Restructuring: New Recommendations from the National Labor Council – Will They Lead to More Legal Certainty and a Simplification of the Process?
10/11/2020

On October 27, 2020, the National Labor Council (NLC) adopted a new set of recommendations (Advice no. 2.184 – you can find the full text here). These recommendations result from and are in line with the agreement reached by the social partners on December 17, 2019 (see our Alert of January 14, 2020).

The NLC’s Recommendations

The NLC proposes that the Belgian government homepage (www.herstructureringen.be / www.restructurations.be) be aligned with its new recommendations, and, more specifically, with recommendation no. 1 (definition of restructuring), no. 2 (centralization of legislative texts) and no. 3 (simplification and improvement of information flows between authorities and employers). Following this, the NLC suggests that an interactive tool be created, which would provide answers on the basis of the data entered (legislation in force, procedure(s) to be followed, etc.).

Recommendation no. 1: Definition of Restructuring

The NLC recommends that the concept of restructuring not only been given a concrete definition, but also be described using additional clarification and examples. 

Recommendation no. 2: Centralization of Legislative Texts

The NLC emphasizes the importance to centralize, in a coherent way, the different legislative texts in force relating to restructurings, by paying particular attention to (i) the level at which the legislation has been implemented (European, federal, regional and/or sectoral), (ii) the actual topic covered and (iii) cases where topics overlap.

Recommendation no. 3: Simplification and Improvement of the Information Flow Between Authorities and Employers Using a One-Stop-Shop and a Unique Information Platform

One-stop-shop

For companies in restructuring, it is important that a more efficient way of communication (based on the “once only” principle) be developed. The NLC, therefore, recommends implementing a web application that would allow companies undergoing a restructuring to fulfil their obligations more easily, and improve legal certainty by providing a single point of contact for notifications.

For example, in the case of a collective dismissal procedure, the company concerned is obliged to inform both the director of the employment service (tewerkstellingsdienst / service regional de l’emploi) of the place where the company is based (ACTIRIS/VDAB/FOREM/ADG) and the president of the executive committee of the Federal Public Service for Employment (Voorzitter van het directiecomité van de FOD WASO/Président du comité de direction du SPF ETCS). The NLC’s proposal would allow companies to notify their intentions and decisions taken within the framework of the collective dismissal procedure through a single operation via the web application. This means that the company concerned would have confirmation that it had fulfilled its legal obligations as soon as the web application had validated the notification.

According to the NLC, this new procedure would eliminate all problems related to the mail/postal system (e.g., wrong postal address, lost mail, printing of bulky documents, etc.). Also, the issue of which competent regional employment service to inform would be resolved: each service would have access to the information and be notified when new information was uploaded.

A unique information platform

The unique information platform would bring together, in a coordinated and anonymous manner, all provisions taken in connection with restructuring. This should improve legal certainty and allow all parties concerned to be kept informed. The NLC sees this platform as a source of “good practices” that would help and support companies in their restructuring. It is intended to be a dynamic information tool providing examples of how to anticipate and/or manage a restructuring.

The recommendations of the NLC can only be welcomed, although it remains to be seen if and when these recommendations will be implemented.

Our Brussels Labor & Employment practice is available to advise and assist your company throughout the restructuring process. We will continue to closely monitor activity in this area and report on future developments.

   
Emmanuel Plasschaert
Partner – Brussels
Phone: +32.2.282.4084
Email: eplasschaert@crowell.com
 
Evelien Jamaels
Counsel – Brussels
Phone: +32.2.214.2814
Email: ejamaels@crowell.com
 
Stefanie Tack
Counsel – Brussels
Phone: +32.2.282.1848
Email: stack@crowell.com
 
Adrien Moureaux
Associate – Brussels
Phone: +32.2.214.2872
Email: amoureaux@crowell.com
 

Voir aussi : Crowell & Moring

[+ http://www.crowell.com]


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