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Nancy Luyten

Nancy Luyten heads the Employment Practice Group in Belgium. She is mentioned as a leading Employment Practitioner in successive editions of Legal 500 EMEA, Chambers Europe, and Best Lawyers®.com. She joined the Firm in 1998 and became a national partner in 2002 and a principal in 2007.

Undertakings that habitually employ on average at least 50 employees will have to hold so-called ‘social elections’ in May 2024. The preparatory procedure for this year will begin in December 2023. The average headcount is determined over a reference period of one year running from Q4 2022 through Q3 2023. The specific category of interim agency workers is also taken into account for determining the average headcount, be it only in function of their employment in Q2 2023. To that effect, employers in Belgium need to keep a special register.

The Belgian act implementing EU Directive 2019/1937 (“Whistleblower Act”) requires legal entities in the private sector to establish channels and procedures for internal reporting and follow-up of reports in specific areas. In this context, the Whistleblower Act established a particular method to calculate the employee headcount within the legal entity with reference to the Belgian legislation on the social elections. However, there has been some uncertainty about how this reference should be applied in the context of the Whistleblower Act.

The EU legislators aim to promote more transparent and predictable employment, while ensuring labor market adaptability. To reach this goal, the EU directive on transparent and predictable working conditions and its implementation law impose certain information obligations on employers, and also lay down new minimum standards regarding working conditions that have to be guaranteed. In the case of noncompliance, sanctions (up to level 3) can be imposed.

In recent months, discussions have been ongoing regarding the so-called “labor deal” in Belgium, which will entail various changes to Belgian employment law. Can employees insist on a four-day working week? Are employees entitled to a “right to disconnect” after working hours? On Thursday 29 September 2022, the federal parliament officially approved the draft law implementing the labor deal (thereby addressing such questions).