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22.05.19 The jobsdeal: 7 new measures in a row

Employment
May 22

Due to a substantial shortage on the Belgian labour market and to vacancies that are difficult to fill, the Act of 7 April 2019 regarding the social provisions on the jobsdeal, published in the Belgian Official Gazette on 19 April 2019 provides a number of measures to give employment in Belgium a boost. Below you can find an overview of the most important measures.

1.     Starter jobs

As from 1 January 2019, a starter job-agreement can also consist in an employment agreement, signed between a young employee and an employer in the public or private sector, as long as this employment agreement is signed in the context of a re-employment programme or in the context of a circulation agreement.

2.     Starter-remunerations for young employees

In order to make the employment of young employees (18 – 21 years) more attractive, employers have been allowed, since 1 July 2018, to reduce their gross remuneration by a certain percentage.

To ensure that the employees do not experience any financial disadvantage, they receive an extra compensation, which is (para) fiscally exempted, on top of their gross remuneration.

The new act now concretizes the modalities of this extra compensation by determining, amongst other things, how the surplus is calculated and how the term “remuneration” should be understood.

These provisions enter into force retroactively as from 1 March 2019.

3.     Outplacement for employees whose employment agreement ends due to medical force majeure

As from 29 April 2019, the employer who appeals to medical force majeure in order to end an employment agreement must offer outplacement. The employer is obliged to do so, regardless of who took the initiative to start the re-integration procedure.  

The outplacement package consists of 30 hours spread over 3 months and has a value of max. EUR 1800, depending on the specific health issue of the employee concerned.

The employer is obliged to offer outplacement in writing to the employee within a period of 15 days after the termination of the employment agreement. Afterwards, the employee has 4 weeks in which to accept or refuse the offer.

The employee or the outplacement provider informs the advising doctor of the health insurance fund regarding the start and the content of the outplacement.

The obligation does not apply in cases where the employment agreement is terminated by both parties or on the initiative of the employee due to medical force majeure.

4.     Exemption of performance during the notice period

When parties agree that the employee is exempted from work during the notice period, the employer must inform the employee in writing that he/she is obliged to register with the regional employment services within one month after the exemption of work (this can be done in the settlement agreement). This obligation entered into force on 29 April 2019.

5.     Training clause for bottleneck professions

To promote employment in “bottleneck professions”, it was already possible that a valid training clause for bottleneck professions could be signed, even when the annual remuneration of the employee to whom the training clause applied did not reach the legally determined minimum amount equal to EUR 34,819 (amount applicable on 1 January 2019).

As from 29 April 2019, this regulation became even more flexible, as the training clause will from now on also be effective when the training which is given to the employee results from a legal or regulatory provision in order to perform the profession for which the employee has been hired. 

6.     Entitlement to indemnities for work incapacity in case of continuation of employment after legal retirement age.

The employee who does not take up retirement, but continues to work after reaching his/her legal retirement age, will receive indemnities for work incapacities that started as from 1 May 2019 until the first day of the seventh month of the primary work incapacity. Before, this was the case until the first day of the second month following the month during which the work incapacity started.

7.     Measures to increase the employability of the employee on the labour market.

An employee dismissed as from 1 January 2022 will be entitled to convert maximum 1/3 of his/her severance indemnity into a training budget.

Employees wishing to do so will be obliged to inform the employer on the exact percentage of indemnity they want to spend on training. This information must be done before the payment of the severance indemnity.

At the end of the 60th month following the termination of the employment agreement at the latest, this training budget must be spent.

The employer must pay a solidarity contribution equal to 25% of the training budget to the National Social Security Office.  

  Employment, Pensions & Benefits