New legislation on psychosocial risks at work: Employer action required

Following new legislation regarding psychosocial risks in the work place, employers need to be aware of several necessary actions.

The new legislation on psychosocial risks at work

In the past, an employee could only file a complaint and initiate a formal or informal procedure after being subjected to violence and/or moral or sexual harassment at work. Following the new legislation, which entered into force on 1 September 2014, an employee can now start procedures whenever he or she claims to be suffering moral or physical damage at work (including stress, burn-out, etc.).

As well as its extension across all psychosocial risks, the new legislation entails the following important changes:

  • Clarification of roles for all prevention players in the company and the exchange of information between the different players;
  • Change of statute for the person of trust (such as new incompatibilities and mandatory 5-day training);
  • The victims of violence or moral/sexual harassment at work can claim a lump-sum compensation equivalent to 3 months' salary before the Labour tribunal.

Required action from employers

Starting 1 September 2014, employers have 6 months (until 1 March 2015) to take a number of important actions:

  • Carry out a general analysis of all psychosocial risks at work (including stress and burn-out) and determine the prevention measures that will deal with these risks in cooperation with the Health and Safety Committee (in the absence thereof, with the trade union delegation; if also unavailable, with the employees themselves);
  • Develop internal procedures related to formal and informal intervention with respect to all psychosocial risks (including but not limited to violence and moral/sexual harassment at work).
  • Modify the current work rules (following the ‘simple' procedure):
  • include at least the contact details of the prevention advisor for "psychosocial aspects" or the service for prevention and protection on the work floor, the person of trust's contact details;
  • include the (adapted) internal prevention measures that will be implemented to deal with all psychosocial risks at work;
  • include the internal procedures related to formal and informal intervention.

As from 1 January 2015, the global prevention and yearly action plans should also be adapted in order to comply with the new requirements.