Part-time employees: the long-awaited Royal Decree

For 30 years, the Programme Act of 22 December 1989 has provided for the possibility for the part-time employee to submit a request to the employer for full-time employment or another, whether or not additional, part-time employment that increases the weekly working time of the employment. It was up to the King to stipulate the terms, conditions and other detailed rules of the obligations that fall on the employer in this respect. On 2 May 2019, this long-awaited Royal Decree has been adopted (Belgian State Gazette, 15 May 2019).

An employee can submit a written request to the employer for full-time employment, or another, whether or not additional, part-time employment that increases the weekly working time of the employment. In this case, after having confirmed the receipt of the request, the employer must inform the employee in writing of any vacant full-time or part-time employment that concerns the same position as that of the employee concerned and for which the employee has the required qualifications.

The Royal Decree of 2 May 2019 clarifies that the employer only has to notify the employee when the vacant employment would result in an increase of the agreed working arrangement during an uninterrupted period of at least one month or for an indefinite time, either by amending the existing agreement, or by concluding a new employment agreement.

The notification of the vacant employment must be made within a period of one month from the day following the day on which the employment becomes vacant and this by registered letter, by personal delivery of the letter of which the double is signed for receipt or electronically also with acknowledgement of receipt.

The notification must mention the following information:

  • the period within which the employee needs to react (between one week and one month);
  • a brief description of the position;
  • the duration of the agreement;
  • the volume of work and the timetable;
  • the place of employment.

A copy of the notification must be kept on paper or in electronic form for seven years.

If the part-time employee benefits from an income guarantee allowance, a responsibility contribution of EUR 25 per month could be due by the employer who does not comply with the above rules. This contribution could be due for the first time in the second quarter of 2020.

Key message

Inform your part-time employees in a timely and correct manner of the vacancies that could increase their working time if they have requested this correctly.

Related : Claeys & Engels

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