In an interview with the Quotidien on Monday 10 July, Carlos Pereira, member of the executive board of the OGBL, criticised the government and called on them to reform the law on professional reclassification. He said that the OGBL will meet the ministers of labour, Nicolas Schmit, and social security and health, Lydia Mutsch, to discuss where the law has gone wrong.
Professional reclassification applies to employees who cannot anymore fulfill those tasks that their last job required for physical or mental reasons or infirmity, but who don’t qualify for disability benefits. This applies to residents and cross-border workers who have been employed for at least three years.
There are two possibilities: internal and external reclassifications. Internal reclassification gives the opportunity to return to the same company after a long period of illness. The employee can be moved to a different post or have their working hours reduced. If this proves impossible, the employee may be reintegrated into the labour market through external reclassification.
The medical control of social security (“contrôle médical de la Sécurité Sociale (CMSS)”) evaluates the capability of the employee and then charges a mixed committee to decide on internal or external reclassification.
The “mixed” committee determines whether someone is capable of fulfilling the tasks that the post requires. If it decides that the person can fulfill the tasks, reclassification is refused. If not, the employee needs to be moved to a different post within the company.
The OBGL criticised that the labour doctor can only ask in very specific cases to involve the mixed committee to decide on internal reclassification.
It also criticises that the current law provides no quotas for disabled employees.
Another bone of contention is that the employees who are internally reclassified have less protection than those who are externally reclassified. The internally reclassified are protected from dismissal for one year only.
The OGBL argued that Schmit did not want to create a common statute for all the reclassified employees. An internally reclassified employee who loses his job can only get unemployment benefits, while the externally reclassified also receives other benefits.
However, Pereira conceded that the reclassification law was very onerous for the “Fonds pour l’emploi”. He argued that the government probably wanted to reduce the costs, and that the regular medical evaluation of reclassified employees should be seen in that light.