Legal insight

D. CASAER, “Social Elections 09-22 May 2016. Be prepared” ODC HR Law Newsletter, April 2015 (English version)

Over the next few months, many companies will start to make preparations for the social elections. These elections take place between 9 and 22 May, 2016. But the entire procedure, which takes 150 days, will already start on 11 December 2015.

According to recent recommendations of the National Labour Council, the existing employment thresholds for the establishment of a Prevention and Protection Committee at work (namely, from 50 employees) and a Works Council (from 100 employees) will undoubtedly be maintained.

 

Social Elections 09-22 May, 2016. Be prepared!

 

Over the next few months, many companies will start to make preparations for the social elections. These elections take place between 9 and 22 May, 2016. But the entire procedure, which takes 150 days, will already start on 11 December 2015.

According to recent recommendations of the National Labour Council, the existing employment thresholds for the establishment of a Prevention and Protection Committee at work (namely, from 50 employees) and a Works Council (from 100 employees) will undoubtedly be maintained.

The reference period, which is important when calculating the average number of employees, is the year 2015. This means it is wise to properly monitor the number of staff that are employed. Companies with various branch offices or affiliated companies at various locations in Belgium must also check at which level they must organise social elections.

Is it the legal entity or the so-called technical operating unit? Indeed, possibly  different branch offices could be considered one technical operating unit, so that only one Works Council or Prevention and Protection Committee at work will represent the various branch offices. As for the other matters, it appears that the previously stated recommendations of the National Labour Council are tending towards keeping things as they are, wherever possible.

Based on the recommendation of the National Labour Council, on 27 February 2015 the Federal Government approved a bill of law aiming to update, the election procedure (i.e. in the area of common IT applications such as the E-box of the Ministry of Employment), but which does not otherwise provide fundamental changes.. It does, however, provide that an employee who functions as “person of trust” in case of inappropriate behaviour within the company may not be part of the employers’ or employees’ delegation.

In addition to the formal preparation of the social elections, it is also important for the company to invest in a good social climate. The run-up to the social elections is often also a period of increased assertiveness and competition between the labour unions. It is therefore important for companies to start their homework in a timely manner.