2024: A new year means new employment regulations!

As always, the new year brings with it a number of new developments in the field of human resources. A number of changes already took effect in December 2023, while others will enter into force from 1 January onwards. Either way, these changes will mean that your employment regulations will need to be updated.

First, you will already have read in our newsletter dated 11 April 2023 that from 2024 onwards, sick days during a period of holiday leave will no longer result in the loss of days' leave. An employee who becomes sick will be able to take those days' leave later.

The employment regulations will therefore need to be updated. The employment regulations must explain what an employee must do in case he/she falls ill while on holiday:

  • The employee must immediately let the employer know the address where he/she is staying, if this is not employee's usual place of residence.
  • A medical certificate will need to be submitted in all cases. The exception, which provides that an employee is not required to provide a certificate for the first day of incapacity for work on the first three occasions he/she is absent during the year, does not apply.

The employment regulations must also clearly state that an employee has the option to request that the days' leave that are "lost" due to illness, can be taken immediately after his/her incapacity for work comes to an end. Any employee wishing to do this must submit the request to the employer no later than the time at which the medical certificate is forwarded. If the employee wishes to take those days' leave later in the year, no specific request will need to be submitted.

For companies with at least 50 employees, the employment regulations must now include the name of the confidential adviser. In fact, from 1 December 2023 onwards, designating one or more confidential advisers will be mandatory:

  • if you employ at least 50 people,
  • or if requested by a trade union delegation or, if there is none, by the employees.

Finally, we already wrote in our newsletter dated 24 January 2023 that since 17 December 2023, companies with at least 50 employees must provide an internal reporting channel under the mandatory whistleblowers' scheme. As an employer, you will be required to provide clear and accessible information about the reporting channels available. This can be achieved by means of an internal policy, but also by amending the employment regulations.

In short, there are several reasons to give your employment regulations a facelift.

Employers solely incorporating changes resulting from the new rules concerning holidays and the appointment of a confidential adviser will not be required to follow the normal procedure for amending the employment regulations for that purpose.

A copy of the amended employment regulations must be given to each employee (with confirmation of receipt), and the new employment regulations must also be communicated to the directorate responsible for the supervision of social laws (via www.arbeidsreglement.belgie.be).

If you want to introduce special arrangements or information about your whistleblowers' scheme, however, it will be necessary to introduce the employment regulations via the works council or, if you company doesn't have one, after consulting the workforce.

Crowe Spark Legal will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have regarding the changes that have been made in the area of labour law and about employment regulations. We would be pleased to have an opportunity to work with you and make 2024 a worry-free year.

Despite all care taken in the preparation of this text, imperfections remain possible and the information contained herein may be superseded by recent legislative changes. The content of this newsletter is for information purposes only and cannot be considered full legal advice. Accordingly, Crowe Spark Legal and the authors of this newsletter cannot be held liable for the legal completeness of our newsletters. For specific questions or information adapted to your personal situation, you can of course contact our office.

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