Undertaking undergoing restructuring

If your undertaking located in Belgium needs to begin a restructuring phase, you should be aware that different regulations apply depending on the cause of the reorganisation: takeover of the undertaking, acquisition of assets, closure, etc. Please consult these regulations before making a decision, especially if it will result in job cuts!

Transfer of undertaking: merger, demerger or absorption

In a transfer of undertaking (merger, demerger or absorption) involving the transfer of personnel, an undertaking is transferred in full or in part to a third party (the transferee).

Are you in one of the following situations?

  • You are transferring your undertaking in Belgium or perhaps only one or more departments to a third party or
  • you are acquiring all or part of an undertaking in Belgium?

Visit the Transfer of undertaking page on the website Restructurations.be (in French) to learn about your rights and obligations.

Closure of undertaking

Are you ceasing your activity in Belgium voluntarily (this is a voluntary cessation) or are you compelled to do so (a bankruptcy)? You are subject to legal and regulatory formalities.

You should also be aware that if you do not meet your financial commitments in respect of the workers, a guarantee fund may intervene: the Fund for Closure of Entreprises.

To learn more about the closure of undertakings and the Fund for Closure of Entreprises, consult the Closure of Entreprises page on the website Restructurations.be (in French).

Acquisition of activity following bankruptcy

Has your undertaking in Belgium been declared bankrupt and a buyer is ready to acquire it in full or in part? If the buyer is also acquiring the workers, then this is known as an acquisition of assets following bankruptcy.

All parties involved in this are subject to the rights and obligations provided for in the legislation. The Fund for Closure of Entreprises may intervene.

Visit the page on Bankruptcy and acquisition of assets following bankruptcy on the website Restructurations.be (in French) to learn about your rights and obligations.

 

If your reorganisation will have consequences for employees in Belgium, including due to redundancies, then you are subject to specific rules.

You are making several employees redundant

If you are making several employees redundant as a result of the restructuring, this is known as a mass redundancy: please follow the rules available on the page Mass redundancy on the website Restructurations.be (in French).

You are making ‘protected’ employees redundant

In Belgium, certain workers are ‘protected’ against dismissal:

  • staff representatives on the consultative bodies (works council, committee for prevention and protection at work) and
  • non-elected candidates who participated in the workplace elections.

There is a special procedure that needs to be followed in order to let these protected workers go or remove their protection.

To find out more, visit the page Protection of certain workers against dismissal on the website Restructurations.be (in French).

These rules can be combined: a closure of undertaking can also involve a mass redundancy in accordance with the legislation. In this case, both regulations that apply.

Federal Public Service for Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue - General Directorate for Individual Labour Relations, Consultative Bodies and Employment