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Unified Status ? Harmonization of white and blue collar legislation

Country of implementation
Belgium
General short description of the innovation
The unified status harmonized labour conditions for blue and white collar workers: / / New redundancy scheme: The reform introduces a unified dismissal system with new notice periods for employment contracts starting as of 1 January 2014. The new notice periods will be fixed and based only on the seniority of the employee, which means the remuneration level or the employee?s age will no longer be of any importance. This reform increased the length of the notice period for blue collar workers but decreased it for white collar workers. The fixed notice periods can be seen as ?statutory minima? from which it is still possible to deviate at the company level or on an individual basis but only in the employee?s favour. / / Elimination of the ?carens day?: For blue-collar workers, the first day of illness, was not paid, whereas it was paid in full for white-collar workers. The worker was therefore only entitled to a guaranteed salary as of the second day of work incapacity. Since the new agreement was implemented, all employees receive a guaranteed salary as of the first day of work incapacity. / / Elimination of the trial period: From 2014 it is no longer possible to include a probation period in employment agreements. Under the old rules, the employee could be dismissed within seven days? notice during the probation period. Based on the new rules, a labour agreement can now be terminated by means of a two-week notice period when the termination occurs in the first three months. However, there is an exception which maintains the trial period with regard to interim contracts and student contracts (first three days are automatically a trial period). / / Extension of the right to outplacement / In addition to the existing system of outplacement as from the age of 45, which will become the residual system, outplacement will be extended to all employees who are entitled to a notice period of at least 30 weeks (as of 9 years seniority under the new rules). They are entitled to 60 hours of outplacement. /
Target group
Total Population
Policy Field
  • employment
  • equal opportunities
Type of Policy
  • public
Duration of the policy
The act of 26 December 2013 concerning the introduction of a unified status for blue collar workers and white collar employees entered into force as of 1 January 2014.
Scope of innovation
  • Budgets: not applicable
  • Number of intended beneficiaries: Year White collar workers Blue collar workers 2010 1.692.855 1.281.374 *2011 1.718.665 1.304.858 *2012 1.736.961 1.308.383 * Source: http://www.rsz.fgov.be/nl
  • Spatial coverage: Belgium (national)
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
The reform is an important step towards a single employment protection system for all workers under Belgian Law and fight discrimination between blue and white collar workers.
Type of ideal-typical strategy for the innovation
  • encompassing security
Type of innovation
  • new policy, practice or measure
New outputs
  • regulations of the labour market
Intended target group
Blue and white collar workers
Working age population
  • main source of income: paid work
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • central state
  • employees (organised or individual) (involved in policy making )
  • employers (organised or individual) (involved in policy making )
Intended output
  • regulation of the labour market
Clarification of outcomes in terms of impacting resilience and labour market inclusion
- Increased employment protection for blue collar workers and reducing it for the majority of white collar workers / - The reform will decrease the aggregate dismissal costs overall from a cross-industry perspective, as the number of white collar workers
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