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This report summarises the results of Littler’s first annual European survey on which legal and HR issues are having the greatest impact on the workplace. It is based on survey responses from over 800 C-suite executives, HR professionals, and in-house counsel across Europe. The 2018 Europe Survey Infographic summarising the report, is available at https://www.littler.com/files/2018_european_labour_employment_survey_infographic.pdf A full version of the report is available on https://www.littler.com/files/2018_littler_executive_employer_survey-europe.pdf
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Employers must pay social security charges (approximately 30%) in addition to the employee's salary. Employers must also withhold 13.07% employee social security contributions. The employer is liable for the payment of both. No social security charges are due on payments or benefits that are not salary. Albeit there are many exceptions for specific types of benefits, every benefit in cash or kind to which the employee is entitled at charge of the employer, is salary subject to social security contributions. Initially, "at charge of the employer" ruled out any benefit that was not paid by or (directly or indirectly) financially at charge of the employer. The social security authorities and case law however broadened this concept to also include benefits that are not (directly or indirectly) at charge of the employer from a financial perspective, but where employees have a right against their employer to claim them. Recently, the social security authorities have extended the notion of salary even further. It now also includes, at least according to the social security authorities, payments or benefits that are not financially nor legally at charge of the employer, but that would simply disappear once the employment ends. This would also include payments or benefits that are granted by third parties during (and linked to) the employment contract and of which the employer may not even be aware (e.g. rebates offered to the employer's staff on third-party services or goods or incentives to promote such third-party services or goods). It remains to be seen whether the position of the social security authorities will be confirmed by majority of case law. ■
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Three attorneys of Reliance (Anne-Valérie Michaux, Sophie Gérard and Sophie Sottiaux) are the authors of an article in the Belgian Employment Law Magazine. This article summarizes the findings of a thorough case law analysis of the first 250 decisions rendered on unfair dismissal since the entering into force of the new legal framework in 2014 ("manifestly unreasonable dismissal", CBA No. 109). Case law appears to be lenient towards employers, as vast majority of employees' claims have been dismissed. This is in line with the rationale behind CBA No. 109, which is to limit the employer's obligation to pay additional compensation (ranging from 3 to 17 weeks' salary) to situations where the employer acted particularly unreasonable. A copy of the article can be found on https://reliancelaw.be/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Publication-Reliance-unfair-dismissal.pdf.
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The law of 30 July 2018 implements EU Directive of 8 June 2016 on the protection of undisclosed know-how and business information (trade secrets) against their unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure. Prior to this law, Belgium had no dedicated legal framework to protect undisclosed know how and business information. The law introduces a new set of rules through changes in the Economic law Code, the Judicial Code and the Law on Employment Contracts, entitling trade secret holders to apply for specific measures, procedures and remedies in order to prevent, or obtain redress for, the unlawful acquisition, use or disclosure of their trade secret. The definition of trade secrets covers know-how, business information and technological information where there is both a legitimate interest in keeping them confidential and a legitimate expectation that such confidentiality will be preserved. Neither the Directive nor the law are intended to affect the possibility of concluding non-competition agreements between employers and employees nor do they limit employees' use of experience and skills honestly acquired in the normal course of their employment. ■