Henceforth, embassies come under a joint committee

Author: Laurence Philippe - Anne Ghysels

Up to now, embassies were excluded from the area of application of the Act of 5 December 1968 on joint committees and collective agreements. This means that they did not come under any joint committee. However, since 15 February 2018 this is no longer the case.

You will henceforth come under the Auxiliary Joint Committee (JC) No. 337 for the non-profit sector if you belong to one of the following categories:

  • diplomatic mission;
  • mission with international organisations located in Belgium;
  • consular post;
  • diplomatic officer;
  • foreign consular officer

And this for your staff not having a privileged status.

Your workers who either exclusively or principally garden on own account come under JC 145.

You are a diplomatic officer or a foreign consular officer (so you are an employer as a natural person). In that case certain specific activities will come under another joint committee than JC 337: your domestic workers come under JC 323.

What are the consequences of this change?

Since 15 February 2018, all collective bargaining agreements of the National Labour Council and the specific collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) for Joint Committee No. 337 apply to you.

Sectoral commitments (specific to JC 337)

In this joint committee, the following CBA stipulations apply.

As regards the salary of the workers, joint committee 337 has not introduced any scale salaries or job classification. Therefore the guaranteed monthly minimum salary laid down by the CBA No. 43 of the National Labour Council applies to the workers. Furthermore, the joint committee has laid down an index-linking system. The fixed and salaries actually paid are linked to the flattened health index. The last indexation took place in July 2017 and the next indexation ought to take place in 2019.

As regards time credit, the collective bargaining agreement No. 103ter of the National Labour Council applies. In addition, two CBAs have been concluded in the sector. On the one hand, the management staff and the staff essential to the proper functioning of the company is excluded from the area of application of the CBA No. 103ter. They are only entitled to time credit provided that the employer agrees. On the other hand, workers with a long career having hard physical labour occupation or who are employed in a company in difficulty or restructuring have access to the entitlement to benefits for wind-down time jobs from the age of 55 years.

For the sector’s social fund, a contribution of 0.10% is due to the benefit of risk groups for each quarter of 2018. This contribution will be collected by the National Social Security Office.

The joint committee 337 has not laid down other provisions. Consequently, there is no obligation to pay an end-of-year bonus. The sector does not impose any extra-statutory leave, nor the obligation to provide meal vouchers.

Please refer to our website for specific sectoral information for your sector. www.partena-professional.be/en/category/sectoral-info

When the sector has not provided anything, naturally it is always possible to grant additional benefits to the workers (extra-statutory leave, end-of-year bonus, eco vouchers ...).

Cross-sector provisions (National Labour Council)

The National Labour Council passes collective bargaining agreements that apply to all employers who are subject to the Act on Collective Bargaining Agreements and Joint Committees of 5 December 1968. These numerous CBAs for example lay down the following provisions.

The Act on the promotion of employment and on the preventative safeguarding of competitiveness is only applicable to employers subject to the Act of 5 December 1968. The CBA No. 119 of the National Labour Council deriving from it, establishes the maximum margin for the wage cost development, also known as the 'wage standard'. This margin was set at 1.1% for the period 2017-2018. This standard establishing the maximum increase in wage cost henceforth is extended to the embassies.

No specific CBA is provided for transport costs. Consequently, collective bargaining agreement No. 19octies of the National Labour Council applies which provides for a contribution to the transport costs of the workers who use public transport.

In the sector, there is no obligation to grant eco vouchers. However, now CBA No. 98quater applies which makes it possible to grant eco vouchers.

The sector has not laid down any provisions with regard to the system of unemployment with a company supplement. Consequently, the ‘cross-sector’ collective agreements of the National Labour Council apply.

The National Labour Council has passed numerous other collective bargaining agreements relating to among other things outplacement, night work, collective redundancies, teleworking, the granting of non-recurring performance-related benefits (CBA 90), and the statement of the reasons for dismissal or the employment plan for older workers.

Questions about your obligations? Do you need information on what to do to comply with the legislation after this amendment? Contact our Legal Partners via Legalpartners@partena.be. They are happy to help.

Source: Act of 15 January 2018 establishing various provisions with regard to work