Voluntary donation of leave days in Belgium

Employment Alert

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What is "voluntary donation of leave days"?

The system of voluntary donation of leave days gives the possibility to an employee who has a child (below 21 years) suffering from a particularly serious disease, a particularly serious handicap or who had a particularly serious accident to benefit from additional leave days donated by other employees of the company.

How does it work?

Who can give and benefit from a donation of leave days?

The employees pertaining to the private sector.

Further, donating leave days will always be purely voluntary, anonymous and without any counterpart.

Which leave days can be donated?

Only non-statutory, conventional leave days can be donated, meaning that only the following leave days can be donated:

  • Non-statutory leave days which are granted by individual or collective agreement
  • Paid working time reduction days (arbeidsduurverminderingsdagen, jours de réduction de temps de travail), granted granted to compensate the hours of work performed in excess to the applicable weekly working time limit

Conditions to receive leave days

If a worker needs to take care of his child (below 21 years) who is suffering from a particularly serious disease, a particularly serious handicap or who had a particularly serious accident, he can benefit from leave days which were voluntarily donated to him by his colleagues. To be eligible for such donated leave days, the worker must live together with the concerned child, and:

  • Request to the employer to benefit from this system (the employer must give his agreement)
  • Be the parent of the child, or be the partner of the child's parent and take care of the daily education of the child
  • First take up all his accrued holidays and compensatory leave days (which he can freely take up)
  • Provide a medical certificate to the employer at his request

Implementation of the system

The system of voluntary donation of leave days must be implemented at sectoral level through a CBA. It can also be adopted at company level if the competent joint committee did not conclude a CBA 6 months after the case was referred to the president of the competent joint committee, either by concluding a CBA at company level (in companies with a trade union delegation) or by modifying the work regulations (in companies without a trade union delegation).

Procedure

The requesting employee fulfilling the legal conditions notifies the employer of his willingness to take up leave days, and of the amount of days needed (maximum two weeks renewable).

The employer notifies the other employees of the request for donation, and how many days are needed by the requesting employee.

The donating employee who benefits from conventional leave days which he can freely dispose of, can on a voluntary basis inform the employer that he partly or fully waives his entitlement to these days as well as to the payment thereof, and donates these days to the requesting employee.

During the take up of donated leave days, the employment contract of the receiving employee will be suspended (the employee will maintain his salary level during his absence).

The employer will guarantee the anonymity of all employees participating to the donation of the leave days.

Actions

Depending on whether or not a CBA is concluded at sectoral level, an employer should assess if it is appropriate to introduce a system of voluntary donation of leave days at company level, i.e. by concluding a CBA at company level (active trade union delegation) or by modifying the work regulations (no trade union delegation).