This report must be read in conjunction with these slides; Association performance and employment law compliance.
Sophie Maes and Annabelle Truyers presented in detail on the items that should be included in the employment contract (slides 5-18) and those that should not, such as certain policies. They discussed the work rules (slides 19-23) before addressing the concept of policies (slides 24-29) and providing examples of useful policies to have in practice (slides 30-42).
The session began with Sophie Maes reminding participants of the hierarchy of legal sources of employment law, with the mandatory provisions of law topping the list and customs and policies coming at the bottom. She then gave examples of prohibited clauses to the employment contract,
before dealing with the new “probationary period” soon to be applied. On additional indemnification for dismissal, Sophie pointed out that paying someone more than foreseen by the law at dismissal stage was allowed, but that paying someone less without this approval is not.
Concerning confidentiality clauses, we were advised that “business secrets” tends to be interpreted in a strict sense http://www.medef.fr. Also, participants were advised to label as “confidential” any confidential information not related to the economic activity of the employer. On the topic of “non-compete clauses”, Annabelle Truyers underlined that these must be specifically agreed to by the employee and she provides at slide 14 the conditions for validity.
Discussing work rules, Sophie ran through the list of items to be included – slides 20-21 – and then advised that non-mandatory items should not be included in the work rules nor in the employment contract, but instead left to the policies. Work rules are mandatory for every employer and can only be introduced (and amended) via a rather strict procedure. Annabelle then advised that the employee should not be made to sign the policies for agreement since this could grant the policies a “contractual status” – meaning that the employer can no longer modify this unilaterally and that the employee’s approval is required for any change to them. However, since the employer would require a guarantee that the policies have been read and will be adhered to, she advised that employees may sign these policies “for receipt only”. Although policies are not mandatory, it can be strongly advised to draft certain policies. In this context, Annabelle pointed to the necessary inclusion of email and internet policies, as well as that on compliance with the new rules on data protection to be in force by May this year.
Finally, on the topic of homework and teleworking, a distinction was drawn between structural teleworking, which should be included as an annexe in the contract, and the conditions for occasional teleworking which can be part of a policy.