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Update COVID-19: social elections will take place between 16 and 29 Nov 2020

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On 30 June 2020, the social partners in the National Labor Council confirmed their intention to organize social elections between 16 and 29 November 2020. This is now also confirmed by the Royal Decree of 15 July 2020 regulating the resumption of the social elections procedure of 2020 suspended by the Law of 4 May 2020 regulating the suspension of the social elections procedure of 2020 following the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic (1). This means that, as of now, companies will be able to make preparations in order to organize the restart of the electoral procedure and to draw up a new electoral calendar.

In particular, we can announce the following important consequences:

  • The current suspension of the election period is coming to an end. This means that in each company the election calendar will resume on the new day X+36. This is the 54th day preceding the new election day Y. This new election day Y will be held between 16 and 29 November 2020.

  • The social partners confirmed that the new election day Y will automatically correspond to day Y that was initially chosen in May 2020. This means that a company that originally set 14 May 2020 as election day Y will have to choose 19 November 2020 as the new election day Y.

  • Each company will set up a new calendar depending on the new election day Y. This calendar must contain the new (mandatory) deadlines as from the new day X + 36.

  • In principle, the initial timetable for the voting remains unchanged. However, the National Labor Council highlights that the timetable must take into account unforeseeable factors relating to the health measures taken for the control and prevention of the COVID-19 virus.

  • The social negotiation body, or in the absence thereof the employer, is qualified to communicate the new election day Y, the election calendar as well as the timetable, both internally and externally. The internal and external communication must take place simultaneously.

  • In the event that a current candidate would be replaced by a substitute candidate (e.g. in case of withdrawal of their candidature or in case they resign) a  ‘hidden protection period’ will apply to this new candidate. This protection period would run as from the restart of the election (i.e. between 18 and 31 August 2020) until the ultimate deadline for the replacement of the candidate set at X+76 (i.e. between 2 and 15 November 2020). The main aim is to guarantee the protection against dismissal of candidates who replace someone on the candidate list on the new day X+76.

  • In view of the COVID-19 crisis, a number of companies have expressed their wish to set up an electronic voting system. The National Labor Council has asked the legislator to adopt the appropriate provisions in this respect so that agreements can still be concluded at company level. The agreements should be concluded between X + 40 and X + 56.

If you have any further questions regarding the organization of the social elections, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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