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Headline Labour & Employment: Employment plan for older employees as from 1 January 2013

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The policy-makers and social partners believe it is necessary to initiate a process inciting companies to maintain or increase their number of older employees. To this end, the National Labour Council (“NLC”) enacted on 27 June 2012 the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) n°104 obliging companies that have more than 20 employees to draw up as from 1 January 2013 a so-called “Employment plan for Older Workers” (EOW) on an annual basis. This plan should include the measures taken by the company to keep employees aged over 45 at work or to increase their number.

Companies employing more than 20 employees will be required as from 1 January 2013 to draft an “Employment plan for Older Workers” (EOW) every year.

The employer can also choose to draw up a plan covering a period of several years – i.e. a plan with multi-year-measures -, but in such case, the employer must issue a report every year about the progress of the plan.

The EOW must include measures proper to the company in order to maintain or increase the employment of workers aged 45 or above. Those measures must pertain to one or more action areas. The employer can select (an) action area(s) listed in the CBA n°104, but can also choose to define one or more action areas himself.

The action areas mentioned in the CBA n°104 are the following:

1. the selection and hiring of new employees;
2. the development of the competencies and qualifications of the employees, including the access to training sessions;
3. the career development and career assistance within the company;
4. the possibility to take on a new function within the company adapted to the evolution of the possibilities and abilities of the employee;
5. the possibilities to amend the working time and employment conditions;
6. the health of the employee, the prevention and removal of physical and psycho-social restrictions to continue employment; 7. the systems of acknowledgment of acquired competencies.

Every year, the employer must submit the draft of every new EOW to the Works Council or, in the absence thereof, to the Trade Union Delegation or, in the absence of this body, to the Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work. When no employee representation is present within the company, the plan must be submitted to the employees themselves.