• Social elections 2020

Official start on day "X-60" in December 2019

10 December 2019

The next social elections will be organised once again in May 2020.

The procedure is governed by numerous deadlines and formalities to be respected. It officially starts on day "X-60", which takes place this December 2019 (between 13 and 26 December, depending on the date of the elections set by the companies concerned in May 2020 (between 11 May and 24 May).


The first key moment

On day "X-60", the employer announces the information listed below in a written communication.


1.         The Technical Business Unit(s) (TBU)

The procedure must be organised at the level of the TBU, and not necessarily at the level of the legal entity, e.g. (public) limited liability company, non-profit association, etc.

As a result, three situations can arise:

  • The TBU and the legal entity coincide;
  • The legal entity consists of several TBUs; or
  • Multiple legal entities together form one TBU. The applicable situation will be determined on the basis of the company’s specific situation.

The required independence will be judged on the basis of economic and social criteria. In case of doubt, social criteria will precede. Through economic criteria, we verify whether an establishment has a certain degree of independence from the legal entity as a whole. This will, for instance, be the case when the various locations keep separate accounts, develop their own activities, or conduct a differentiated marketing policy,...

The purpose of the social criteria is to determine whether the employees of an establishment constitute a separate group of persons from those of other establishments. Among other things, this can be because of a different language, the distance between the parts of the business, the maintenance of their own staff policy, etc.


2.        Role of the management

Employer representatives are chosen from management. They will represent the employer on the works council or Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work (CPPW).

In the first written communication, the employer is deemed to communicate:

  • the exact name of the functions of the management;
  • a brief description of the content of these functions;
  • the names of the persons who currently hold these positions.

The management targets two levels in the company's personnel structure:

  • persons who are charged with the day-to-day management of the company (level 1);
  • Staff members who are immediately subordinate to persons at level 1, provided that they also fulfill day-to-day management tasks (level 2).


3.         Senior management

This information concerns only companies with at least 100 employees and which are required to set up a works council. Indeed, these companies will have to ensure that senior management is represented separately within the Works Council as long as they have at least 15 senior managers.

During the first communication, it is necessary to communicate:

  • the exact name of the senior management staff positions;
  • the names of the persons who currently hold these positions.

Under this denomination, employees who:

  • are not part of the management;
  • are in a higher position:
  • either by having a certain delegation of power from the employer, involving a right of initiative and authority over part of the staff; or
  • by providing services which, by their nature and requirements, imply a certain autonomy resulting in a right of initiative;
  • hold a diploma of a specific level (higher education) or have equivalent professional experience.


4.         The number of staff members by category

In this communication, the number of staff members must also be reported within the following categories:

  • workers ;
  • employees (including executives and managers);
  • young workers ( = workers under the age of 25 on the day of the elections).


5.         Determination of day "X" and day "Y"

The employer announces the proposed election date (day "Y") and the date on which the election date will be announced (day "X").


Next Steps

As from day "X-60", businesses need to start preparing the next steps.

Here’s an overview of the key moments and related formalities and deadlines:

Between "X-60" and "X-35"

From 13-26 December (depending on the date of the elections) to 7-20 January (depending on the date of the elections)

The employer consults the works council/CPPW on the information provided in the communication of day "X-60":

  • the level at which the works council/CPPW has been established;
  • the functions and list of management;
  • the functions and list of senior management (in case of works council).


Day "X-35"

Between 7-20 January (depending on the date of the elections)  


In the event of a dispute concerning the information communicated on day "X-60", communication of the employer's decision on that matter.

Day "X-30"       


Between 12-25 January (depending on the date of the elections)  

Start of the protection period against dismissal of candidates in social elections

Electronic voting

By day "X", between 11-24 February (depending on the election date)


The employer and the works council/CPPW may opt for electronic voting.


The decision shall be mentioned in the communication posted on day "X". It must therefore be taken beforehand.

The next important communications will be made on Day "X" in February 2020 (between 11 and 24 February depending on the date of the elections set by the companies in May 2020). They will be covered in due time in another newsflash.


Read more: 2020 social elections - are your ready?



Should you have any questions regarding the upcoming social elections, or require assistance from our experts, please do not hesitate to contact the BDO Social Legal team: