What are the Belgian social elections? 

In Belgium, social elections are held every four years. With the next elections taking place May 2020, companies and unions are preparing for this important event.

In these social elections, employees elect their representatives at the company level for a 4-year term. Companies with more than 50 employees elect a Health & Safety Committee, and companies with more than 100 employees also elect a Works Council. The employer has to inform and consult the Works Council on the economic situation of the company and about the working conditions. The employer should seek advice of the Health & Safety Committee regarding the safety and the wellbeing at work.

How do Belgian social elections affect employers?

Since a sizable majority of candidates are affiliated with unions, the result of the social elections is indicative of the influence and power each union holds within the country. And given unions are consulted for the making of a large part of the labor and social security regulation, the national impact can be considerable.

The way companies structure their social elections can be highly strategic and greatly affect the life of the company. For example, a company must determine whether all its entities within Belgium will be considered as a single company for purposes of the election. The company must also define who is an executive or a manager for social election purposes. This can be crucial for two reasons: 1) Executives do not take part in the election and can represent the employer within the social bodies, and 2) Managers may have their own list of candidates (outside union control). Throughout this process, unions and employees may challenge the company’s approach.

Littler has developed a series of videos about the importance and implications of various aspects of the upcoming Belgium social elections. We invite you to explore these topics with us.

Technical Operating Units

Technical Operating Unit

Technical Operating Unit

Unité Technique d’Exploitation

Unité Technique d’Exploitation

Technische Bedrijfseenheid

Technische Bedrijfseenheid

 
Where can I learn more?

With offices in Brussels and Mechelen, we counsel employers on a wide range of labor and employment matters in Belgium, including the upcoming social elections. If you have particular concerns or questions regarding the social elections or other labor and employment matters, please contact one of the attorneys featured here.
 

Edward Carlier

Shareholder
+32 15 41 66 21

Erwin Crabeels

Shareholder

  
Check out Littler's News & Analysis for timely information regarding labor and employment issues throughout the European Union.

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