Belgium – Changes to special leave

New Belgian legislation introduces more flexibility into applications for parental leave, leave for palliative care and leave for medical assistance to a seriously sick member of the household or family. The Royal Decree of 5 May 2019 amending various provisions concerning special leave enters into force on 1 June 2019. This Royal Decree leaves in place existing arrangements concerning parental leave, leave for palliative care…

Belgium: Draft no-deal Brexit legislation

A draft Brexit Act has been submitted to Parliament to cover the worst short-term consequences of a no-deal Brexit. The Act would only enter into force if the UK leaves the EU without a deal and provided the UK reciprocates. It provides for a transitional period until 31 December 2020 during which: The residence rights of UK citizens residing in Belgium (electronic E(+) card) or…

Belgium: posted worker system declared compliant by European Court of Justice

The European Court of Justice has ruled that Belgian legislation cannot circumvent EU law by acting unilaterally against fraudulently acquired A1 declarations. Legislative action of that kind oversteps the limits of what Member States are allowed to do under EU law. On 11 July 2018, the Court of Justice ruled that Belgium has violated European rules by giving national judges, the National Social Security Office…

Belgium: The consequences of cancer can constitute a disability

In a judgment of 20 February 2018, the Brussels Labour Court decided that the consequences of cancer can constitute a disability for employment law purposes. This ruling has important implications for employers, as failing to adapt working conditions for employees with cancer can now be considered discrimination. Background The worker, employed as a full-time salesperson, had reported to her employer that she had been diagnosed…

Belgium: A ‘first aid’ guide to deal with data breaches

This article sets out the steps organisations should take in dealing with a breach of data privacy from an employment law perspective, based on recent regulatory guidance in Belgium. What should you do if your company is affected by a cyber-attack and hackers purchase your employees’ personal data, or one of your employees loses a USB stick or laptop containing personal data? Guidance issued by…

Belgium: Liaison officer mandatory for foreign employers

From 1 October 2017, the obligations on foreign employers posting workers to Belgium have been extended to include the appointment of a liaison officer to act as a single contact point for the local employment inspectorate. A Belgian Royal Decree that entered into force on 1 October 2017 stipulates that the appointment of this liaison officer must be made through the LIMOSA declaration that all foreign…

Belgium: Modifications of benefits in kind

Provisions on the tax and social security treatment of the benefit in kind (BIK) for the use of a smartphone, PC, tablet and/or internet are not always clear. Moreover, they are often treated differently for tax and social security purposes. To enhance legal certainty, a modification to the legal provisions is expected to come into force on 1 January 2018, particularly by determining a fixed…

Belgium: Cash for car instead of company car

On 29 September 2017, as proposed by the Minister of Finance, the Council of Ministers approved a preliminary draft bill allowing employees who wish to do so, to exchange their company car for a mobility allowance; provided, however, that the employer has set up such a system within the company. The mobility allowance consists in a cash amount that the employee would receive in lieu…

ECHR, Bărbulescu and breach of privacy

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (‘ECHR’) – composed of 17 judges – has released its judgment in Bărbulescu – v – Romania (5 September 2017). The case concerned the balance between two rights: the employee’s right to respect for private life and correspondence under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the employer’s right to take measures…

Belgium: Shareholders' right directive

The Directive amends the so-called Shareholders’ Rights Directive (EU Directive 2007/36 as regards the encouragement of long-term shareholder engagement). The stated objective is to overcome certain corporate governance shortcomings in European listed companies and to promote the long-term engagement of shareholders. The Directive deals with a wide range of corporate law and governance issues, such as identifying shareholders, providing information about shareholders, facilitating voting, making…