Transparent and predictable working conditions: protection against adverse treatment and dismissal

Author: Catherine Mairy (Legal Expert)
Read time: 3min
Publication date: 07/11/2022 - 07:33
Latest update: 07/11/2022 - 07:34

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

It is 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 set of minimum rights for the worker;
  • protection against adverse treatment and dismissal; a summary of which is below.

Protection against adverse treatment

For a specified period, the employer may not take any adverse action against:

  • the worker lodging a complaint with him due to a violation of his/her rights arising from the Directive (EU) 2019/1152;

Important note! A complaint is understood to mean:

  • a reasoned complaint lodged by the worker with the company/service employing him/her;
  • a complaint lodged by the worker with the competent inspection services;
  • a court action raised by the worker.
  • the worker’s representatives in the company (= persons who assisted and supported the worker in lodging the complaint),

except for reasons not related to this complaint.

In the case of temporary agency work, the user is treated as the employer.

The protection period ends:

  • at the expiry of the 12 months following the lodging of the complaint;
  • where a court action is raised, at the end of the 3 months following the day on which the decision has become final.

If, during the protection period, the employer takes an adverse action for reasons not unrelated to the complaint, he will be liable to pay either a lump-sum compensation corresponding to 6 months' gross remuneration or compensation equal to the damage actually suffered.

This compensation cannot be combined with other compensation provided for under a special protection procedure against dismissal.

Protection against dismissal

The employer may not dismiss or prepare for the dismissal of a worker who exercises the rights arising from the law of 7 October 2022, except for reasons not related to the exercise of these rights.

The employer must:

  • at the worker's request, inform him/her in writing of the reasons for the dismissal;
  • prove that the dismissal is not related to the exercise of rights arising from the law.

In the absence of a reason or if the reason invoked for the dismissal is not unrelated to the exercise of the rights arising from the law, the employer is liable to pay the worker a lump-sum compensation equal to 6 months' gross remuneration, without prejudice to the compensation due upon termination.

This compensation cannot, however, be combined with other compensation provided for under a special protection procedure against dismissal.

Entry into force

The provisions as described above enter into force on 10 November 2022.

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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