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Pregnancy and dismissal

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Principle

Pregnancy may not give rise to any form of discrimination.

An employer may not dismiss an employee as soon as she has informed him of her pregnancy. The manner in which the employer has been informed of the employee's pregnancy is not relevant.

Exception

An employer may dismiss a pregnant employee for reasons not related to her pregnancy or delivery. It may be an urgent reason, an economic reason, wrongful conduct of the employee, dismissal by mutual agreement, end of fixed term contract, ... The employer must always provide evidence.

Period of protection

If the maternity leave is extended for a specific reason, this one month period also only expires at the end of the extended maternity leave.

Example: The maternity leave ends on 3 March. Then the dismissal protection runs until 2 April.

Please note! If the employee chooses to return to work gradually, her protection against dismissal will be extended by 8 weeks. This means that she cannot be dismissed until one month after the end of these 8 weeks

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The protection period is a fixed term, which is not extended by periods of suspension (illness, annual leave, unpaid leave, ...) which could possibly occur immediately after the end of the maternity leave.

Subsistence allowance

If the employer dismisses the employee without a valid reason, he must pay a fixed compensation equal to 6 months pay. This compensation is in addition to the compensation already due because of the termination of the employment contract.

Decision

If the employer can show that he has a good reason for the dismissal, which is not related to the pregnancy or the delivery, there is no problem. If he cannot prove this, he will have to pay a fixed compensation of 6 months' salary.

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Heidi Vergauwe

Dedicated and meticulous Payroll & HR Advisor, always willing to go for the extra (s)mile!