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06.02.18 What benefit does the Programme Act provide for the e-commerce activities of your company?

Employment
February 6

In this e-zine, you will find an overview of the most important changes that might have an impact on the e-commerce activities of your company. In this way, the legislator aims to make Belgium more attractive for e-commerce and to create additional employment.

1. Definitive facilitation of working-time arrangements with night shifts

What?

In Belgium, night work (i.e. work performed between 20:00 and 06:00) is in principle prohibited. As of 1 February 2017, the legislator formulated an exception to this prohibition for all logistic and ancillary services related to electronic commerce by virtue of the Act on Workable and Agile Work. In other words, night work became possible for e-commerce activities, regardless of the joint labor committee to which the company belongs.

The procedure for introducing night work depends on the working schedule envisaged by the employer.

For the introduction of night work, the employer must in principle follow the normal procedure for modifying the work rules (WR) (see further point 2). However, employers wishing to introduce a “working-time arrangement with night shifts” (i.e. night work where workers are employed between 00:00 and 05:00) must follow a special procedure. Such arrangement can only be introduced provided that a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is concluded with all the trade unions represented in the trade union delegation (TUD) (if a TUD has been established) or after modifying the WR (if no TUD has been established).

For e-commerce activities in particular, the procedure will now be eased. From now on, a working-time arrangement with night shifts can be introduced in companies with a TUD by concluding a “regular” CBA (i.e. a CBA where the signature of 1 representative trade union is sufficient).

Impact?

This measure makes it easier for companies with a TUD to introduce e-commerce activities between 00:00 and 05:00. Whereas employers previously needed an agreement with all trade unions represented in this TUD, now an agreement with 1 trade union is sufficient.

2. Temporary facilitation of night work

What?

The procedure to introduce night work for companies with e-commerce activities will be eased temporarily – i.e. from 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2019. As from 2020, a definitive arrangement will apply instead.

The eased procedure can be represented schematically as follows:

Company

 

Working-time arrangement with night shifts?

 

Previous situation

 

2018-2019

2020

 

Companies which introduce night work during 2018 - 2019

Companies which introduce night work as from 2020

With TUD

No

Modifying WR

· Modifying WR; or

· CBA

If introduced by CBA during 2018 – 2019: perpetuate by new CBA

Modifying WR

Yes

CBA with all trade unions in the TUD

· Modifying WR; or

· CBA

If introduced by modification WR during 2018 – 2019: perpetuate by new CBA

CBA

Without TUD

No

Modifying WR

· Modifying WR; or

· CBA

If introduced by CBA during 2018 – 2019: perpetuate by new CBA

Modifying WR

Yes

Modifying WR

· Modifying WR; or

· CBA

If introduced by CBA during 2018 – 2019: perpetuate by new CBA

Modifying WR

 

Employers who have made use of the additional possibility to introduce night work during 2018 – 2019 will have to conclude a CBA as from 2020 to perpetuate the arrangement introduced during 2018 – 2019 as from 2020.

Impact?

This measure provides more temporary possibilities to introduce night work for e-commerce activities.

3. Sunday working for e-commerce

What?

The Programme Act provides a (temporary) exemption from the prohibition on Sunday working for e-commerce activities. This possibility was not previously available.

The employer can introduce Sunday working for e-commerce activities through one of the following means:

_Modifying the WR; or,
_Concluding a CBA.

Sunday working introduced through this facilitation will expire on 31 December 2019 at the latest. Employers who want to maintain the working-time arrangement with Sunday working as from 1 January 2020 will have to perpetuate this arrangement by means of concluding a CBA. Currently, the Programme Act provides no possibility to introduce Sunday working for e-commerce activities for the first time as from 2020.

Impact?

This measure will enable the introduction of Sunday working for e-commerce activities as long as this introduction takes place during 2018 – 2019.

 

RELATED ARTICLE:

_New in 2018 - overview of the most important HR measures of the Programme Act

 

Employment, Pensions & Benefits team