CAO 104 in a nutshell: The importance of an employment plan and well-being initiatives for older employees

December 11, 2023


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How do i write a sustainable employment plan?

Well-being initiatives and an employment plan are crucial aspects of CAO 104 (collective agreement no. 104, ed.). But what does that collective agreement entail? And how do you develop a sustainable employment plan? On this page we will explain the collective agreement 104 in clear terms. The importance of well-being initiatives and an employment plan will also be discussed.

What is ‘CAO 104’?

‘CAO 104’ is a collective labour agreement that was made in 2012. It is a regulation with the objective to retain or enhance the employment of employees of 45 years old or older in companies. Companies with more than 20 employees must write an employment plan for older employees yearly before 31 March. That plan provides the opportunity to tackle challenges and contributes to the retention and engagement of employees.

What does a sustainable employment plan entail?

The employment plan consists of measures that are dedicated to the retention or enhancement of employment of older employees. In other words, the employment plan must help older employees commit to you or to recruit more older employees. The plan entails areas of action, such as selection and recruitment of new employees, competence development, career guidance, working hours and conditions, employees’ health and recognition of competences.

As employer you can choose for this list of areas of action:

  • The selection and recruitment of new employees.
  • The development of employees’ competences and qualifications, access to education included.
  • Career development and guidance within your organisation.
  • Opportunities to obtain a role that is well-adapted to the evolution of the employee’s possibilities and competences through in-house mutation.
  • Possibilities to adjustment of the working hours and conditions.
  • The employee’s health, prevention and reduction of physical and psychosocial hurdles in order to keep working.
  • Systems for the recognition of obtained competences.

This list is not exhaustive. These are merely examples in the collective agreement, but you can also choose a different area of action.

The importance of well-being initiatives in ‘CAO 104’

But why are well-being initiatives so important in ‘CAO 104′? The job market is ageing in Belgium. That is why employees remain active at work for a longer period of time, which is why it is essential to support them. Well-being initiatives play a crucial role in the retention of experienced employees, extension of employment rate and promotion of diversity and inclusion. By investing in well-being, employers show their appreciation and improve their employees’ engagement and satisfaction.

Basically, well-being initiatives under ‘CAO 104′ are a win-win. On the one hand, well-being initiatives represent a better work-life balance, a higher motivation and better health for employees. Thanks to the employment plan, they can learn more and grow. On the other hand, employers will notice higher retention of experienced employees, higher productivity and a positive working culture. In addition, it contributes to the image of the organisation as an employer that takes their employees’ well-being and development seriously. That can yield a competitive edge and have a positive impact on attracting new talent.

Would you like to download an up-to-date model of an employment plan? Here is an example: Example employment plan older employees.

This model can help you write an employment plan in accordance with CAO 104.

CAO 104 and a sustainable employment plan

In short, well-being initiatives are of the utmost importance within the 104th collective agreement. They support older employees, improve their engagement, promote diversity and create a positive working climate. By investing in well-being, companies can create sustainable and engaged working environments. With the People Sustainability Scan, you map all well-being initiatives and put all of your employees at the heart of your organisation.


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maartje vanewijk

Annelies Theunissen
People Sustainability Expert

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