INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYMENT LAW
In the individual employment law arena, we can assist you right from the recruitment stage, through all HR issues during employment, all the way up to termination of employment. More specifically, we can help you with:
- Recruitment and selection
- Drafting employment agreements
- Drafting customised work rules which comply with the applicable language legislation
- Trial periods
- Temporary employment and using a temp agency
- Posting of workers in foreign countries
- Non-competition clauses
- Optimising pay conditions
- Bonuses and incentives
- Termination procedures
- Dismissal for compelling reasons
- Implied dismissal
- Wrongful dismissal
- Restraint of trade
- Confidentiality obligations
- Maternity leave
- Time credits (sabbaticals)
- Paid leave
- Changing the terms of employment
- Protection of intellectual property rights
- Supplementary pensions
- Hospitalisation insurance
- Impact of new technologies
- And much more.
Together with our colleagues in the Corporate & Finance Department, we can also advise you on the qualification of the employment relationship, the drafting of freelancer and consultancy contracts, the combination of corporate powers and employment or service agreements, possible issues of false self-employment, etc.
Our team supports our clients in negotiations when an employer wishes to engage or dismiss an employee, drafts all types of contracts and other documentation, assists clients with legal and administrative formalities, and protects their interests in court proceedings.
COLLECTIVE EMPLOYMENT LAW
Under this heading we provide advice on the organisation of social elections, the negotiation and conclusion of collective employment agreements, reorganisation, relocation of operational sites, outsourcing transactions and takeovers. We assist our clients with changes to joint committees and the consequences for industrial relations. We also provide assistance in managing industrial disputes.
Social dialogue (collective bargaining) in Belgium is an extremely intricate mechanism. Those engaging in it must possess considerably expertise, with regard to both the applicable regulations and the mechanisms for negotiating with trade unions. We assist our clients with preparation for these important processes and support them during the negotiations with the employee representatives and during every stage of the implementation process.
SOCIAL SECURITY (INCL. SUPPLEMENTARY PENSIONS)
Astrea has amassed particular experience and expertise in the area of social security law as it affects both employees and self-employed persons.
We assist our clients in disputes concerning social security for employees, the regulations concerning contributions and reimbursements, and assistance with social inspection visits.
In addition, we advise our clients on the consequences of end-of-career schemes and the introduction or amendment of supplementary pension plans, legal obligations to inform and consult employees or their representatives, advice regarding pensions in the event of the transfer of a business, disputes over pensions, etc.
Finally, we assist clients operating internationally with the legal aspects of secondments and salary splitting, and more specifically, with the social security aspects of international employment.
SALARY AND BENEFITS
Astrea advises its clients on how to create individual and/or collective salary and benefit schemes that will best motivate and retain their employees. These may be based on the personal objectives of the employees, the broader objectives of the company, or market objectives. This means that we assist our clients by designing and optimising salary packages, variable remuneration, bonus plans, plans for financial participation, savings plans, pension plans, profit-sharing schemes, and so on.
Because so many of our clients operate at an international level, we have built up specific expertise in multi-jurisdictional salary and benefit schemes and the remuneration of both foreign workers in Belgium and Belgian employees working abroad.
In collaboration with our colleagues in other departments, we advise our clients on all of the employment law, company law and tax aspects which are relevant to the implementation of these sorts of plans and schemes.
In today’s global economy, it increasingly happens that highly educated employees are sent to work in other countries, or decide to migrate to other countries independently. Some employees want to establish themselves permanently in their host country. Others migrate on a temporary basis for shorter or longer periods, sometimes with frequent return trips to their home country. There are employees who are seconded or transferred within large multinationals, employees who are temporarily posted to another country for an international project, and employees who are employed in two countries simultaneously (and generally take advantage of the ‘salary split’).
Astrea provides a comprehensive range of legal services to ensure that every aspect of inbound and outbound international employment goes smoothly.
We assist our clients with applications for work permits for foreign employees, professional cards for self-employed persons and/or residence permits for Belgians living overseas. We also assist with the correct completion and submission of Limosa declarations, A1 forms, etc.
In collaboration with our Corporate & Finance and Tax Departments, the Social Law Department also advises Belgian and foreign companies concerning all tax and social security law aspects of international employment, such as the setting up of attractive remuneration schemes, salary splits, or a policy on the reimbursement of business expenses.
Given the growing risk of incurring collective liability, as an employer, or individual liability, as a director or business manager, for breach of the applicable workplace wellness legislation, our clients are increasingly asking us to advise them on how they can ensure compliance with the applicable legislation and what actions they should take.
We carry out audits for our clients, which result in a number of practical recommendations, and help them implement the recommendations, for example by drafting rules and policy documents, or organising internal training for our clients’ legal or HR personnel.