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Factsheet for measure BE-2006-14/2634 – measures in Belgium

Reconversion cells

Tewerkstellingcel/Cellule de Reconversion

Country Belgium , applies nationwide
Time period Open ended, started on 06 April 2006
Context Restructuring Support Instruments
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Reorientation of business activities
– Transfer or redeployment of workers
Author Dries Van Herreweghe (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) and Eurofound
Measure added 23 June 2022 (updated 02 November 2022)

Background information

The reconversion cells are part of the Belgian active policy concerning restructuring companies and express the need for support to the dismissed workers in their search for a new job. The instrument concerns all companies announcing a collective redundancy (at least 10% of the workforce in enterprises with 100 employees or more, at least 10 employees in enterprises with more than 20 but fewer than 100 employees, at least 6 employees in enterprises with more than 11 but fewer than 20 employees, at least half of the employees in companies with at the most 11 employees). Employees on fixed-term contracts and temporary workers are also included.

Content of measure

The reconversion cell can be specific to a (large) company or can bring together the affected workforce of separate restructurings from the same area. The beneficiaries receive assistance in dealing with redundancy. This can comprise individual contacts and meetings with employment advisers who specialise in redeployment, ongoing psychological support, and assistance in social and administrative affairs. They are also supported in developing their CV, in securing professional references, and accessing information on the job market and in finding a new job. They are also assisted in accessing vocational or reconversion training courses; this includes identifying relevant training and information about the training market, and assistance accessing training funding.

Starting 1 January 2015, employees who are dismissed due to restructuring whereby a reconversion cell has been formed are obliged to sign up regardless of age (up to the age of 65) and, if they refuse to do so, they will be penalised by having their unemployment benefits suspended for a period of four up to 52 weeks. While employees are enrolled in retraining, they have to actively participate in the programme. This means that they have to accept and enrol in each form of training proposed (in)directly by the reconversion cell.

Funding as well as execution is performed by the regional employment office.

Use of measure

To use the reconversion cell, the company must be registered and acknowledged to be restructuring. If the case, the company can use the several support measures, of which the reconversion cell. From 2015 until 2018, the amount of companies acknowledged to be in restructuring has declined. In 2015, there were 74; in 2016, 86; in 2017, 70 and in 2018, 59.

Between 2005 and 2009, the number of reconversion cells ranged between 20 and 40 approximately, and the number of beneficiaries varied between 1,000 and 3,000 each year. The programme has a high reintegration rate, more than 50% of beneficiaries are in employment again, with a high percentage of open-ended contracts. The social partners perceive it as a very effective tool.

More information can be found in the ERM legal database

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Workers in non-standard forms of employment
Applies to all businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Trade unions
Local / regional government
Public employment service
European Funds
Regional funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative Agreed (outcome) incl. social partner initiative
Form Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies Consultation through tripartite or bipartite social dialogue bodies

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Social partners jointly
  • Main level of involvement: Sectoral or branch level


The reconversion cells are set up at the request of trade union organisations; trade unions deal with social issues and act as confidential adviser for the affected workers.

Cells are managed by both the Forem/VDAB/Actiris and by trade union representatives from the company. Forem offers the general PES services (matching, support for job search,

Views and reactions




Eurofound (2022), Reconversion cells, measure BE-2006-14/2634 (measures in Belgium), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,


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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.