Flexible timetables: finally there is a legal framework

Since the introduction of the Feasible and Manageable Work Act companies can opt to introduce flexible timetables, in line with new statutory provisions. Until recently flexible working hours may have been employed in practice, but it was a concept that was not a part of the laws and was only tolerated under specific circumstances. Flexible timetables allow employees to plan their work autonomously according to the workload and also to better combine their work with their private lives. 

The concept of flexible timetables
Within the scope of flexible timetables, employees can set their own start and end times for work as well as their breaks, as long as they comply with the preset required times and flexi-times.That time when the employee is required to be at work is the required time, while the periods where the employee can adjust the start and end of his or her workday as well as any breaks is the flexi-time. Flexible timetables can be employed by both fulltime and part-time employees. 

However, the flexible timetables cannot impair the effective work organisation and the employer can still demand the employee’s presence in certain situations, such as in order to attend meetings. The flexible timetable system was introduced under the Feasible and Manageable Work Act (Wet Werkbaar Wendbaar Werk) in the new article 20ter of the Labour Law, and has been effective as of 1 February 2017. Companies that wish to retain their existing flexible timetable systems, deviating from the new rules, had until 30 June 2017 to formalise their schemes in a collective agreement or in the company regulations. 

Introducing time-tracking systems to companies
The employer can introduce flexible timetables to the company through a collective agreement or in the company regulations. This collective agreement or company regulations must include a number of required details, including:

  • the hours when the employee is required to be present at the company (required time);
  • the average weekly working hours that must be worked within a reference period of 3 months, unless the collective agreement or company regulations provide for a different reference period (maximum of one year);
  • the times for the variable periods (flexi-time) where the employee determines his or her own time or arrival, departure and breaks;
  • the number of hours that can be worked, whether negative or positive;
  • the number of hours that can be worked, whether negative or positive, that can be carried over to the following reference period after the present one lapses. 

A time-tracking system must also be introduced. For every employee this system shall contain at least (i) the identity of the employee, (ii) the duration of the work performed every day and (iii) for part-time employees with a fixed timetable the start and end of the work period, as well as their breaks. This information must be kept for at least 5 years. 

Margin of flexibility
When applying flexible timetables, the threshold of 9 hours a day and 45 hours a week must always be taken into account.The employee shall have to fulfil his or her standard weekly working hours within the applicable reference period, which is generally 3 calendar months, unless it is adjusted in the collective agreement or the company regulations (it cannot exceed 1 year). 

No overtime is payable to the employee by the employer as long as the work is performed in compliance with the conditions and boundaries of the flexible timetables system. An employee employed under a flexible timetable can always exceed the limits of the timetable at the employer’s request, within the statutory conditions for working overtime (such as an exceptional workload), in which event overtime will be payable. 

Payment of wages
The employee remains entitled to receive his or her standard salary for the average weekly working hours (the monthly salary), which means the employee shall receive his or her salary irrespective of the overtime or ‘undertime’ worked in respect of the average weekly working hours. The employee is responsible for ensuring that he or she complies with the flexible time table system and applies it within the prescribed boundaries and conditions. 

If, at the conclusion of the reference period or the employment contract, it emerges that fewer hours were worked than the average weekly working hours, the employer may deduct the ‘excess’ salary paid.However, if it emerges at the conclusion of the reference period that the employee worked more hours than the average weekly working hours, then the employer shall only pay out for those hours that were worked at its request. 

Conclusion
Since the introduction of the Feasible and Manageable Work Act companies have been able to introduce a flexible timetable system.

  • company regulations must be amended with respect to flexible timetables
  • an addendum must be added to the company regulations in which all of the applicable rules for flexible timetables are set out in detail for the employee
  • a time-tracking system must be introduced 
Legally most correct solution
Successive usufruct: The Flemish Tax Office (Vlabel) confirms the method of levying the registration duties
On 10 December 2018, a remarkable position was published on the Vlabel website (Position no 18083 of 26 November 2018). The real estate tax system is becoming more and more sophisticated with more (tax) advantages. The question must therefore be asked whether the well-known "simple" usufruct will not be partially replaced by transactions with a double or successive usufruct. In the area of registr
From 1 January 2019
New Flemish Lease Decree
On 24 October 2018, the Flemish Parliament approved the new Flemish Lease Decree. In our newsletter of 26 October 2017, we already hinted at the changes that this new decree will bring about. One of the most important changes remains the decree's broad scope. On the one hand, extensive regulations are provided for the rental of a house intended as a main residence. What is new here is that the ter
Confirmed in writing to our office
Confirmed: both usufructuary and bare owner are to be included in the UBO register
The Belgian Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO) register went live on 31 October 2018. On the basis of the legal texts and the explanatory notes, as ultimate beneficiary/ies of companies, the natural person(s) who directly or indirectly hold(s) a sufficient percentage of the voting rights or of the ownership interest in this company must first be notified. A holding of at least 25% is an indication of
The advantage is a taxable benefit
Fiches and withholding tax on benefits granted by foreign companies
Should payments received from a foreign company be subject to withholding tax and should this be declared on a fiche? At the moment, the answer to this question is negative in most situations, but this is set to change. A new draft law dated 18 December 2018 provides for the introduction of a tax fiction that requires the (Belgian) employer of the beneficiary employee not only to withhold withh
The requirement to register gets a broader scope
More entrepreneurs must register with the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises (CBE)
Under the aim of creating a more attractive business climate, changes were made to the existing company law. In that context, the legislator has done away with the ‘trader’ concept, replacing it with the umbrella term ‘enterprise. Besides forming the basis for the rules of the Code of Economic Law, the Judicial Code and the Civil Code, the new enterprise concept also has consequences for reg
More specific: matrimonial property law
A new compensation obligation in the legal system
What if a spouse practices his profession in a company whose shares all form part of his separate property? The Act of 22 July 2018 has introduced considerable changes to matrimonial property law. This article addresses a specific addition to that law, namely the possible disadvantage incurred by the matrimonial property when a spouse practices their profession through their own company1. 
Changes in the cary proxy and usufruct
Estate planning: recent developments
Over the last few months, we have regularly reported on the important changes in estate planning and inheritance planning. Below is an update of some of those changes.   The care proxy: secure your estate for later The classic example is a person who, due to a physical or mental limitation (e.g. coma, dementia), is – temporarily or permanently – unable to manage their assets properly.
Happy Brexmas?
How to prepare your company for Brexit?
On 10 December 2018, the British Prime Minister decided to postpone the vote on the Brexit deal in the House of Commons. The risk of a ‘no deal’ disaster scenario is increasing. What are the important dates? On 29 March 2017, the United Kingdom formally informed the European Council of its intention to leave the EU (according to the procedure provided in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty). C
A popular control structure
The all-powerful manager of a civil-law partnership: was it always a fiction?
The civil-law partnership has long been a popular control structure among wealth planners. In many cases, donors do not want to give up their assets entirely, and still want to retain some control over what they donate. Definitely in cases of transfers of family companies, the donors (often parents or family members) still want to retain control over the course of the business.  The advant
The tax framework
Company subsidies: exempted or not?
Various subsidies were briefly described in the article by our colleagues from Strategy and Operations. They explained that they can assist you and your company with guidance on subsidies, from A to Z.1 In this context, we would like to discuss the tax framework for subsidies: how are awarded subsidies treated tax-wise within companies? Are these subsidies exempt from corporation tax and, if

Subscribe to our newsletter