Back to HR: a few points of attention for the HR manager for the autumn
Summertime is the slack season for social law. This was not different this year. There was almost no legislation published with significant relevance for employers. An exception is the new regulation on training leave for employees working in Flanders. Below we mention these new rules and give an update of next year’s social elections.
1. Paid educational leave becomes Flemish training leave in Flanders
Since 1 September 2019 an employee of a company in the Flemish region, is entitled to a maximum of 125 hours of Flemish training leave per (academic) year. This system replaces the paid educational leave that has existed since 1985. For employees employed in the Brussels and Walloon regions, nothing changes for now: the current system of paid educational leave continues to apply. Employees in Flanders, who had already started a multiyear training course in the past academic year, remain under the existing system (and this until the end of 2021 at the latest).
The employee is entitled to be absent from work, while being paid, to follow a certain training that is labour market or career oriented. The training must be included in the training database for Flemish training incentives (https://www.vlaanderen.be/opleidingsdatabank). How long the employee can be absent depends on the actual duration of the training and the working regime (part-time, full-time) of the employee.
Employers can, continue to apply for a refund, but such must be done as from now via a digital platform of the Flemish government (See: https://www.vlaanderen.be/als-werkgever-een-terugbetaling-aanvragen-0/indienen-terugbetalingsaanvraag).
Employees who want to benefit from training leave must attend the training courses. If an employee is unlawfully absent for more than 10% of the time, the next entitlement to leave will be reduced by 25%.
Employers in the Flemish region must now apply the regulations of the Flemish training leave for their employees who apply for a (new) training. Employers in the other regions continue to fall under the existing paid educational leave regulation.
2. Update social elections 2020
The social elections of 2020 can be organized via e-voting. Employers who want to use e-voting, must ensure that they work with a professional service provider. The service providers of e-voting software must deposit a copy of their system with the Federal Public Service for Employment Labour and Social Dialogue (FPS ELSD). The FPS then provides the service provider with a delivery receipt. We therefore recommend you to ask your service provider for a copy of the delivery receipt. You can find the list of possible service providers at http://www.werk.belgie.be/defaultTab.aspx?id=48346.
b. Voting rights for temporary workers
New for the social elections of 2020 is that temporary workers are entitled to vote in the company where they work if they meet certain seniority conditions. This does however not entitle them to stand as a candidate.
Especially if you employ many temporary workers, this can have an impact on the practical organization of the social elections. In order to be sufficiently prepared, you should carefully monitor whether or not the temporary workers meet the conditions.
A temporary worker meets the conditions as:
- He/she is employed in the period from 1 August 2019 up to and including the date on which the election date is displayed (i.e. day X, which, depending on your election date, falls in the period from 11 February 2020 up to and including 24 February 2020) for at least 3 months continuously or a total of 65 days during this 6-month period; and
- In the period from day X up to and including the 13th day preceding the elections (i.e. day X+77, which according to your election date falls in the period from 28 April 2020 up to and including 11 May 2020), he/she is employed for a total of at least 26 working days..
For example, if you choose to organize the elections on 11 May 2020, you will have to consider the following timeframes
Ensure adequate monitoring of the temporary workers you employ and map them out as from 1 August 2019. If temporary workers meet the seniority conditions, they are entitled to vote, even if you no longer employ them on the election date. Therefore, adjust your personnel policy if and where possible.