
made, the specified (individual) re-integration procedure must be
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.
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