From dismissal law to re-employment law

a culture war

Marc De Vos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This article takes stock of the flexicurity agenda from both a general perspective and from the perspective of Belgian labour market reforms. It argues that, notwithstanding the difficult crisis period and also because of it, the European Employment Strategy (EES) has succeeded in inspiring reforms along flexicurity lines. It focuses on dismissal law modernization as a case in point. However, it stresses the limits of ad hoc and piecemeal reform. Flexicurity requires commitment from partners and stakeholders. This commitment does not sufficiently materialize through limited reforms, making flexicurity increasingly a cultural challenge. The article applies this reasoning to dismissal law. It advocates a full reform of dismissal law towards re-employment law. In the absence of such a comprehensive reform, marginal reforms modernize at the surface but fail to change dismissal culture, limiting reform effectiveness, which in turn further erodes cultural confidence in Flexicurity's promise.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLabour law reforms in Eastern and Western Europe
EditorsTomas Davulis
Place of PublicationBrussels
PublisherPeter Lang
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9782807604186, 9782807604179, 9782807604193
ISBN (Print)9782807604162
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameCultures juridiques et politiques
PublisherPeter Lang
ISSN (Electronic)2235-1078


  • Dismissal
  • European employment strategy
  • Flexicurity
  • Work-to-work transition

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  • Cite this

    De Vos, M. (2017). From dismissal law to re-employment law: a culture war. In T. Davulis (Ed.), Labour law reforms in Eastern and Western Europe (pp. 217-234). (Cultures juridiques et politiques; Vol. 12). Brussels: Peter Lang.