Social elections 2020 - just around the corner

When and why?

Social elections are held every 4 years in Belgium. During these elections, the workers' representatives are elected for the works council and the committee for prevention and protection at work (CPPW).

For who?

Social elections must be organised if a company employs at least 50 employees for the establishment of a CPPW, and at least 100 employees for the works council.

To determine whether a company is obliged to organise social elections, the number of employees employed during the  reference period must be taken into account. It is anticipated that the reference period will run from the 1st  of October 2018 to the 30th  of September 2019 inclusive.

Which employees?

Every employee employed in the company, or the relevant technical business unit (TBU), in the reference period must be taken into account to determine whether or not social elections must be held. While a legal entity is typically considered a TBU, a single company can comprise multiple TBU’s or can together with affiliated companies be considered a single TBU.

Temporary agency workers are also taken into account, but only those who are hired during the last quarter of the reference period. This does not apply for temporary agency workers who are hired to replace an employee who is absent.

It is important that every company is aware that as of October 2018 hiring or terminating employees may affect the obligation of the company to organise social elections.


The period in which the social elections will take place will be published in the Belgian Official Gazette.

According to the information available today, the social elections will probably take place between 11 May and 24 May 2020. This means that the pre-electoral period will already start in December 2019. If you have to organise social elections, you will have to choose an election date for your company in this period. The date you choose will determine your election calendar.

To prepare for the social elections, Belgian employers are advised to already provide a budget this quarter to finance the social elections. It is recommended to discuss and organise the practical matters of the elections during the period from January 2019 to September 2019 with the actual preparation of the social elections in October and November 2019.


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