FPS Employment, Labour And Social Dialogue Publishes Updated Collective Dismissal Forms

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Employers contemplating a collective dismissal should as of today take into account updated forms from the FPS WASO. Both the form for the announcement (= intention)...
Belgium Employment and HR
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Employers contemplating a collective dismissal should as of today take into account updated forms from the FPS WASO. Both the form for the announcement (= intention), and the form for the notification (= decision) of the collective dismissal have recently been updated.

What will change for employers?

The FPS Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue has recently updated the forms for collective dismissal. These changes are based on National Labour Council Recommendation No. 28.

Employers considering a collective dismissal will now have to indicate on the collective dismissal announcement form whether they are aware of Recommendation No. 28. Upon completion of the information and consultation phase, they will then be required to indicate on the collective dismissal notification form whether they have effectively complied with this recommendation.

What specifically does Recommendation No. 28 entail?

An employer is obliged to initiate timely information and consultation with employee representatives in case of (intention for) a collective dismissal. Recommendation No. 28, which was already adopted within the National Labour Council at the end of 2019, aims to qualitatively improve and also slightly broaden these discussions.

In this context, the National Labour Council recommends the following:

1) Setting up an indicative timetable and arrangements for information and consultation

The employer and the employee representatives should agree on an indicative calendar for the information and consultation procedure as well as its arrangements. The arrangements can relate to the planning and agenda of the meetings, determining the details for the timely transmission of questions and answers, guaranteeing the confidentiality of certain information, etc. The purpose of this is to increase the quality and efficiency of the discussions. Both the employer and employee representatives should commit to respecting the calendar and arrangements.

2) Measures related to employment

During the restructuring process, the employer and employee representatives should take measures to safeguard employment, promote return to work and consolidate the recovery of the company's activity in a sustainable manner. These may include, for example, internal redeployment, freezing new hires, reducing overtime, etc.

3) Information on the impact on temporary work

It is recommended that employee representatives be informed of the impact of the restructuring on temporary workers.

4) Identification of and information to co-contractors

The company should timely identify its co-contractors (e.g., (sub)contractors) with whom contractual obligations would be changed by the announced restructuring. In addition, it is recommended to provide these affected co-contractors with information about the intention to restructure as well as contact details. In this way, the potential impact can be further investigated.

5) Information on these co-contractors to the employee representatives

The company should inform employee representatives that it has communicated the announced restructuring as well as contact details to the identified/affected co-contractors.

Importance of this update

Although Recommendation No. 28 is not legally binding, the update of the forms does have consequences for the information and consultation procedure in the event of a collective dismissal. Employers will from now on be able to be checked by means of the forms whether they comply with Recommendation No. 28 of the National Labour Council and it is to be expected that also from the trade unions there will be an increased attention/demand to receive extra information, for example concerning the possible impact on subcontractors. At the same time, Recommendation No. 28 also provides a foothold for employers to make some good arrangements at the start about the information and consultation phase.

Point of attention

Employers in restructuring need to be aware of the recommendations from the National Labour Council and best take them into account when preparing an intention for collective dismissal and during the information and consultation phase.

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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