The employment contract of each individual is their starting point – and vitally important to get right. We offer advice on terms and conditions and on any unusual or tricky areas, such as non-competition clauses. The better the employment relationship is set up, the better the chances it will continue and thrive.
Labour law defines your rights and obligations as workers and employers.
EU labour law covers 2 main areas:
working conditions – working hours, part-time & fixed-term work, posting of workers,
informing & consulting workers about collective redundancies, transfers of companies, etc.
Whenever a dispute before a national court raises a question of how to interpret an EU directive, the court can refer the issue to the Court of Justice of the EU. The European Court then gives the national court the answers it needs to resolve the dispute.
The European Commission & labour law. The Commission checks that EU directives are incorporated into national law and ensures through systematic monitoring that the rules are correctly implemented. When the Commission considers that an EU country has not incorporated a directive into national law correctly, it may decide to start infringement proceedings. In this way, it ensures that all the rights set out in the directives are available in national law. However, the Commission cannot procure redress to individual citizens (i.e. compensate damages or set a situation right) – that is up to the competent national authorities.
Labour law (also known as labor law or employment law) mediates the relationship between workers, employing entities, trade unions and the government. Collective labour law relates to the tripartite relationship between employee, employer and union. Individual labour law concerns employees’ rights at work and through the contract for work. Employment standards are social norms (in some cases also technical standards) for the minimum socially acceptable conditions under which employees or contractors are allowed to work. Government agencies (such as the former US Employment Standards Administration) enforce labour law (legislative, regulatory, or judicial).
Once you have found a job, there can be a probationary period of up to two weeks for blue-collar workers, and anywhere between one and six months for white-collar workers if the annual wage does not exceed around EUR 36–37,000. White-collar employees earning more than this may have a trial period of up to 12 months. During this period, either side can terminate the employment within seven days’ notice.
The average working week is 38 hours, although longer working hours are common, particularly in international institutions. Although Belgian labour law contains a general prohibition against overtime, there are exceptions where overtime regulations do not apply; you may not always receive time off in lieu or compensation for working overtime, although in most cases compensation should legally apply.
In Belgium, you must work for one year before any holiday entitlement is paid. It is then calculated on the basis of how many months you were in the job during the previous calendar year. If you worked a full calendar year, you are then entitled to a minimum of 20 days. In addition, there are 10 legal holidays in Belgium, many of them religious days, plus regional holidays.
Employment Law is a branch of law which is subject to constant changes and therefore requires fast professional advice. Thanks to the firm’s years of experience in this legal domain, we are able to help you quickly and efficiently within the legal domain of Individual Employment Law.
Individual Employment Law deals with the relationship between the employer and the employee. We provide advice and support for both employees and employers in the context of legal settlement of the following matters within the area of individual labour relations:
- employment agreements
- dismissal/resignation of employees
- employee recruitment
- social criminal law
Individual labour law and collective labour relations are the department’s main day-to-day focus, and it has extensive expertise in the international aspects of these two complementary fields as well. For more than 30 years, this department has been handling the restructuring of companies, whether through conventional transfer or otherwise (i.e. transfers, mergers, divisions and collective layoffs). This expertise also extends to assistance with social security regulation matters such as commercial procedures of collective regulation and company closures, as well as the occasional bankruptcy of major economic groups.
As for individual law, whether drafting an employment contract, executing or terminating it, we provide counsel, issue notices of law suits and negotiate agreements for our clients or defend them in legal proceedings (civil or criminal) or even in arbitration and mediation proceedings.
In this field of law, where the regulations are always being modified, we feel that it is also important to offer companies and groups a legal monitoring service, and even a social security regulation audit service to help them adapt their human resources policies and update and optimise their legal instruments (e.g. special clauses in employment contracts, salary optimisation, labour regulations, collective labour agreements, internal labour organisation regulations, visits from external occupational health and safety services).