New salary ceilings
as from 1 January 2014

The law of 3 July 1978 relating to
the employment contracts

The principle of the annual adaptation of the salary ceilings for the implementation of the law of 3 July 1978 relating to the employment contracts is laid down in article 131 of the law.

Accordingly, the salary ceilings are adapted annually, as from 1 January, in consideration of the evolution of the salaries, as fixed in accordance with the collective labour agreements for the private sector.

These salary ceilings (or at least two thereof) remain relevant, also after the modifications to the law relating to employment contracts, introducing the unique status blue-collar workers/white-collar workers.

These modifications should become applicable – in principle – as from 1 January 2014 (hereafter “the new law”).

Reference to this new law is made subject to all reservations, because it is based on information, we have available concerning the draft law, without having had the opportunity to examine the text of the draft law itself.

As from 1 January 2014, the salary ceilings are adapted as follows:


the first ceiling of EUR. 32,254 becomes EUR. 32,886;


the second ceiling of EUR. 38,665 becomes EUR. 39,422;


the third ceiling of EUR. 64,508 becomes EUR. 65,771.






The salary ceiling of EUR 32,886
will be relevant in the context of the new law in connection with :

the possibility to include a schooling clause in the employment contract;

the possibility to provide for a non-compete obligation in the employment contract;

the determination of the length of the notice period to be respected by the employer towards white-collar workers in consideration of the time of service prior to 1 January 2014;

the determination of the maximum notice period to be respected by the white-collar workers in consideration of the time of service prior to 1 January 2014.

The second salary ceiling, equivalent to EUR. 39,422 will not have any relevance anymore with respect to the employment contracts entered into as from 1 January 2014, because the probation period will not be applicable anymore in accordance with the new law for these employment contracts.

The third salary ceiling of EUR 65,771 will be relevant in the context of the new law in connection with :

the possibility to include a non-compete obligation in the employment contract for workers not having the status of commercial representative;

the possibility to provide for an arbitration clause in the employment contract;

the determination of the maximum notice period to be respected by the white-collar workers in consideration of the time of service prior to 1 January 2014.

In accordance with the present article 82§5 of the law relating to the employment contracts, the notice period, to be respected by the employer, may be determined by agreement, entered into at the latest at starting date of employment.

Whether these agreements will remain enforceable within the framework of the new law for the determination of the notice period in consideration of the time of service prior to 1 January 2014 – and, consequently, whether the third salary ceiling remains relevant in this context within the framework of the new law – remains as yet, on the basis of the available information, an open question.

06 November 2013

Marcel Houbenmarcel.houben@peeters-law.be