Work clothing: new possibilities

Author: Laurence Philippe (Legal Expert)
Read time: 3min
Publication date: 14/07/2023 - 15:08
Latest update: 14/07/2023 - 15:10

From 1 August 2023, it will be possible to enter into a company collective bargaining agreement that provides for the payment of compensation in lieu of the provision and maintenance of work clothing. Previously, only an sector collective bargaining agreement could provide for this compensation. The definition of work clothing has also been clarified.

What is work clothing?

Work clothing is clothing designed to prevent workers from getting dirty. It can be an overall, an apron, a suit, etc.

If the work clothing also aims to protect the worker against risks that could threaten his or her health or safety at work, then it is personal protective equipment (PPE) that complies with other rules.

In certain sectors, a uniform or standardised clothing may be provided for in a Royal Decree or sectoral CBA. If this uniform or standardised clothing also aims to protect the worker from getting dirty, it is also work clothing. In this case, the employer must comply with the obligations set out below.

Obligations of the employer

The employer must provide the worker with work clothing when the nature of the activities is such that he or she is exposed to dirt. He must also ensure that this clothing is renewed in a timely manner. The employer retains ownership of the clothing.

He must also clean, repair and maintain the work clothing.

Pay compensation so the worker takes care of this himself?

Until now, only a binding sectoral CBA could provide for the employer to be relieved of these obligations by paying compensation to the worker.

From 1 August 2023, it will be possible to enter into a sectoral or company collective bargaining agreement. This may provide for:

  1. Terms and conditions relating to the nature of work clothing and the frequency with which it is replaced;
  2. A fee or compensation for the purchase or renewal of such clothing;
  3. Authorisation for workers to clean, maintain and repair their own work clothing in return for a fee or compensation if the following conditions are met.
    1. Following a risk analysis, cleaning does not present a risk for the worker, those around him or her or the environment;
    2. The prevention advisor and the committee have issued an opinion prior to this authorisation;
    3. Workers are given the necessary instructions to clean, repair and maintain work clothing in an appropriate manner.

Sectoral CBAs concluded before 1 August 2023 will continue to apply provided that the employer provides the necessary instructions for the proper cleaning, repair and maintenance of work clothing.

I need help concluding a CBA

Would you like to enter into a company CBA so that your workers themselves can take care of their work clothing? Please contact Legal Partners.


Source: Royal Decree of 11 June 2023 amending the codex on well-being at work regarding the general terms of use of work clothing, Belgian Official Gazette 5 July 2023.

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