Belgium – Social Elections 2016: Clock Is Ticking (Part 3)

The procedure involving social elections to designate the members of the Works Council (“WC”) and/or Committee for the Prevention and Protection on the Work Floor (“CPPW”) are under way (See, VBB on Business Law, Volume 2015, No 10, p. 16; and No 11, p. 16, available at www.vbb.com).

The elections (day Y or day X+90) will take place between 9 May and 22 May 2016, depending on the choice of the employer. The lists of candidates were filed (day X+35), between 15 March and 28 March 2016 (depending on the actual election day) and the candidates are now known to the employer. Between day X+35 and day X+40, the numbers of the lists are determined by the Minister of Labour and ultimately on day X+40 the lists of candidates should be posted. Posting can also involve an electronic publication if all employees are able to access this document during normal working hours.

If no lists of candidates were filed, if the candidatures are withdrawn or if the candidatures are declared null and void by the labour court, the procedure will be stopped and no social elections will take place. The decision to stop the procedure should be notified to staff and to the authorities. The procedure can also be partially stopped in the above situations for a specific category of employees, while continuing for the other categories of employees to which the above situations do not apply.    

On day X+47 any modifications to the list of candidates are made (name of a candidate or withdrawal candidacy). During a period of 7 days after the posting of the lists of candidates, the candidates and the trade unions may file a complaint with the employer related to the candidates. One day after the date of receipt of such a complaint, the employer will inform the trade union that had nominated the candidate. The trade union has until day X+54 to modify the list of candidates, subject to exceptions. The trade unions are exceptionally able to replace candidates until day X+76 in specific situations (death; withdrawal of candidacy on day X+47; resignation of candidate as employee; resignation of candidate from the trade union; or change of category of the candidate).

The employer can file an appeal before the labour courts against the lists of candidates during the period between day X+47 and day X+52, if no complaint is made by the candidates and/or the representative trade unions, and during the period between day X+56 and day X+61 against the modified lists of candidates after a complaint of the candidates and/or the trade unions. The courts must hand down a judgment within 14 days following receipt of the appeal.

On day X+77 the candidate lists are finalised and the voting notes are drafted.

In the period between day X+40 and day X+70 the polling stations are established.

On day X+80 the voters receive their polling card for the election day on day X+90 or day Y.