What is the legal background?
In contrast to other European countries, it was up and until now not possible in Belgium to employ personnel in the retail and distribution industry between 8 PM and 6 AM, resulting in operational issues for the Belgian e-commerce in particular.
In the course of 2015 several meetings took place between the minister of employment and the social partners in order to tackle this issue and to discuss the possibility to introduce a regime of night work specifically for e-commerce.
End December 2015, finally a framework agreement was reached between the Belgian social partners regarding night work, which was formalized on January 14, 2016 by the social partners in a collective labor agreement in the retail and distribution industries.
What does the new agreement state?
The collective labor agreement which has been concluded on a sector level in the retail and distribution industries contains the possibility to introduce night work for e-commerce activities as of January 1, 2016.
It is up to the employers to further fill in and tailor the night work regime on a company level.
Each employer who would like to introduce night work must on a company level, in consultation with the trade union delegation if any, determine amongst others:
These elements must be included in a company level collective bargaining agreement for employers with a trade union delegation or in the work rules for employers without a trade union delegation.
Further, the Joint Committee must also be informed about the introduction of night work by the employer.
How does this affect your business?
The new collective labor agreement enables Belgian e-commerce employers to employ personnel in a very flexible manner, e.g., orders can be prepared at night to ship the following morning.
Of course, K law can assist you with the implementation of such night work or any other flexible working regimes such as shift work related to e-commerce.
You can contact our expert lawyers Alexis Ceuterick or Sara Beutels for any questions you may have in this respect.
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* K law forms a cost association with KPMG Tax Advisers