European Employment Law Update: Belgium — September 2013

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In its judgment of 7 July 2011, the Belgian Constitutional Court held that the distinction between blue-collar and white-collar workers with regard to the duration of the notice period and the so-called ‘carens day’ constituted a breach of the constitutional principle of equality and non-discrimination. The legislator had two years to rectify these differences and should have done so at the latest on 8 July 2013. After long discussions between the government and the social partners, the minister for employment presented on 5 July 2013 a compromise proposal.

The main part of this compromise proposal focuses on equality in dismissal regulations. Henceforward, the notice periods should be the same for both blue-collar and white-collar workers and would be expressed in weeks instead of months. Compared with the current legislation, blue-collar workers would benefit from a longer notice period, whereas white-collar workers would see their notice period slightly reduced. This modification would be implemented gradually and needs to be embedded in legislation in autumn…

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