These procedures became effective as from 1 December 2016.
In this way, the government sets the pace for the reintegration of long-term sick persons within the company where they are employed, as well as in the labour market in general.
The measures aim at guiding the long-term sick persons towards a temporary or permanent adapted job or to another job.
For this purpose, a reintegration path for long-term sick persons has been worked out at two levels, i.e.:
The new regulation concerning the reintegration of the long-term sick person in the company will
be scrutinized below.
The reintegration procedure of long-term sick employees in the labour market in general will be examined in a next edition.
The new regulation provides for a tailor-made reintegration course for the long-term sick
employees aiming at guiding the long-term sick employee towards (i) a temporary or (ii) a
definitive adapted job or (iii) another job with his employer, with whom he has entered into an
The goal to achieve (the adapted or new job) as well as the course to be followed to achieve that goal is outlined for each worker separately.
The regulation does not apply in the case of a work accident or professional disease.
The prevention adviser-labour doctor has a crucial role in the reintegration path of the
long-term sick employee within the company.
The request to start a procedure is filed with him and he determines whether or not starting up a procedure is meaningful and, if so, what the possibilities and the goals are.
The employer is obliged to consult with him with respect to the establishment of the reintegration plan and the prevention adviser-labour doctor is in charge of the follow-up of the implementation of the plan.
He is also the one who keeps contact with all the persons concerned (the employee, the employer, the treating doctor and the doctor-adviser of the health care service) and keeps them updated on the progress of the procedure.
The process for reintegration within the company can be started at the request of :
The request has to be filed with the prevention adviser-labour doctor.
The prevention adviser-labour doctor consults with the employee and – as the case may be and
subject to the consent of the employee – with other persons, such as the treating doctor, the
doctor-adviser of the health care service or other persons, who might contribute to the success of
He examines the work place and the work environment of the employee in order to assess the possibilities of adapting the work place.
The prevention adviser-labour doctor then takes one of the following decisions:
The employee can file an appeal against the decision of the prevention adviser-labour doctor
holding him definitely incapable to perform the agreed upon work.
The appeal must be filed within 7 working days by registered mail sent to the doctor social inspector of the General Administration Surveillance of the Wellbeing at work.
The employer establishes the reintegration plan after consulting with the employee, the
prevention adviser-labour doctor and, possibly, other persons who can make a useful contribution to
the reintegration process.
The reintegration plan includes one or several of the following concrete and detailed measures:
The employer submits the reintegration plan to the employee:
The employer, who considers it technically or objectively impossible or reasonably impossible on founded grounds to establish a reintegration plan, states the reasons thereof in a report, which he submits to the employee and the prevention adviser-labour doctor.
Within 5 working days following receipt of the reintegration plan, the employee must decide
whether or not he accepts the reintegration plan.
If he does, he signs the plan and returns it to the employer.
If he does not, he returns the reintegration plan to the employer with a statement of the reasons why he does not accept the plan.
The reintegration procedure is terminated when:
Force majeure (by way of example, definite and complete incapacity to perform work) has always
been included in the law of 3 July 1978 relating to employment contracts as a basis of termination
of the employment contract.
However, it is very difficult to invoke termination of an employment contract on the basis of force majeure, simply because it is almost impossible to submit evidence of such definite and complete incapacity to perform work.
The law of 17 July 1985 introduced stipulations on the subject into the law of 3 July 1978, but this law never became effective.
This uncertainty has now been resolved.
The new article 34 of the law of 3 July 1978 stipulates that the definite incapacity to perform the agreed upon work due to illness or accident can be invoked as force majeure only after the final termination of the reintegration procedure.
In principle, the employee maintains the acquired benefits and advantages during the period of
performance of the adapted work or the other work.
Nevertheless, the employer and employee may agree in an annexe to the employment contract on derogating arrangements relating to the volume, the work time schedule and the nature of the other or adapted work and the salary for the alternative or adapted work.
In case of termination of the employment contract in the course of the period of performance of the other or adapted work, the severance pay is calculated on the basis of the annual remuneration, the employee would have been entitled to on the basis of the employment contract, if he had not adapted his work.
In the case of incapacity to work due to illness or accident in the course of the period of performance of the other or adapted work, the employer is not liable for payment of the guaranteed salary.
In view of developing an efficient reintegration policy, the employer consults on a regular
basis, and at least once a year, with the committee prevention and protection at work on the
possibilities – at a general level – with respect to adapted or other work and the measures to
adapt the work places, and this in the presence of the prevention adviser-labour doctor and, as the
case may be, other qualified prevention advisers.
The collective aspects of the reintegration are assessed once a year and a consultation is organized within the committee on the basis of a quantative and qualitative report of the prevention adviser-labour doctor. If required, the reintegration policy is adapted taking into consideration of this report.