Legal insights

When communication goes wrong

About the employee's fault and the importance of a good dismissal file

Since the entry into force of CLA 109, employees have the right to know the reasons for their dismissal. If an employee does not agree with these reasons, he or she can go to the Labour Court and claim damages on the basis of the so-called manifestly unreasonable dismissal. CLA 109 has led to an increasing number of dismissal disputes.

Newsflash - UBO Register - Deadline 30 November 2018

UBO register: legal framework 

The law of 18 September 2017 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing and limitations to the use of cash (hereafter the “Law”) provides for the creation in Belgium of a centralised register of beneficial owners (the English acronym “UBO” stands for “Ultimate Beneficial Owner”) (hereafter the “UBO register”).

Newsflash: The transposition of a European Directive modifies article 17 of the Employment Contracts Act

With a view to the transposition into national law of Directive (EU) 2016/943 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2016 on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure (hereinafter 'the Directive'), on 19 July 2018, the House of Representatives adopted a draft law and submitted it to the King for ratification.

RECENT JURISDICTION OF THE COURT OF JUSTICE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION CASTS DOUBT ON THE VALIDITY OF SEVERAL URBAN PLANNING REGULATIONS

Nowadays, the Flemish environmental law makes a distinction between measures concerning spatial planning and urban building regulations. Only measures concerning spatial planning require an environmental impact assessment to be carried out. However, the articles 2 and 3 of the Strategic Environmental Assessment directive (from now on: SEA Directive) refer to ‘plans and programmes’ without making such a distinction. All ‘plans and programmes’ are subject to an environmental impact assessment.

NEXT STEP TAKEN FOR NEW BELGIAN MARITIME CODE

Next step taken for new Belgian Maritime Code

The council of ministers has sent the draft of the new Maritime Code to the Council of State on 22 December 2017.

With this step the preparations of this big reform have come to an end. Since 2006 a team of shipping law specialists has been working on this draft. After some public consultations and negotiations with several stakeholders it has been decided by the government to leave out two controversial parts of the reform. Marine insurance and cargo claims have been lifted out of the reform.

IPA 2017-2018 AND MODIFICATION OF THE WAGE NORM ACT

Every two years a wage norm, determining the margin for the development of wage costs in our country, is established in order to maintain the competitiveness of the Belgian economy.

Reclassification of a contractor’s agreement into an employment relationship: Supreme Court overrules principal because the contract is not foolproof

The phenomenon of fake self-employment is as old as labour law itself, but nevertheless remains very relevant. This is again illustrated by a judgement of the Supreme Court of 10th October 2016, where the Court stated that the right to apply disciplinary sanctions is incompatible with the existence of an independent contractor’s agreement.

Update on anti-piracy rules in Belgium

With the publication of a Royal Decree of 1 September 2016 in the Official Belgian State Gazette, the last update of the Belgian anti-piracy rules is now in place.

Armed guards on Belgian flagged vessels are allowed (under certain conditions) since the law of 16 January 2013. Meanwhile some of the rules on this topic have changed. I will give a brief outline of the recent changes.

Geographical limits

THE BELGIAN COMPETITION AUTHORITY ADOPTS NEW LENIENCY GUIDELINES

On March 1st, 2016, the Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) adopted new leniency guidelines.

An undertaking that is a participant in a (secret) cartel (e.g. price agreements amongst competitors, restriction of production, allocation of markets), risks a fine of up to 10% of its turnover (Article IV.70, §1 Code of Economic Law).

BELGIAN LEGAL INTEREST RATE FOR THE YEAR 2016

The legal interest rate for the year 2016 has been set at 2,25 % (publication in the Belgian Official Gazette of 18 January 2016).

The interest rate of 2015 was 2.50 %

The interest rate according to the law on the late payment in commercial transactions (Law of 02/08/2002 on combating late payment in commercial transactions, modified by the Law of 22 November 2013, B.S. 10/12/2013) amounts to 8.5% for the 1st semester 2016 (communication in the Belgian Law Gazette of 01 February 2016).

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