Leave and remuneration
In order to improve your employees' work-life balance, you can also bring in (additional) leave and alternative remuneration systems.
You can find a few of these below.
Expand circumstantial leave of ‘small leave’ with extra events and/or extra days.
An employee may take leave for certain reasons (family events, meeting civil duties or appearing in court). This is circumstantial leave or ‘small leave’. The precise events for which leave can be taken can be found on the FPS ELSD website. It could be a wedding, participating in a jury, the passing of a family member, etc.
These events are laid down in law and must be respected. As the employer, you pay the employee's wages for that day, or short period.
Within your own company or Collective Labour Agreement (sector, joint committee), you can also make agreements on extra events or increase the number of days' absence permitted per event. These matters will be included in the employment particulars in writing.
You should consider grandparents here too – not just parents. For example, you might agree that grandparents can request circumstantial leave if a grandchild is ill.
Expand the reasons that can be given for leave for urgent reasons, family leave or social leave.
An employee may take leave for urgent reasons. Urgent reasons are defined as:
“An unforeseeable event, unrelated to work, that demands his/her urgent and necessary intervention.”
- illness, accident or hospitalisation or a person living with the employee;
- damage to the employee's home from fire or a natural disaster;
- a summons to appear in person in court, where the employee is a party to the dispute;
- any other event that the employee and employer mutually agree to consider an urgent reason.
The leave for urgent reasons may not amount to more than 10 working days per year. The employee will not be paid for these days.
You can make an agreement as the employer that employees will be paid for these days. You can also expand the reasons for which the leave can serve. You then set this out in the employment particulars.
You should consider grandparents here too – not just parents. For example, you might agree that grandparents can request leave for urgent reasons if a grandchild is ill.
Discuss ‘granting conventional leave’ at the company.
Review within the company whether there is a willingness to ‘grant conventional leave’, and whether a Collective Labour Agreement has been reached on this within your (sub)sector.
An employee with days of leave that he/she can take freely (i.e. not statutory leave) may waive these for the benefit of another employee at the company who is responsible for caring for a child under the age of 21 who has been affected by an illness or disability or who is the victim of a serious accident, and for whom a continuous presence and entirely necessary healthcare is vital.
The latter, the recipient of the grant, must have already used up all her/his days of leave before being able to use this.
More information on this can be found on the FPS ELSD website.
Introduce ‘flexible remuneration’.
Flexible remuneration, also known as a ‘cafeteria plan’ or ‘flex income plan’, means that a proportion of the employee's pay is used for a different and personal purpose. This allows the employee to choose for themselves which extra benefits she/he will receive, if desired.
The proportion of the pay that is used for a flexible and personal purpose could, for example, be part of the gross wage, bonuses or the annual bonus. As the employer, you can set out the amount to which this pertains, what your employee can ‘exchange’ this proportion for and the period for which these benefits apply. This is because personal and professional needs can change and your employee may wish to make use of different benefits after a while.
4 kinds of salary benefits are typically described, these being
- Mobility, such as a company bike or a car-pooling subscription;
- Health and additional social benefits, such as medical insurance (whether or not for the entire family) or pension savings;
- Multimedia, such as a smartphone or tablet;
- Or work-life balance. There are possibilities you can look at here for replacing part of the salary with extra-legal holidays, childcare or an ironing service.
The fact that you are positioning yourself flexibly by offering your employees the ability to respond to their personal needs makes you an attractive employer. Moreover, it gives you space to introduce measures with tax benefits, which gives you that slight edge over the competition.
For more information on flexible remuneration, you can turn to your Social Secretariat.
Offer your employees the option of career savings.
Career savings give your employees the opportunity to save up time (specific elements of time, see below), so they can take these as leave later on. This gives your employee the chance to guide part of her/his own career and take a breather every so often when she/he deems it necessary. Career savings are entirely voluntary; an employee is not obliged to take part in this. This also involves a “time for time” principle, i.e. converting the elements of time saved up into money is not the intention.
A career savings arrangement may already have been agreed within your sector. If not, then you can conclude a Collective Labour Agreement on this at your own company. This Collective Labour Agreement is required to cover a number of areas, such as which elements of time can be saved up and the period in which this can happen.
The following elements of time are eligible for career savings:
- A credit of 100 voluntary overtime hours;
- Conventional days of leave that can be taken freely (not the statutory days of leave), such as seniority leave or reduction of working time days.
- 12 ‘overtime hours’ on a flexible shift rota;
- Overtime hours worked in the context of an unforeseen necessity or an unusual increase in work.
Please note: The law explicitly specifies that sectors and/or companies must take account of the gender dimension when developing the framework. The intention must be that women and men have equal opportunities to save. For example, should it emerge that overtime hours at the company are mainly worked by men, one could choose to allow seniority leave to be saved up so that female employees can also access career savings.
For more information on career savings, you can visit the FPS ELSD website or contact your Social Secretariat.