Priority for re-employment

This page was last modified on 07-08-2017

When recruiting new employees, the employer must hire, as a priority, his former employees or certain categories of employees who correspond to the profile required.

In order to benefit from this right, workers must meet certain conditions and deadlines.

Please note: priority for re-employment does not constitute a guarantee of re-employment.

Forms / Online services

Carry out your procedure:

  • By downloading a form

    • Priorité de réembauchage après démission suite au congé de maternité / congé d’accueil - modèle
    • Priorité de réembauchage après un congé de maternité
    • Priorité de réembauchage suite à un licenciement économique

Who is concerned

Employers who wish to hire new employees must give priority for (re-)employment to the following former employees provided they fit the required profile (training, skills and experience):

  • employees dismissed for economic reasons;
  • employees having tendered their notice at the end of their maternity leave or their adoption leave with the aim to fully concentrate on their children's education;
  • former beneficiaries of employment initiation contracts (contrat d'initiation à l'emploi - CIE) who are unemployed again.
  • Apprentices, workers dismissed for personal reasons (with or without notice), employees who have tendered their notice at the end of their maternity/adoption leave for a reason other than their children's education and employees under a temporary employment contract which has not been renewed may not benefit from this measure.

Duration and deadlines

The application for priority for re-employment has to be submitted within a year:
  • for employees dismissed for economic reasons, the one-year deadline starts running as from the date their departure becomes effective.
  • for employees having tendered their notice at the end of their maternity/adoption leave, the one-year deadline starts running as from the end date of their maternity/adoption leave.

How to proceed

Application for re-employment by the employee

Application by the employee dismissed for economic reasons

Employees dismissed for economic reason may benefit from priority for re-employment during one year as from the end of their employment contract provided they inform their former employer about their intent to benefit from this right for one year as from their dismissal. They must express their intent to benefit from the priority rights in writing (on plain paper).

Application by the employee having tendered his notice at the end of a maternity/adoption leave

Employees who wish to fully concentrate on their children's education and who subsequently tender their notice at the end of their maternity/adoption leave benefit from priority for re-employment for one year as from the date of their application for re-employment.

Their must express their intent to benefit from priority for re-employment within one year of their resignation. Their intent must be submitted in writing (by registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt).

Priority for re-employment must not be mistaken with unpaid leave following which the employee automatically returns to his position in the company.

Application by the employee, former beneficiary of an employment initiation contract

The former beneficiary of an employment initiation contract (CIE) who is unemployed again will automatically benefit from priority for re-employment rights from the end of his employment contract and for a period of time which is identical to his period of employment in the company.

Publication of a vacant position by the employer

Employers are required to inform their former employees with priority for re-employment about any available job opening in the company which fits their profile. Applications from former employees for these job openings must be given priority.

Failing this, the employer's responsibility is engaged and he may be sentenced to pay damages to the former employee.

However, priority for re-employment is not a guarantee for re-employment. Thus, re-employment cannot be guaranteed to the employee and it cannot be guaranteed that the employee can return to the position held prior to his departure.

Former employees will only be informed about available positions which fit their profile.

The employer does not have the right to hire another candidate with identical qualifications by putting forward superior abilities or capacities. An employer only has the right to chose another candidate if the employee with priority for re-employment is absolutely unfit for the job and only if the employer can provide proof for said unfitness.
Information for employees dismissed for economic reasons

An employer must inform his former employees with priority for re-employment in writing about any job opening which fits their profile. It is recommended to send the job offer by registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt to the former employees.

Information for employees who resigned after the end of their maternity/adoption leave

An employer must inform his former employees with priority for re-employment by registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt about any job opening which fits their profile.

Information for employees who were former beneficiaries of an employment initiation contract

An employer must inform his former employees with priority for re-employment in writing about any job opening which fits their profile. It is recommended to send the job offerings by registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt to the former employees.

Applying for the job opening

Employees are free to accept or decline their former employer's job offer.

If the employee accepts the offer, he must sign a new employment contract with the employer.

Application by the employee dismissed for economic reasons

Whether they accept or decline the offer, employees must reply in writing. It is recommended to send the reply to the job offering by registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt.

Application by the employee having resigned at the end of a maternity/adoption leave

Whether they accept or decline the offer, these employees must send their reply by registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt.

If the employee accepts the job offer, the employer must grant him all the privileges and benefits he was entitled to prior to his resignation.

Application by the employee, former beneficiary of an employment initiation contract

Whether they accept or decline the offer, employees must reply in writing. It is recommended to send the reply to the job offerings by registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt.

The reply must be sent within 8 days of receipt of the job offering.

Who to contact