Liedekerke’s prestigious Employment & Benefits team, one of the largest and best-known practices in Belgium, advises and assists clients concerning all matters related to Belgian and European labour and employment law. Our team seeks to offer clients pragmatic, business-driving solutions that translate to fair employment policies, trust in leadership, and strong company culture.
A company’s people are its most valuable asset but also its most complex to manage.
The pandemic has not been the only seismic change to rock the world of work. Increased digitisation and globalisation, the emergence of the hybrid workplace, changing processes and workflow, and labour market trends such as the Great Resignation have all had a hand in transforming traditional work relationships.
Now, company leaders and human resources teams face many challenges. Shifting expectations of employers and ever-growing emphasis on workplace culture, along with increased focus on preventing workplace harassment and discrimination, have left many employers wanting to do better by their people, but unsure what initiatives to prioritise first.
Regulators, too, have an increasingly important role, with concerns relating to whistleblowing, sustainability in the workplace, and pay and promotion transparency and equity, all making compliance a growing challenge for employers.
Our team has extensive experience and expertise in all facets of human resources and employment law. We can help companies navigate this evolving landscape, responding to challenges with agility and anticipating potential problems before they arise.
We offer a global range of services, including advising, negotiating and drafting, communicating directly with unions and regulatory authorities, and representing our clients before the Labour Courts.
Our expertise includes:
Hiring and dismissals
Drafting of employment contracts, advising on the stipulations of employment relationships, freelance and consultancy contracts, short-term and temporary work, and posting of employees;
Managing problems related to amongst others, the performance of the employment contract and all types of dismissals (individual dismissals, dismissal for serious cause, and constructive dismissal);
Assisting clients with statutory and conventional protection against dismissal.
Collective labour law
Negotiation and drafting of CBAs, communication with trade unions, work councils, health and safety committees, legal rights of recourse in case of strikes, information and consultation procedures, collective and multiple dismissals, (cross-border) transfer of undertakings, outsourcing, harmonisation of employment conditions, mergers, closures, negotiation of social plans, applications for benefits reserved for firms under restructuring or in economic difficulty, early retirement, insolvency, advice relating to the competent joint labour committee and so on.
Compensation and benefits
Design and optimisation of wage packages, variable pay, bonus schemes, financial participation schemes, savings schemes, profit sharing plans, including executive remuneration and corporate governance.
Advice and litigation in relation to, among other things, the employees’ social security system (including fictitious self-employment), and the regulations regarding contributions, benefits and allowances; assistance in advance of examination from the social inspectorate.
Assistance and advice relating to, among other things, the implementation of whistleblowing schemes, pay transparency, predictable working conditions, data protection in the workplace, sustainability and workplace culture.
Our clients are Belgian, foreign and multinational corporations, active in a range of industry sectors.
We also serve public and governmental entities and non-profit organisations.
In addition, we advise and assist employees at executive and management levels, as well as self-employed service providers.
We are proud that our team is valued by clients for its knowledge, responsiveness, pragmatism and flexibility.
Our lawyers are regularly invited to speak at seminars and are regularly published on topics relating to labour and employment law.
We understand the importance of keeping our clients up-to-date and informed of key legal developments, so we publish newsletters and Legal Insights on a regular basis. We also organise dedicated information and training sessions on specific legal topics, and recently launched our LegalLie legal podcasts to continue addressing our clients’ questions.
Our Relevant Experience
Assisting a renowned group in the optical sector with the transfer of 35 shops to a potential buyer
Advising a prominent steelwork manufacturer on a restructuring with possible collective dismissal and closure and up to 380 possibly impacted employees
Assisting several companies wishing to set up their activities in Belgium with all the related employment law aspects
Assisting a Belgian federal institution active in the promotion of the equality of women and men, with several discrimination and moral and sexual harassment at work-related dismissals
Assisting several clients with expatriate contracts, including related litigations
Assisting several clients from all sizes and industries in work terminations and dismissals as well as collective dismissals
Advising several clients including a major international firm with respect to setting up a whistleblowing procedure
Assisting a major company with the take-over of the personnel of well-known motorway restaurants and negotiation of collective bargaining agreements in order to harmonize the different employment conditions
Advising a leading listed IT company about the transfer of a non-strategic business division to a Belgian listed company
Assisting many clients with employment and HR related litigations before the Belgian Courts
Awards & Recognition
The team "reacts quickly to the request of assistance, whatever the issue is."
2022 Chambers Europe Employment, Band 3
Liedekerke has an ‘extremely responsive and client-focused’ approach to all manner of advisory and contentious labour law matters.
‘We absolutely valued the team’s flexibility to meet (virtually) and their candid advice. No sugar coating but clear overview of options and risks in order to enable us to make educated decisions and device plans of action with and without legal support moving forwards. Trust and integrity are important to us as a company and whilst we understand that with making business decisions, comes making difficult decisions, Liedekerke enabled us to keep our people in mind at all times.’
‘The team have all shown a great deal of integrity and understanding of our business and ways of working when providing guidance.’