Voluntary donation of leave days in Belgium

by DLA Piper
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What is “voluntary donation of leave days”?

The system of “voluntary donation of leave days” gives the possibility to an employee who has a child (below 21 years) suffering from a particularly serious disease, a particularly serious handicap or who had a particularly serious accident to benefit from additional leave days donated by other employees of the company.

The proposed bill aims to introduce in our legislation this scheme which was already adopted in France in 2014 (loi Mathys).

Proposed system

Who can give and benefit from a donation of leave days?

This system would be applicable to employees and employers subject to the law of 5 December 1968 regarding collective bargaining agreements and joint committees.

It is important to highlight that this system would be purely voluntary, anonymous and without any counterpart.

Which leave days could be given?

According to the bill only conventional leave days would be given. That means that an employee could only donate:

  • Complementary leave days which are granted by individual or collective agreement
  • Recuperation days granted in the framework of the working time reduction and which are paid

Conditions to receive leave days

If a worker needs to take care of his child (below 21 years) who is suffering from a particularly serious disease, a particularly serious handicap or who had a particularly serious accident, he can benefit from voluntary donation leave days given by his colleagues. To benefit from it, the worker needs to:

  • Request to the employer to benefit from this system (the employer must give his agreement)
  • Be the parent of the child in the 1st grade and living together with the said child
  • The employee who is the partner of the parent of the child and is living together and take care of the daily education of the child
  • First take up all his holiday days and leave days (which he can freely take up)
  • Provide a medical certificate to the employer at his request

Implementation of the system

The system of “voluntary donation of leave days” should be implemented at sectorial level through a CBA. Nevertheless, CBAs could be adopted at company’s level if the competent joint committee did not conclude a collective bargaining agreement 6 months after the case was referred to the president of the latter committee by a representative organization or an employer. The aforementioned CBA's at company level needs to be organized by all the representative employees' organizations represented in the union delegation or through the work regulations.

Procedure

The employee, who fulfils the legal conditions thereto, notifies the employer his willingness to take up leave days and the amount of days needed (maximum two weeks renewable).

The contract of the employee who received leave days will be suspended (the employee will maintain his salary during his absence).

The employer notifies the other employees of the request for donation and how many days are needed.

The employee who benefits from conventional leave days (which he can freely dispose of) can on a voluntary basis inform the employer that he partly or fully waives his entitlement to these days as well as to the payment thereof, and donates these days to the employee who requested them.

The employer will guarantee the anonymity of the employees who participated to the donation of the leave days.

Actions

Depending on whether or not a CBA is concluded at sectorial level, an employer should assess whether a CBA should be concluded or the work regulations amended to introduce a system of “voluntary donation of leave days” .

[View source.]

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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