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What is company use?

Verified 20 January 2023 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

The use of company is an advantage granted freely and repeatedly by an employer to its employees, without being required to do so by law, collective agreement or employment contract.

What are the criteria for a use? Can the employer delete or change a usage? What are the consequences of changing or deleting a usage? What if the employer does not use company?

We present you the different information to remember.

Use is repeated practice of the employer indicating his will to confer certain benefits on employees company. Examples include the payment of a special premium or the granting of additional leave.

To be recognized as a practice, however, this practice must respect the following cumulative principles :

  • General, i.e. it must be granted to all personnel or at least to one category of personnel (e.g. maintenance workers)
  • Consistency, i.e. awarded on a regular basis (e.g. a premium paid for several years)
  • Fixation, which implies that it is determined according to precise rules (a premium whose calculation method is defined and fixed in advance with objective criteria for example)

Use shall take place without any special procedure in the company and is not the subject of a written statement.

Example :

A year-end bonus of a fixed amount or method of calculation, granted to all staff every year for 5 years, is a company practice.

Yes, the employer can delete or modify a use. That's what we call the denunciation of use. The employer does not have to justify its decision.

The following procedure must be followed:

  • Inform the Social and Economic Committee (ESC) the nature and date of application of the deleted or modified benefit 
  • Inform each employee individually concerned by a simple or registered letter (a posting, a briefing or the circulation of an internal memo is not enough)
  • Adequate notice must be given to enable dialog and leave room for possible negotiation

Example :

The employer wishing to delete a supplement of 13e Month paid in December warns in May each employee individually and in June the employee representatives.

If the employer has informed the ESC: titleContent and employees individually by observing a sufficient period of time, the employees can no longer claim the maintenance of the advantage which the employer had previously granted them.

The whistle-blowing procedure must be followed, even if the employer and the employees agree to the abolition or modification of the use in question.

Use is binding on the employer.

If the rules of denunciation of use are not respected, the use of company shall continue to apply and the employee may to demand that it be maintained to the employer.

The employee requesting the application of a usage must prove its existence.

It can do so by any means: testimonies of other employees, salary slips, posting in the company for example.

The employee may also directly enter the prud'homme council in the event of a dispute with the employer.

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