As from 1 January 2023, there will be no discussion anymore: "Saturday" will no longer be considered as a working day for the purpose of calculating time limits expressed in working days. This does not only apply in employment law but in all cases where a time limit expressed in working days is involved.

The implications of this new provision for labour law are outlined below.

Saturday no longer a working day

1. Important for deadlines expressed in "working days"

To date, Saturday is considered a working day in labour law.

"Working day" means the day on which work is usually performed and not the day on which work is effectively performed in a particular enterprise ("working day"). Only Sundays and public holidays are considered not to be a working day. This is a common confusion in practice....

The legislator has now clarified this and defines in the new Civil Code - which will come into force on 1 January 2023 - what is meant by a "working day", namely "all days except legal holidays, Sundays and Saturdays".

This new provision will affect employment law where it provides for procedures with deadlines expressed in working days.

These procedures are:

  • The termination of an employment contract with notice by registered mail:

This notice will only take effect on the third working day following the date of sending it and the notice period only is to start on the Monday following the week in which the termination was notified.

Therefore, for a notice period to start on the following Monday, the termination notice must be sent at the latest by Tuesday instead of Wednesday.

  • Dismissal for serious cause:

To proceed to a dismissal for serious cause, a double deadline expressed in working days must be respected, namely the notification of the dismissal within three working days and the notification of the urgent reason within three working days.

Accordingly, (1) if the employer takes notice  of a serious breach on a Wednesday, he still has until the following Monday to proceed with the dismissal and (2) in the case of dismissal notice for serious cause on a Wednesday, the registered letter containing the reasons for the dismissal must be sent no later than the following Monday.

  • Medical certificate

The period within which the employee must deliver a medical certificate to the employer is usually expressed in working days. In this case, Saturday can no longer be counted towards this period.

Because of these new rules, it is important to be extra careful, not only in employment law but in all cases where a deadline is expressed in working days.

This also applies in particular to deadlines for filing  procedural documents as provided for in the Judicial Code.

From 1 January 2023, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays will therefore no longer be taken into account to  calculate terms and deadlines expressed in working days, unless the law provides otherwise.

2. Conclusion

Unless the legislator explicitly intervenes in employment law, Saturdays should be excluded from the calculation of terms and deadlines in employment law.

To avoid discussion, Seeds of Law has always advised against considering Saturdays as working days in the event of dismissal of employees with notice or for serious cause. This practice is now confirmed by the new Civil Code.

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Leila Mstoian

Leila Mstoian

Youssra Andaloussi

Youssra Andaloussi

Senior Associate