Day X – 30

10 January 2016 if the elections
take place on 9 May 2016

The workers, who are presented by the trade unions as a candidate for the social elections, are protected against termination of their employment contract.

They may be laid off only for just cause or for economic or technical reasons, which have to be approved, in principle, prior to the implementation of the lay-off. Furthermore, a strict procedure has to be complied with.

The failure to respect this protection is heavily sanctioned; reintegration may be applied for and high indemnities (depending on the time of service, potentially as high as 7 years remuneration) may be due.

On this day X – 30 (10 January 2016 if the elections take place on 9 May 2016), this protection period takes off, although – as an employer – you do not know yet who will be presented as a candidate.

As a matter of fact, the ultimate date for presenting the candidates for the elections is 20 March 2016 (if the elections take place on 9 may 2016). Consequently, until that date, laying-off workers is a risky and may turn out to be a very expensive exercise, because the fact that a worker is laid off during this obscure period does not necessarily prevent a trade union from presenting him as a candidate.

And the uncertainty may even go beyond that date: indeed, depending on whether complaints would be filed against the presentation of (a) candidate(s), the list of candidates may be modified up until day X + 54 (3 April 2016 if the elections take place on 9 May 2016).


  Day Y  
  Day Y + 2