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From Administrative Tolerance to a Legally Framed System: Floating Schedule Is a Reality
The Law on Feasible and Manageable Work, known as the Peeters Law, came into force on February 1, 2017 and provides for a system of flexible working time also known as floating schedule.
What does “floating schedule” mean?
Under a floating schedule, the workers can determine the beginning and the end of their workday. They can also determine the timing of their breaks.
However, this freedom is not unlimited. The worker must take into consideration both, fixed working hours (in other words, the hours during which the worker is required to be present at the workplace) and flexible working hours (that is, the ours during which the worker can determine the beginning and the end of his/her workday as well as his/her breaks).
The system existing before February 1, 2017
Before the adoption of the Law on Feasible and Manageable Work, floating schedule was in principle forbidden.
The Labour Laws Inspectorate practiced a policy of tolerance in favour of full-time workers.
These workers could benefit from this system provided that:
- daily and weekly working time limits were respected;
- working time of the workers was recorded in order to allow it to be checked.
The system from the entry into force of the Law on Feasible and Manageable Work
Since February 1, 2017, the use of floating schedules is officially recognized and authorized by Title 6 of the Law.
Who can benefit from this system?
Both full-time and part-time workers with a fixed schedule may benefit.
Part-time workers with variable work schedules are excluded.
What are the conditions?
- Both weekly and monthly working hours must be respected;
- A time tracking system must exist within the company which must contain the following data:
- The identity of the worker;
- The beginning and the end of the workday and breaks. For part-time workers, a mention must be entered at the time the worker starts to work, when he/she finishes as well as the timing of his/her breaks (Title 5, Article 62).
- The period of time to which the data relate.
- The employer is obliged to pay the normal remuneration to the workers. This means that the employer must pay the worker on the basis of the average weekly working time and not on the basis of the hours actually worked.
Transitional provision of the Law on Feasible and Manageable Work
Article 75 provides for the following transitional provision:
"By collective labour agreement filed in the office of the Directorate-General for Collective Labour Relations of the Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue by June 30, 2017 at the latest or by a work regulation in which the relevant provisions are inserted by June 30, 2017 at the latest, the provisions of this Title may be waived, provided that a floating schedule system was already applied by the employer prior to the entry into force of this Title (Title 6)".
Can an old floating schedule system continue to be applied without respecting the specific conditions for part-time workers under the new system?
No. The Law states that a pre-existing floating schedule system may continue to be applied by waiving the rules applicable to full-time workers (Title 6) but not those newly defined and applicable to part-time workers (Title 5).
The Control of Labour Laws will only accept the maintenance of existing floating schedules provided that the policy of administrative tolerance is respected.
|Before February 1, 2017||From February 1, 2017||Transitional provisions|
Prohibition in principle.
Administrative tolerance for full-time workers subject to certain conditions.
General legal framework - Title 6 of the Law:
1) Respect for weekly and monthly working hours;
2) Working time tracking system + specific rules for part-time workers (Title 5)
3) Payment of "usual remuneration"
Possibility of maintaining an existing floating schedule provided that:
1) The policy of tolerance of the Labour Laws Inspectorate;
2) It is formalized through a collective labour agreement or by working regulations by June 30, 2017
By introducing Title 6 in the Law on Feasible and Manageable Work, the legislator has taken an official position with regard to the use of floating schedules.
That being said, only the judge and the Labour Laws Inspectorate will have the last word in this respect and the interpretation of the provisions concerned.
In any case, the employers who are already using floating schedules must imperatively take a very quick decision on the transitional provision in the next few days in order to adhere to the law by June 30th.
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