Simplifying part-time work

Employment Alert

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To simplify and modernize the labor market, the "Flexible and Workable Work" act (FWW-act) updates the rules regarding part-time work, with variable or fixed working schemes.

The previous rules

Before the FWW-act, the employer had to, both for fixed and variable working schemes:

  • Conclude a written employment contract with the employee containing his fixed/variable weekly working time and the applicable working scheme
  • Mention all potentially applicable working schemes in the work regulations
  • Keep a hard copy of each individual part-time employment contract (or an extract thereof containing the working scheme) at the same place where the work regulations can be consulted by the employees

Employers also needed to register every derivation to the part-time fixed/ variable working scheme in a paper document or by a time registration system (meeting specific conditions). In the latter case, the data registered by the system had to be printed out and stored by the employer.

For employees with a part-time variable working scheme, the employer also had to, unless otherwise determined in a collective bargaining agreement or in the work regulations:

  • Notify each employee of his daily working scheme at least 5 days in advance by means of an individual and dated paper-form notification
  • Store this notification at least for one year

However, the previous legislation also provided the possibility to work out a different procedure by collective labor agreement or in the work regulations.

How does the FWW-act simplify these rules?

Changes to variable part-time working schemes

Part-time employment contracts must no longer refer to the specifically applicable variable working scheme. Instead, the contract can merely state that variable working schemes, determined according to the rules set out in the work regulations, will apply.

These work regulations no longer have to include all potentially applicable variable part-time working schemes. Instead, a general framework for the application of variable part-time working schemes can be determined in the work regulations, enabling the employees to determine their potentially applicable working schemes. This general framework must at least contain:

  • The time at which the working day can start (at the earliest) and end (at the latest)
  • The days of the week during which the performance of work could be possible
  • The minimum and maximum daily working time. In case of a variable working time with respect of an average working time over a certain reference period, the minimum and maximum weekly working time should also be mentioned
  • The procedure to notify employees of their working scheme

Note that the aforementioned simplification only applies to the part-time variable working schemes. The variable working schemes for full-time employees must therefore still be included in the work regulations.

The way employees are notified of their variable working scheme is also updated. Employees can be notified of their working scheme electronically 5 days in advance (e.g. by fax, e-mail or a message on the company's intranet,..). This notification timeframe can however be reduced to minimum 1 day by collective bargaining agreement.

Changes to fixed part-time working schemes

For part-time employees, the fixed working schemes must still be mentioned in the employment contract. However:

  • The different possible fixed working schemes no longer have to be included in the work regulations
  • The fixed working scheme determined in the employment contract has to be compatible with the working time applicable in the company, as foreseen in the work regulations. This means that the working time of the part-time employee must fall within the frame of the working time that is applied in the company

Changes to both fixed and variable part-time work

In view of the simplification and the modernization pursued by the FWW-act, the employment contracts for part-time employees with fixed or variable working schemes can be stored electronically from now on.

The FWW-act also introduces a new time monitoring system to register derivations to the regularly applicable working schemes.. This time monitoring system must register for every individual employee:

  • His identity
  • The beginning and the end of the employee's performance, per day
  • The beginning and the end of the employee's resting breaks
  • The period covered by the registered data

Every employee and the social inspection authorities must be able to consult at all times the registered data.

Action points

(i) Decide on the possibility to store part-time employment contracts electronically.

(ii) When implementing a time monitoring system to register derivations to the part-time working schemes, make sure this monitoring complies with the legally defined conditions.

(iii) When using part-time working schemes, modify the work regulations to:

  • Provide for a legal framework, according to which the employees can determine their potentially applicable part-time variable working schemes
  • Determine a procedure to notify employees of their applicable working schemes

Return to "Flexible work".