Every four years the Belgian companies of the private sector hold social elections for the worker representatives in the works council and the health and safety committee. The Act of 4 April 2020 has amended the general Act on social elections of 2007 in order to introduce some novelties for the upcoming elections of 2020.
First, the Act of 4 April 2009 sets the possible dates of social elections from 11 to 24 May 2020. It also provides for an early reference period from 1 October 2018 to 30 September 2019, during which the number of staff of the Technical Business Unit (company) must be taken into account to reach the thresholds for establishing a works council (from 100 employees) and the health and safety committee (from 50 employees). In the previous elections of 2016, the reference period fell later, so that in certain cases the election calendar already started, while the reference period had not yet ended.
The reference period for taking into account the temporary agency workers for the number of persons employed in the TBE has also been brought forward compared to the previous elections. This is now the second quarter of 2019. Previously, the user (the company where the temporary workers perform their work) had to keep a register with the names of the agency workers during the reference period. This additional administrative burden is now no longer mandatory, if the works council unanimously declares that the threshold of 100 employees will be exceeded.
In addition, temporary agency workers may also vote for the first time. In order to obtain the right to vote, temporary agency workers must meet some conditions with regard to a minimum duration of employment during several reference periods.
Finally, work has been done on the further digitisation of the procedure through the expansion of governments’ e-box web application, the electronic posting of election notices and, above all, the facilitation of the possibility of electronic voting. Moreover, the employees can vote from their usual workstation (i.e. via their own computer), which makes voting a lot more comfortable for the employees.