The notion of executive is not formally defined by law or jurisprudence. According to the doctrine, a manager assumes increased responsibilities and occupies a supervisory function with respect to other employees.
An executive is expected to provide a higher quality of work and a greater investment of time than an ordinary employee. This extra work is usually compensated for by a higher salary, the prospect of a bonus or extra vacation days.
As a rule, overtime is compensated by time off or paid at 125% per hour. However, because of his or her position in the company, the executive is expected to perform more than the company standard and to be prepared to work overtime.
An executive may thus validly waive any compensation for overtime, as long as it is included as a lump sum in his salary. However, this agreement must be made in writing. The situation is delicate if the employment contract provides for a weekly working time!
If the executive does not have a senior management position, he or she is always entitled to compensation for supplementary work. This supplementary work corresponds to the hours worked beyond the maximum weekly working time set by the Labour Law. The executive does not have the right to waive this.
Work outside the office
Due to their increased responsibilities, executives may be required to work on e-mails or files in the evening or during their vacation. Depending on the company, the executive may be required to travel on business or have business meals. The question of whether this is working time that should be paid is a delicate one.
Damage to health
The increased responsibilities of the executive can lead to a tendency to work overtime and to work without counting the hours. The race for bonuses sometimes puts additional pressure. The employer is obliged to take care of their health, especially their psychological health. If an executive is allowed to burn out and become unable to work or burnout, the employer may be held liable.
Duty of care and loyalty
The executive enjoys a privileged position within the company. They represent the employer to customers or suppliers. The employer must be able to have increased confidence in him. The executive must have an irreproachable behavior and dress, whether in the workplace or on social networks. This increased responsibility is considered in determining whether or not immediate dismissal is justified.
Representation of the company
Due to their position within the company, executives are sometimes appointed as power of attorney or commercial representatives. Can they conclude every conceivable business deal on behalf of the company? Not necessarily!
Moreover, the privileged position of executives means that they are in direct contact with the outside world and represent the image of the company. The employer may be stricter with them than with other employees regarding their dress code.
Because of their position, executives are often exposed to manufacturing and business secrets, commercial strategies, and the organization of the company. They are subject to an increased duty of confidentiality. Any competing activity that an executive might engage in at the end of the employment relationship is likely to cause considerable damage to the company.
To prevent possible damage following the end of the employment relationship, the employer may include a clause prohibiting competition in the executive's employment contract. In order to be valid, this clause must be appropriately limited in terms of place, time and type of business. To be effective, the clause must provide for a comprehensive sanction mechanism that meets strict formal requirements.