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New obligation at end of employment contract: return of mobile phone number to employee

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On 14 December 2023, the parliament approved the legislative proposal to guarantee the right of use of employees' mobile phone numbers after the end of the employment contract. 

This proposal addresses the problem that an employee has when he transfers the right to use his private mobile phone number to the employer, who then covers the subscription costs, but at the end of the employment relationship refuses to return that number to the employee. As a result, the employee cannot automatically recover the number for further personal use and, if the employer refuses to return the number, is obliged to subscribe to a new number.

With this proposal, the legislator has regulated this situation. Therefore, a new article in the Act on Employment contracts provides that the employee has the right to reclaim the right of use of the mobile phone number in writing stating the date of termination of the employment contract within one month from that date. The employer is then obliged to transfer the right of use if the request was timely and correctly made. 

This new regulation will come into force on 1 January 2024.

Takeaway; In practice, this situation is not common. In most cases, the employee simply retains his private mobile phone number during the employment relationship and/or gets a corporate mobile phone number. If an employee has already transferred his right of use to the employer, it also often happens in practice that parties agree on return modalities in the employment contract.

Especially for employees with an important commercial function for whom maintaining a specific phone number is important, it is best for the employer to provide a new mobile phone number. This allows the company to retain the mobile phone number at the end of the employment contract, rather than having to transfer it back to the employee.