By Youssef el Harchaoui

A day off on the employee’s birthday or the employer’s contribution to the costs of an employee’s fitness subscription- These are just some examples of the advantages an employee can enjoy that are not laid down in the existing employment contract between the employee and the employer. Often the employer views these advantages as favours to the employee that are of a discretionary nature, while the employee views them as rights that he has acquired.

When an employer for whatever reason decides to no longer offer a certain ‘perk’, often the question comes up whether the employer is allowed to take such decision unilaterally. The employee, whether or not supported by the trade union, will in such case argue that he/she may have expected to continue enjoying the ‘perk’, since the employee received it for a certain period of time.