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21 October 2020
In principle, companies should have decided whether to vote electronically in the social elections as early as February 2020. However, companies that did not do so but, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, would like to do so now (eg, for security reasons or because their employees are mostly still working from home) still have the opportunity to introduce electronic voting. However, they must reach an agreement on this issue by Day X+56 (ie, between 13 October 2020 and 26 October 2020, depending on the new election date). Voting by letter is also an option. The deadline for doing so is also Day X+56.
Employees can vote electronically from their usual workstation (ie, their work computer) at the company's premises. However, as from the 2020 elections, employees who are working remotely can also vote electronically, provided that:
An agreement must be reached by the new Day X+56 (ie, between 13 October 2020 and 26 October 2020, depending on the new election day (Day Y after the resumption of the elections)).
An agreement on electronic voting must be entered into with all representative trade unions that have put forward candidates for the workers' categories concerned (eg, blue collar and white collar workers). Thus, even if a company has no works council or health and safety committee yet in place, they can enter into an agreement on electronic voting.
The agreement includes, among other things:
Publication and notice
The decision must be notified immediately by means of an information note rectifying the information about the initial Day X, either by posting on the company's premises or by electronic means (eg, via the intranet, if all employees have access thereto during normal working hours).
The form must also be sent to the Employment Ministry online or, if not, by post to the various representative unions.
Voting by letter is another option for organising social elections in a safe way.
Voting by letter is allowed only in a limited number of circumstances, including "the situation that staff are significantly dispersed". According to the Employment Ministry, the COVID-19 remote working measures that companies have implemented may involve a considerable dispersion of personnel, justifying, for the categories concerned, the use of voting by letter.
Voting by letter can also be used:
As is the case for the extended COVID-19 electronic voting regime, an agreement on voting by letter must be reached with all representative trade unions that have put forward candidates for the workers' categories concerned by Day X+56 (ie, between 13 October 2020 and 26 October 2020, depending on the election day).
For further information on this topic please contact Phillipe De Wulf or Esther Soetens at ALTIUS by telephone (+32 2 426 1414) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). The ALTIUS website can be accessed at www.altius.com.
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