« Statut Unique »

Trampoline WCh Sofia/BUL 2013: JENSEN Peter ANDERSEN Christian/DEN

The new regime for a « statut unique » -

What impact for the European presence in Brussels ?

On 1st January 2014, the new regime of a « statut unique » which unified the status of employees and workers in Belgium came into force. These two categories will therefore now benefit from the same « treatment », putting our society a step closer to a more equality-oriented employment system. But how does it impact on Brussels and its EU-related microstructures ?

In order to illustrate the application of the new system together with a comparison of the former, EARS has produced the following chart :

Length of service

Weeks of notice – Employers obligation (former system)

Weeks of notice – Employees obligation (former system)

0 to < 3 months

          2 (1)

          1 (1)

3 to < 6 months

          4 (1)

          2 (1)

6 to < 9 months

          6 (12)

          3 (6)

9 to < 12 months

          7 (12)

          3 (6)

12 to < 15 months

          8 (12)

          4 (6)

15 to < 18 months

          9 (12)

          4 (6)

18 to < 21 months

          10 (12)

          5 (6)

The new system is still not to everyone’s satisfaction, especially the SMEs as highlighted in a recent interview with Thierry Evens, spokeperson of the Union des Classes Moyennes (UCM). As illustrated in our chart, the new regime offers more flexibility from the 6-month period of employment for both parties. Furthermore, for businesses which are client-sensitive and more specifically for EU affairs consultancies, it can significantly reduce the cost of gardening leave following the resignation of an employee.

Nevertheless, it is not a secret that the new statute may put more constraints on the employers’ side during the first six months. Indeed, the concept itself of a « trial period » has been abolished, when previously an employer could agree on a trial clause of up to 12 months and terminate the contract by giving one single week’s notice to the employee. An immediate consequence during the first quarter of 2014 was that many employers had to be more diligent in their recruitment processes, in order to ensure that they make the right decision before the contract commences; the importance of which is emphasised by the fact that the majority of terminations of employment contracts occur during the early months.

« The use of freelance, interim or fixed-term contracts will most probably gain ground on permanent opportunities », observes Bérangère Bernard, Managing Director of DynamikHR – a Belgian Payroll Services provider. However, this could also send a negative image to the new recruit, implying that the employer is not totally confident in their recent hire or, even worse, that the organization is reluctant to invest in people and is happy with a trial and error selection process.

As a conclusion, the new package that recently came into force can be profitable for both parties around the table; for employees, « from whom one can expect more mobility between employers at the earliest stage of their career » states Bérangère Bernard, and employers, as long as the very first steps of the hire and the internal integration of the employee are dealt with in a strategic, well-supported and resourceful manner.