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A new law providing for an adjustment to the provisions on notice periods for workers who resign and who were employed before 2014 has just been published. It stipulates that the notice period can never exceed 13 weeks for all such workers. This law will come into force on 28 October 2023.
The current notice periods for resignations are expressed in weeks and are made up as follows:
< 3 months
3 months to < 4 months
4 months to < 5 months
5 months to < 6 months
6 months to < 9 months
9 months to < 12 months
12 months to < 15 months
15 months to < 18 months
18 months to < 21 months
21 months to < 24 months
2 years to < 3 years
3 years to < 4 years
4 years to < 5 years
5 years to < 6 years
6 years to < 7 years
7 years to < 8 years
8 years and +
These notice periods apply to all workers (manual and non-manual workers) employed with an employment contract for an indefinite period the performance of which began on or after 1 January 2014.
However, workers whose employment started on or after 1 January 2014 still have to be distinguished from those whose employment started before 1 January 2014.
Workers (manual and non-manual workers) for whom the performance of the contract began before 1 January 2014 are entitled to a notice period that is calculated in three steps (step-up system):
Please note! For non-manual workers, the following rule applies: The notice period is fixed at 1.5 months per 5 years of seniority started, with a maximum of:
If the period calculated in step 1 is equal to the maximum of 3 months, 4.5 months or 6 months (depending on the remuneration on 31 December 2013), the notice period determined in step 2 does not need to be added. The full period of notice is that calculated in step one.
If not, proceed to step 2.
Please note! For non-manual workers the rule is as follows. If the sum obtained by adding the period obtained in step 1 and the period obtained in step 2 is equal to or greater than 13 weeks, the final notice period is capped at 13 weeks.
With this new law, the limitation of the notice period to 13 weeks for resignations will apply to all workers (manual and non-manual workers) for whom the performance of the contract starts before 1 January 2014. This means that there will no longer be a distinction between manual and non-manual workers or between lower and higher level non-manual workers.
It will no longer be necessary to distinguish between seniority acquired before 1 January 2014 and that acquired from 1 January 2014 onwards.
For the calculation of the period of notice of workers who resign and who started employment before 1 January 2014, only article 37/2 §2 of the law of 3 July 1978 on employment contracts will be applied, i.e. the table above. The worker's seniority will therefore be at least 8 years and the notice period will thus be set at 13 weeks.
This law will enter into force on 28 October 2023.
Notice periods served before the entry into force of this law will continue to have full effect.
Source: Act of 20 March 2023 amending the Act of 26 December 2013 concerning the introduction of a single status between manual and non-manual workers with regard to notice periods and the waiting day as well as accompanying measures with regard to the adaptation of the maximum legal notice periods in the event of dismissal given by the worker, Belgian Official Gazette 28.04.2023.
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