Transparent and predictable working conditions: employer's obligation to provide information

Author: Catherine Mairy (Legal expert)
Date:

European Directive (EU) 2019/1152 aims to improve working conditions by promoting, among others, more transparent and predictable employment.

It will be transposed into Belgian law by the law of 7 October 2022.

This law provides for:

  • the obligation, for the employer, to provide the worker with certain information about his/her working conditions; a summary of which is below;
  • a set of minimum rights for the worker; these will be covered in a next Infoflash;
  • protection against adverse treatment and dismissal; more on this in a future Infoflash.

Employers concerned 

All employers are required to provide certain information about working conditions.

Information of an individual nature 

Content?

The employer must provide each worker with at least the following information:

  1. the identities of the parties to the employment relationship;
  2. the place of work;

Important note! Where there is no fixed (main) place of work, the employer must communicate the following: the principle that the worker is employed at various places or is free to determine his/her place of work, information about arrangements, if any, for travel between the workplaces or the reference to the employment regulations, the registered place of business (or, where appropriate, the domicile of the employer).

  1. the main position held, title, grade, nature or category of work of the worker;

Important note! If these elements are not sufficient to determine the worker's wage and working conditions, the employer must also communicate a brief specification or description of the work.

  1. the date of commencement of the employment relationship;
  2. in the case of a fixed-term employment relationship, the end date or the expected duration;
  3. the remuneration (including the initial basic amount), any other component elements (if applicable, indicated separately), the fringe benefits with regard to social security offered by the employer and to which the worker is entitled and the frequency and method of payment of the remuneration, or the reference to the relevant provisions of law or regulations/collective bargaining agreements;
  4. if applicable, the duration and terms of the probationary period (see below);
  5. if the worker is employed on the basis of a fixed work schedule:
    • the start and end time of the normal working day, the time and duration of rest periods and days of regular interruption of work or reference to the fixed work schedules provided for in the employment regulations;
    • the arrangements for working overtime and additional hours, the related remuneration and other rights associated with performing these hours, or the reference to the relevant provisions of law or regulations/collective bargaining agreements;
    • where appropriate, the arrangements for shift changes or the reference thereto in the employment regulations;
    • where appropriate, the start of the cycle;
  6. if the worker is employed on the basis of a variable work schedule:
    • the principle that the work schedule is variable and the total duration (number of hours) of work per week;
    • the arrangements for working overtime and additional hours, the related remuneration and other rights associated with performing these hours; 
    • the days of the week and the daily time slot during which work can take place or the reference to the employment regulations in this regard;
    • how and when the worker will be informed by means of a notice of his/her work schedule or the reference to the employment regulations in this regard.

When?

The employer must provide the information of an individual nature to the worker no later than the first working day, unless it has already been provided previously.

How?

The employer is free to choose the document by which he communicates the information (employment contract or a document separate from the employment contract, written or electronic), unless the information must be included in the employment contract.

In any case, it is necessary that:

  • the information is accessible to the worker and can be stored and printed;
  • the information, contained in a document separate from the employment contract, if any, corresponds to the working conditions provided for in the employment contract;
  • the employer retains proof of transmission or receipt of the information.

What if there are changes?

Any change in the information stated in the document (unless it is the result of a change in the provisions of law or regulations/collective bargaining agreements referred to in the document) must be provided by the employer in the form of a change to the document at the latest on the day on which the change takes effect.

Information in case of employment abroad

Content? 

If the worker is required to work in another country for more than 4 consecutive weeks, the employer must mention, before his/her departure, the following in the document containing the information of an individual nature (see above):

  • the country or countries in which the work abroad is to be performed and its anticipated duration;
  • the currency to be used for the payment of remuneration;
  • where applicable, the benefits in cash or kind relating to the work assignments;
  • information as to whether repatriation is provided for, and if so, the conditions governing the repatriation.

If the worker is posted to a Member State of the European Union (Directive 96/71/EC), the employer must mention, before his/her departure, the following in the document containing the information of an individual nature (see above):

  • the remuneration to which the worker is entitled in accordance with the applicable law of the host Member State or the reference to the relevant provisions of law or regulations/collective bargaining agreements;
  • where applicable, any allowances specific to posting and any arrangements for reimbursing expenditure on travel, board and lodging;
  • the link to the single official national website developed by the host Member State (Directive 2014/67/EU).

What if there are changes?

Any change in the information stated in the document (unless it is the result of a change in the provisions of law or regulations/collective bargaining agreements referred to in the document) must be provided by the employer in the form of a change to the document at the latest on the day on which the change takes effect.

Specific information in case of concluding an employment contract for students

If the worker is hired under an employment contract for students, the duration and conditions of the probationary period (i.e., how the contract can be terminated during this period) must be stated in the contract.

Successive probationary periods are prohibited when a student is employed in the same position through successive employment contracts for students.

Specific information in case of concluding a temporary employment contract

If the worker is hired under a temporary employment contract with a probationary period, the duration and conditions of the probationary period (i.e., how the contract can be terminated during this period) must be stated in the contract.

If the parties agree on a duration of less or more than 3 working days (the duration provided for by law), this duration must be proportional to the duration of the employment contract and the nature of the work.

Successive probationary periods are prohibited when a worker is employed in the same position through successive temporary employment contracts.

Information of a collective nature

Some information is of a collective nature (it concerns all workers) and must be included in the employment regulations .

Content?

The employment regulations must mention:

  1. concerning the termination of the employment contract:
    • the procedure (including the formal requirements and length of the notice periods) to be observed where the employment contract is terminated and the deadlines for bringing an action contesting dismissal;
    • or the reference to the relevant provisions of law or regulations;
  2. concerning the collective bargaining agreements and collective agreements applicable in the company:
    • the reference to the collective bargaining agreements and/or collective agreements concluded within the company which apply to the working conditions;
    • the reference to the joint body for collective bargaining agreements concluded outside the company;
  3. concerning training:
    • training entitlement provided by the employer;
    • or the reference to the relevant provisions of law or regulations/collective bargaining agreements;
  4. the social security institution receiving the social security contributions (National Social Security Office).

How?

The first 2 mentions should have already been included in the employment regulations and therefore only need to be updated; it is not necessary to follow the consultation procedure within the works council or, failing that, with the workers.

On the other hand, the consultation procedure within the works council or, failing that, with the workers must be followed in order to include the last 2 mentions in the employment regulations; these are new mentions.

In any case, the employer must still:

  • hand a copy of the modification of the employment regulations to each worker (with acknowledgement of receipt);
  • communicate this modification to the competent directorate of the social legislation inspectorate within 8 days of its entry into force.

Entry into force

The information described above must be provided:

  • if the employment relationship begins from 10 November 2022: within the deadline provided for by the law of 7 October 2022;
  • if the employment relationship already exists on 10 November 2022: at the request of the worker and within the period provided by the law of 7 October 2022, but starting on the day of this request.

The minimum rights enjoyed by the workers are covered in a following Infoflash.

Do you have any questions about the impact of this new legislation on your documents (employment contract and employment regulations)? Please contact our Legal Partners via legalpartners@partena.be.

Source: law of 7 October 2022 partially transposing Directive (EU) 2019/1152 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on transparent and predictable working conditions in the European Union, Belgian Official Gazette, 31 October 2022.

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