Employers who employ 20 or more employees are obliged to comply with this new right to de-connect.
What does this right entail?
The right to de-connect introduced through the Belgian Labour Deal, gives the employee some safeguards to avoid having to be constantly available or ‘online’ after working hours. Concretely, employers have to work out the following three modalities.
- The practical modalities of the employee’s right not to be available outside his or her working schedule. For example: guidelines not to answer e-mails or calls outside working hours, turning off servers outside working hours, activating absence messages and referral messages, using e-mail signatures that emphasise the non-necessity of an immediate response…
- The guidelines for the use of digital tools so that the employee’s rest periods, holidays, private and family life are safeguarded.
- Training and awareness-raising actions, both for employees and managers, on the wise use of digital tools and the risks associated with excessive connection.
Introduction in the working regulations (or company CLA)
According to the Belgian labour deal this right to de-connect, employers must lay down the right to de-connect in the working regulations or in a collective labour agreement (CLA) at company level at the latest by 1 January 2023.
As this deadline is approaching, it has been decided that the government will in practice tolerate that the adaptation of the working regulations or the introduction of a collective labour agreement may be done at the latest 3 months later, so by 1 April 2023.
Please note that the procedure has to be final at that time, meaning that the CLA must have been deposited at or a copy of the working regulations must have been sent to the authorities by 1 April 2023.