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Social elections 2024: census and reference period

25 July 2023 Nele Mertens Employers

Social elections will be taking place in May 2024 at organisations with at least 50 employees. To check whether that limit was exceeded, a separate calculation (counting) has to be performed, you also have to take agency workers into account, and you have to look at a certain reference period. We're happy to explain to you how to get the count right. and what to watch out for when you have temporary workers on the job.

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What is the reference period?

For employees who are permanently employed with an employment contract with you as the employer, look at the reference period 1 October 2022 to 30 September 2023. Even through this 12-month reference period is still underway, we can still help you with a calculation anyway. Contact us at bpo.hr@acerta.be.

Take agency workers into account

If you use agency workers, count them, but only for the months of April, May and June 2023. They are therefore subject to a different reference period than permanent employees, and a shorter one of only three months. To perform the count correctly, you must keep a register of temporary workers for those months, unless your works council had granted a derogation.

Cover staff do not count

What counts for both groups is that they do not count if they cover an employee whose employment contract is suspended, for example due to illness or time credit. So, whoever works for you under a cover contract, or a temporary worker you hire for cover reasons, should be removed from the count. This is because the people they are covering still count, and there is no intention to double count positions.

How is the count structured?

For this count, you look at the number of days these individuals were employed, either by you or by the employment agency for an assignment with you. It should not necessarily be days actually worked. You then divide that number of days by 365 or 730 for permanent employees and by 92 or 184 for temporary workers. In doing so, you look at the employment breach of the person concerned. If it works 75% or more then use 365 or 92, if it works less than 75% then use 730 or 184.


After performing the count for your permanent employees and adding the share of agency workers if they worked for you in April, May or June 2023, you’ll see if you come out more than 50 or more than 100. Depending on that, you may or may not have to start the procedure for social elections in December 2023. Employees within your organisation can apply for a seat on the CPBW or the Works Council. Their colleagues can vote for them and choose their favourite candidate. Here, too, you keep in mind the temporary workers. There has been a change in the law that gives agency workers voting rights if they have worked at least 32 working days with you in the months of November and December 2023 and January 2024.

Social elections in 2024?

You can now count on our experts. We advise, step in where you need it, or support you throughout the process. This ensures you have elections that are both flawless and by the book.

Contact us

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Written by Nele Mertens

Juridisch adviseur

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