Why an employer’s obligation?
In this post, we want to focus on the Belgian employers obligation to keep work regulations, also called “workers regulations” or “arbeidsreglement” (in Dutch) or “réglement de travail” (in French). The legal provisions are found in the employment law that covers a wide range of issues from pension plans and retirement, to occupational safety, to discrimination in the workplace that employees and employers are subject to.
What are employment documents?
In Belgium, all employers are required to comply with the working, pay and employment conditions provided for by Belgian labour law and social security regulations. By consequences, each employer with employees has to draft, keep and store a number of employment documents such as the work regulations, staff register and individual accounts (salary documents). These documents enable the inspectorate to examine whether the employer has properly complied with its mandatory obligations.
What is the definition of work regulations?
The work regulations stipulate the mutual rights and obligations of both employer and employee. This official and legally required document regulates the mutual employment conditions. A copy of the work regulations must be kept at every place where employees are employed. On top, every new hire needs to be provided with a copy of this document.
What is the content?
The work regulations provides your employees with a detailed explanation on following elements of information:
- the hourly schedules
- the methods of measurement and control of work for the purpose of determining wages
- the manner, time and place of payment of the salary
- the procedure, including the formal requirements and periods of notice, to be observed by the employer and the employee if the employment relationship is terminated
- the rights and duties of the supervisory personnel
- the penalties, the amount and destination of fines
- the first aid regulations
- the duration of annual leave
- the names of the members of the works council, of the committee for prevention and protection at work, of the trade union delegation
- the addresses of the inspection services
- the right to training offered by the employer
- the social security institution that receives the social contributions in the context of the employment relationship.
In addition, there are other disclosures required by several legal and regulatory provisions.
How is the language used between employer and employee?
Language in Belgium is a complex matter and the language law is very strict.
In the Flemish Region employment documents must be written in Dutch. In the Walloon Region you have to use French language. The sanction if other language used is that the document is null and void.
In the Brussels Region it is more complicated. Documents in French or Dutch are possible, depending on the employee’s language. The language is presumed based on home address of the employee.
Employers with offices in the German language area must use German for deeds and documents intended for their staff.
In any case, it is accepted to have an official version in the correct local language and an unofficial in English translation.
How to apply in practice?
The workers regulations are to be prepared in mutual agreement between employer and employees. In case your company has a works council, this council will assist in drafting the regulations.
For companies or employers without a workers’ council, the employer is responsible for the preparation and or changes of the work regulations. These are to be placed clearly visible on a public notice board (Ad Valvas), together with a register for remarks, and this for a period of 15 days. After this period, the employer has to send both the draft work regulations and the register to the competent inspector of Labour Affairs.
Since May 15, 2019, an employer can submit its work regulations (or an amendment) online at:
- In Dutch language: www.arbeidsreglement.belgie.be
- In French language: www.reglementdetravail.belgique.be
- In German language: www.arbeitsordnung.belgien.be
What are other payroll pitfalls for employers in Belgium?
Have a look at our posts Payroll Pitfall nr 1 : Umbrella Company and Employer of Record and Payroll Pitfall nr 2 : Limosa and Dimona.
You need assistance?
Experience shows that it is almost impossible for a foreign employer to draw up its own regulations. In that case, we recommend you to reach out to the legal department of Pro-Pay with specialists in employment law, social law, payroll law and immigration law. They will be pleased to assist you in drafting your working regulations and getting them registered with the Belgian social inspectorate. Fill out the contact sheet below to get in touch.