It is important to remember that any employer regardless of their sector (industrial, commercial, agricultural, non-trading, etc.) or their legal structure (natural person, not-for-profit organisation, public limited company, etc.) must draw up terms of employment as soon as they recruit a worker, whether through an employment contract, an apprenticeship agreement or an internship arrangement, irrespective of whether they are employed full-time or part-time or whether they are subject to social security for salaried workers.
Who draws up the terms of employment?
The terms of employment are arrived at following a negotiation between the employer and the workers. It is a kind of collective employment contract for a specific purpose.
- The works council, if there is one, establishes the terms and makes decisions on its amendments.
- If there is no works council, the terms of employment must be drawn up and a consultation procedure implemented (publication of the terms in a clearly visible location within the company for 15 days with a register of comments).
At the end of the consultation procedure, the terms of employment must be sent to the Social Inspectorate of the Labour and Employment Ministry, along with the register of comments. If no comments have been made, the terms of employment shall enter into force 15 days after they were initially published.
The content of the terms of employment
In all cases, the terms of employment must include certain mandatory elements, such as:
- Working hours (full-time and part-time);
- Information on salaries and methods of payment;
- Rights and duties of supervisory staff;
- Notice periods and how they are determined;
- Sanctions, and amount and destination of fines;
- Information on first aid to be carried out in the event of an emergency;
- Names of the members of consultation bodies;
- Administrative information (name and address of the holiday pay office, ONSS (Belgium Social Security Office) number, competent joint committee, addresses of inspection services, etc.).
Appendices to the terms of employment
The terms of employment would be particularly heavy without any appendices! It is important to distinguish between ‘mandatory’ and ‘optional’ appendices.
The mandatory appendices contain obligatory information. For instance, an appendix may set out the company policy on alcohol and drug use, and another may include the text of CCT (collective bargaining agreement) n° 25 on equal pay between men and women. Finally, it is important to include an appendix on preventing psychosocial risks at work (stress, burn-out, harassment, etc.).
OPTIONAL APPENDICES ON FEASIBLE AND MANAGEABLE WORK
Since the entry into force of the Peeters Law, a number of new options are now available regarding appendices relating to working hours, such as:
- an appendix to the terms of employment establishing variable working hours;
- an appendix to the terms of employment establishing flexible hours;
- an appendix to the terms of employment establishing occasional homeworking.
- In relation to night-time work carried out for the purposes of e-commerce, an appendix to the terms of employment can be drawn up regarding e-commerce activities.
OTHER OPTIONAL APPENDICES
Other optional appendices which could be incorporated in the terms of employment include:
- an appendix on medical checks and periods of availability;
- An appendix regarding electronic payslips (which is mandatory whenever your payslips become electronic);
- Sector-specific appendices, e.g. regarding kilometre tax, etc.
Request information from the social security services, which can provide examples of what terms of employment should look like.