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Dismissal Procedures:
an Overview of Country Regulations

A Comparative View
of Dismissal in the Pandemic Era

This analysis is based on the direct observation that as experts specialized in the optimization of labor costs we have had to live in recent months marked by the pandemic phenomenon that hasaffected the whole world. In each of the European markets where we operate and where the Covid-19 has caused a different economic impact, we have helped our customers in the management of special government measures to protect employment in regard to our field of action. 

The report we propose therefore covers 5 of the European markets in which we operate: Belgium, France, Italy, Poland and Spain.

Without claiming to be exhaustive, the aim of this report is rather that of providing a sketchy outline of how dismissal takes place in the legal systems investigated, focusing on collective dismissal. Aspects such as procedural requirements, the actors involved, mandatory or voluntary trade union consultation, and the formal procedures to comply with when initiating dismissal will be examined. 

Exceptions occurring at the national level will also be investigated, in that some special provisions are in place covering some workers, thus limiting the employer’s power to terminate their contract. In some cases, the costs related to dismissal procedures will be examined.

The analysis has highlighted an aspect that is common to all the legal frameworks considered; special measures were laid down by national governments to limit the effect of COVID-19 on employment. This is because, following virus spread and business closures, many employers resorted to dismissal to reduce the workforce and the entailing labour costs. 

Since we were immersed in this situation like all European companies, we have had the opportunity to examine the dismissal plan regulations arising from reorganisation and/or profitability obligations. 

And when a dismissal plan is driven by one of these two reasons and therefore by the desire to maintain a business activity and the employment of the workforce, in parallel of managing dismissal plan we offer our advice to activate and manage less invasive solutions at corporate and social level.

Examples of these complementary solutions are the inclusion of possible innovations in salary packages, increased efficiency with an adequate and more precise application of the local normative, cost controlling in right calculation of all small entries in payroll and social declaration, competitiveness in using all incentives to get the standard price as low as possible. 

Because, even if dismissal plan is sometimes 100% necessary to preserve a group or to maintain profitability, it is just one – very technical – part of a proactive management strategy.

At the same time, many other HR Directions’ financial leverages should be considered and here we are to offer companies this integrated approach to a European level.

Table of contents

🇧🇪 Belgium

  • 1. Collective Dismissal in Belgium
  • 2. The Notice Period
  • 3. Payment in lieu of Notice
  • 4. Dismissal and Duration of the Employment Contract: Some Differences
  • 5. Absence from Work, Dismissal and COVID-19

🇫🇷 France

  • 1. The Dismissal for Economic Reasons in France
  • 2. Economic Reasons
  • 3. The Risk of Lower Competitiveness
  • 4. The Identification of the Dismissal Criteria
  • 5. The Procedures for Initiating Dismissal for Economic Reasons
  • 6. Necessary Occupational Support
  • 7. Dismissing during COVID-19
  • 8. Dismissing in France: a Cost Analysis
  • 9. What is the Best Strategy?

🇪🇸 Spain

  • 1. Relevant legislation
  • 2. Collective Dismissal
  • 3. Dismissal for Objective Reasons
  • 4. Disciplinary Dismissal
  • 5. Summary Dismissal of Workers in Managerial Positions
  • 6. Analysis and Shortcomings in the COVID-19 Emergency
  • 7. Opinion on National Legislation
  • 8. Possible Developments related to Procedures
  • 9. Cost Estimation in the event of Dismissal

🇮🇹 Italy

  • 1. Provisions Governing Dismissals: an Overview
  • 2. Dismissal which is Null and Void
  • 3. Dismissal for Reasons Objectively Justified
  • 4. Collective Dismissals
  • 5. Halting Individual and Collective Dismissals during the Health Emergency

🇵🇱 Poland

  • 1. Dismissals in Poland
  • 2. Disciplinary Dismissal
  • 3. Dismissal for Justified Objective Reasons
  • 4. Collective Dismissal
  • 5. Protection against Unfair Dismissal
  • 6. Appealing against Dismissal in Court
  • 7. Costs related to Dismissal: Aspects to be Considered
  • 8. Amendments to Legislation Regulating Dismissal following the COVID-19 Health Emergency

© Fiabilis Consulting Group 2020