Senior management position
A senior management position is not clearly defined by the law. Senior managers are those who have a strategic position in the company. They have a higher salary and increased responsibilities. Employees in senior management positions generally work long hours.
Careful: not every executive is a senior manager. It is essential that the executive has significant decision-making authority over the business and the development of the company as a whole. An employer who wishes to benefit from the particularly flexible legal framework applicable to senior management positions cannot designate all of his or her executives as managers. The criteria are strict and restrictive.
Because of their decision-making capacity within the company and their high salary, people in senior management positions do not need to be protected by public law. In particular, the provisions of the Labor Act on working hours, rest periods and the recording of working hours do not apply to them.
Diligence and loyalty
High salaries and high responsibilities also mean a higher duty of diligence and loyalty. The employer must be able to rely on his or her executives. Moreover, they must behave in an irreproachable manner at all times, particularly towards their subordinates and the company's clients. They must strictly respect their duty of confidentiality with respect to sensitive data and business secrets of the employer.
This heightened duty of care and loyalty is of paramount importance, particularly in the event of a termination with immediate effect. The misconduct of a senior executive will be judged more severely than that of an ordinary employee.
Because of their greater responsibility and the amount of overtime they work, employees in senior management positions often receive a bonus, sometimes in significant amounts.
There are several types of bonuses, which determine the extent to which the employer has leeway in the payment and amount of the bonus. Depending on the circumstances and the type of bonus provided, the employer will be obliged to pay a bonus to the executive, even if the employment relationship is terminated.
Due to their position of trust within the company, executives are privy to all of the company's business and manufacturing secrets and customers. This sensitive information, if misused, could seriously harm the company's interests.
A diligent employer should include a non-competition clause for his or her executives who hold a senior management position. Such a clause, in order to be valid, must respect numerous conditions of validity.