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The summer of 2017 brings a lot of social law novelties…

two people with colors

On July 26, 2017, the Belgian federal government reached an agreement on the budget for 2018, the so called “Summer Agreement”, which includes numerous (ambitious) social law measures.

The measures still need to be further detailed via specific legislation but in a nutshell the following novelties will be implemented - in principle as of January 1, 2018:

Flexible working – decrease of employer’s formalities

  • The system of flexi-jobs based on which employees can take up an additional “tax-free” employment besides their main employment will be expanded to the retail industry– currently this only exists for the catering industry. Further, pensioners will also be able to benefit from this regime. The remuneration paid for the execution of such jobs is tax free and the employer must only pay a reduced employer’s social security contribution of 25% on the remuneration issued.

  • It will be possible for employers to implement a tax beneficial “profit premium” for their employees subject to certain conditions. The exact tax regime still needs to be further detailed.

  • On top of night-work, Sunday work will be allowed for e-commerce activities as well. The implementation would be possible via a simplified procedure.

  • The current statutory notice period in the event of termination of the employment contract by the employer will be reduced during the first 6 months of employment and serves as an equivalent of a trial period.

The following progressive notice period will apply:


< 1 month

< 2 month

< 3 month

< 4 month

< 5 month

< 6 month


2 weeks

2 weeks

2 weeks

4 weeks

4 weeks

4 weeks


1 week

1 week

1 week

3 weeks

4 weeks

5 weeks

  • Interim work will be permitted for all employers pertaining to the private industry (currently interim work is prohibited for certain private industries such as the moving industry) and it will be extended to the public industry as well (for certain matters and after a consultation with the trade unions).

  • Recruitment of young employees between 18 and 21 years old will be supported by a decrease of the employer’s cost.

  • Sunday work will be allowed for students between 16 and 18 years old in different industries, such as the retail industry.

  • An additional compensation, exempted from social security contributions, can be paid to “older employees” (starting as from 58 years old – subject to conditions such as a change of working regime) who desire to adjust their careers including a salary reduction and/or a change of working regime.

Pension measures

  • A full occupational pension pillar will be introduced for self-employed natural persons comparable to the occupational pensions for employees.

  • Employees are entitled to convert a part of their salary into a contribution for an occupational pension regime even if such occupational pension regime is not yet installed within the company of the employer.

  • Finally, as of 1 January 2019, it would be possible to take up a partial pension for employees and self-employed individuals (the specific entitlement conditions still need to be further implemented) allowing them to combine such pension with additional activities which will further increase the pension entitlements for the future.

Other measures

  • The outplacement regime will be modified for employees whose health condition does not allow them to participate in an outplacement. These employees are no longer required to take up the outplacement and are entitled to a full severance payment, without deducting 4 weeks’ gross salary as currently provided.

  • Measures against social dumping will be introduced in the construction industry, such as a staging reduction of the employer’s cost and a (retro-active) adjustment of the existing specific regime related to notice periods.

  • The social inspection authorities will be allowed to do anonymous tests (so called “mystery calls”) in companies when objective indications exist of a potential discrimination.

  • An external burn-out coach will be mandatory in companies with more than 100 employees. The appointment of such coach still needs to be further detailed in legislation.

How does this affect your business and how can K law assist you?

These novelties offer further opportunities to hire new personnel (such as students, flexi-jobs, etc.) with a reduced employer’s cost and to employ existing personnel in a more flexible manner (e.g., with the introduction of Sunday work in the e-commerce). K law can provide further detailed assistance in this respect and further assess the possible opportunities suitable for your business.

The actual implementation of some of these new initiatives further involves additional work on a company level (e.g., for the introduction of Sunday work, the appointment of a burn-out coach). K law is happy to provide more guidance in this respect as well.

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