Social elections: resumption of the procedure

Author: Catherine Mairy (Legal Expert)
Date:

A Royal Decree of 15 July 2020 and a law of 15 July 2020 respectively regulate the modalities for the resumption of the 2020 social elections procedure and the extension of the deadline for concluding an agreement to vote electronically.

The social elections were scheduled for the period from 11 May to 24 May 2020, but due to the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, the procedure was suspended from day X + 36.

New date and (possibly) new time table

The postponed social elections will take place between 16 November and 29 November 2020.

When setting the new date, the original date should be taken into account.

Example - The social elections will take place on 16 November 2020 (1st Monday) when the original date coincided with 11 May 2020  (1st Monday).

However, a different date may be set by the works council (W.C.) or the committee for prevention and protection at work (C.P.P.W.) or, failing that, by the employer.

The time table communicated on day X continues to apply.

However, the W.C. or the C.P.P.W. or, failing that, the employer, may change the time table, but the number of hours originally scheduled for voting may not be reduced.

Resumption of the procedure and new electoral calendar

The election procedure resumes on the fifty-fourth day preceding the postponed election date (= new X + 36, between 23 September and 6 October 2020).

The W.C. or the C.P.P.W. or, failing that, the employer, determines the new dates resulting from the election procedure as from the resumption, taking into account the postponed election date (= new electoral calendar).

Communication

At the latest 7 days before the date of the resumption of the election procedure (between 16 and 29 September 2020), the W.C. or the C.P.P.W., or, failing that, the employer, informs the employees of the following:

  • the new date of the social elections;
  • the possibly modified timetable of the elections;
  • the new dates resulting from the election procedure as from the resumption.

This notification is done by posting a document in accordance with the model annexed to the Royal Decree of 15 July 2020 in the same places as the notice posted on day X. This posting may be replaced by making an electronic document available provided that all employees have access to the document during their normal working hours.

At the same time, this information is communicated to the interprofessional employee organisations and (where a W.C. has to be set up) the representative executive organisations:

  • either electronically via the web application specifically designed for this purpose on the website of the Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue;
  • or by sending a letter by post to the headquarters of those organisations.

In the absence of a W.C. or C.P.P.W., a copy of this document is also transmitted to the trade union delegation.

Important note! The W.C., the C.P.P.W. or the employer can validly meet during the period of suspension of the social elections procedure, take decisions and issue communications about the new date of the social elections, the time table and the new electoral calendar.

Electronic voting

A law of 15 July 2020 extends the deadline for concluding an agreement to vote electronically.

The decision to proceed to electronic voting (whether or not from the usual workstation) can in fact be taken:

  • at the latest 34 days before the new date of the elections (= new X + 56, between 13 and 26 October 2020);
  • subject to an agreement between the employer and all the representatives of the representative employee organisations and of the representative executive organisations which have nominated candidates for the category of employees concerned.

This decision is communicated immediately to the persons concerned by posting a notice rectifying the information posted on day X in the same places as the notice posted on day X. This posting may be replaced by making an electronic document available provided that all employees have access to the document during their normal working hours.

At the same time, this rectifying notice is communicated to the interprofessional employee organisations and (where a W.C. has to be set up) the representative executive organisations:

  • either electronically via the web application specifically designed for this purpose on the website of the Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue;
  • or by sending a letter by post to the headquarters of those organisations.

Protection against dismissal

As a reminder: candidate staff representatives who will be nominated after the end of the period of suspension of the procedure (to replace already nominated candidates) are protected:

  • on the one hand, during the period running from day X – 30 to day X + 35;
  • and, on the other hand, during a period running from the thirty-sixth day before the day on which the election procedure is resumed (between 18 and 31 August) until the date on which the candidates elected in the next social elections are appointed (or, in the case of the second unsuccessful candidacy, until two years after the results of the postponed elections have been posted).

 

Sources: Royal Decree of 15 July 2020 regulating the resumption of the 2020 social elections procedure suspended on the basis of the law of 4 May 2020 regulating the suspension of the social elections procedure of the year 2020 following the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, Belgian Official Gazette 22 July 2020; Law of 15 July 2020 amending the Law of 4 May 2020 regulating the suspension of the social elections procedure for the year 2020 following the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in order to extend the deadline for concluding an agreement to vote electronically in the 2020 social elections, Belgian Official Gazette 27 July 2020; www.https://emploi.belgique.be/fr.

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