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Outplacement: a legal obligation

Outplacement is a legal obligation in Belgium for any employer who lays off an employee over 45 years of age or with 30 weeks’ notice.

Since 1 January, 2014, employers’ obligation to outplacement has expanded considerably. 2 legal regimes apply: 

The Outplacement system known as the “general system”

The employer is required to send a valid offer of occupational reclassification to any dismissed worker (irrespective of age) whose notice period is at least 30 weeks (or an equivalent in severance pay).

Under the new regulation, however, a distinction must be made when the dismissed worker has to give a notice period or if he or she benefits from severance pay.

In case of breach of immediate contract

The employer is obliged to send a valid offer of outplacement to the dismissed worker within 15 days of the notification of the dismissal.

The dismissed worker is entitled to:

  • Severance pay of at least 26 weeks.
  • Outplacement guidance and support of 60 hours. 4 weeks of his or her annual remuneration for the preceding calendar year (minimum € 1,800 and maximum € 5,500) are therefore deducted from the severance payments to finance his or her professional redeployment programme.

If notice is given

The employer is obliged to send a valid outplacement offer to the dismissed worker within 4 weeks of the end of the contract. The worker has 4 weeks to accept or reject it.

The dismissed worker is entitled to:

  • Severance pay of at least 30 weeks.
  • Outplacement guidance and support of 60 hours. The time spent on outplacement is considered as paid leave to look for work.

Outplacement is extended to the public sector only under the general scheme.

The old Outplacement system known as the “specific system”

A worker over 45 with a notice period of less than 30 weeks is still entitled to outplacement under certain conditions:

  • Be at least 45 years old at the time of dismissal (joint labour-management commissions may lower the age at which the outplacement procedure becomes mandatory).
  • Not to have been dismissed for serious misconduct.
  • Have at least one year of uninterrupted seniority with the employer at the time of termination.
  • To work at least part-time.
  • Not to be old enough to benefit from the retirement pension.

Daoust is here for all employees who are made redundant!

Do you have to separate from employees whose notice period is less than 30 weeks? Although the outplacement process is not mandatory for them, you can offer them Outplacement Daoust and help them get back into the job market.

Do you want to know more or receive an offer?
Contact Daoust Outplacement on 02/548.94.66 or via outplacement@daoust.be.

070/22 11 40
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