• Service: Tax, International Executive Services, Global Compliance Management Services, International Tax
  • Type: Regulatory update
  • Date: 4/25/2013

Belgium - CJEU limits language-exclusive rules for cross-border employment contracts 

April 25: The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued a judgment finding that Belgian law requiring employers with an established place of business in Flanders to use the Dutch language exclusively in employment contracts to be a violation of EU law. Anton Las v. PSA Antwerp NV, C-202/11 (16 April 2013)

Read the judgment: C-202/11


An employment contract for a Dutch national and resident of the Netherlands was drafted in English. Subsequently, the individual was dismissed, and under the employment contract, the employer paid him amounts equal to nine months’ salary. The individual asserted that the contract was “null” because it was not in Dutch, and claimed a greater payment was due to him under Belgian law.

The Flemish decree provides that all employers with a place of business in the Dutch-speaking region (i.e. Flanders) are to use the Dutch language in all contracts.

The CJEU issued a judgment that the decree requiring the use of Dutch in cross-border employment contracts is in violation of the free movement for workers within the EU. However, the CJEU explained that a law of an EU Member State can require that contracts be drafted using an official language under certain circumstances.

Read an April 2013 report prepared by the KPMG member firm in Belgium: Court of Justice of the European Union says Flemish Decree on the use of languages is in violation with the freedom of movement for workers

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