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Headlines: Employment & Labour : Update of the notice periods in Belgium


Update of the notice periods in Belgium

Four years after the entry into force of the unified status, it is time for an update of the Belgian notice periods. Liedekerke offers you a handy overview of the notice periods that an employer or employee must comply with in order to terminate an employment contract.

Adjusted notice periods in the first 6 months

Before 2014 it was possible to agree upon a probationary clause. This option was abolished by the unified status. Despite the fact that the contrary was said in the press, the probationary clause will not become applicable again.

Since 2014, an employer who wishes to terminate an employment contract must comply with a notice period of 2 weeks if the employee (blue- or white-collar worker) has a seniority (length of service with the employer) of less than 3 months. If the seniority is between 3 and 6 months, the employer must respect a notice period of 4 weeks.

In the bill on the economic recovery and the strengthening of social cohesion, the notice periods that an employer must comply with if he wishes to terminate an employee's employment contract with less than 6 months' seniority are modified. During the first 3 months a notice period of 1 week will suffice. If the seniority is between 3 and 4 months, the notice period will be 3 weeks. With a seniority between 4 and 5 months, it will be 4 weeks. If the employee has between 5 and 6 months of seniority, the notice period will be 5 weeks.

The notice periods for dismissal of an employee with a seniority of more than 6 months and the notice periods that apply when employees want to resign themselves, do not change.

The bill has not yet been voted in the Chamber. It is still unclear when the new notice periods will come into effect. The draft bill states that the article that changes the notice periods will enter into force on the first day of the second month after the month during which the bill will be published in the Belgian Official Gazette. It is expected that the new provisions will apply as from 1 April 2018.

No more specific notice periods for certain sectors

Temporary or permanent exceptions were granted for a number of sectors, with different notice periods for the blue-collar workers. It concerned the sectors of construction, wood and furniture, ready-made clothing, diamond, ... As of 1 January 2018 these exceptions no longer apply and the 'normal' notice periods must be observed.

Renewed Liedekerke sheet

In order to allow you to quickly determine the notice period, we are happy to offer you a practical overview (we call it the Liedekerke sheet). It is available in Dutch, French and English on our website. However, do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to receive additional hard copies for yourself or your colleagues.

Download the Liedekerke Sheet: EN - FR - NL / Download the headlines