Corona update - temporary unemployment

Leila Mstoian Leila Mstoian
Leo Peeters Leo Peeters
Koen De Puydt Koen De Puydt
News

The measures taken by the government in respect of the corona crisis have an extremely large impact on the economy and therefore on employment. This article is for employers who may need to take action. This information will be updated on a regular basis.

The federal government decided on 6 November 2020 to reintroduce the simplified temporary unemployment procedure due to coronavirus for all employers and workers (blue-collar and white-collar workers) from 01.10.2020 until 31.03.2021 inclusive.

This measure has been extended until 30 June 2021.

As a result, all temporary unemployment due to coronavirus can once again, as of 01.10.2020, be considered temporary unemployment due to coronavirus, regardless of whether or not the employer is recognised as particularly affected by the crisis or whether or not he belongs to a particularly affected sector.

Attention! Employers who were no longer able to use the simplified procedure and who had to resort to temporary unemployment for economic reasons from 1 September 2020 can therefore again invoke temporary unemployment due to coronavirus from 1 October 2020 using the simplified procedure. They can therefore switch to the temporary unemployment scheme due to coronavirus without having to complete any further formalities, even if some workers can still work or if it is still possible to work on certain days.

This scheme is applicable for :

  • a complete suspension of the execution of the employment contract (for example, following an imposed closure); or
  • a partial suspension of the execution of the employment contract, where the worker can still work certain days a week.

Again this is a derogation from the strict definition of force majeure.

 

1. Formalities for the employer

Every month, submit an ASR scenario 5 (link is external) and :

  • indicate 'force majeure' as the reason for temporary unemployment and 'coronavirus' as the reason for force majeure ;
  • mention code 5.4 in the code 'nature of the day' 5.4.

The ASR scenario 5 is the electronic declaration of social risk in which the employer declares the number of days on which the employee is temporarily unemployed. 

Therefore, the employer does not have to :

  • send a notification of temporary unemployment due to force majeure linked to corona to the RVA/ONEM.

    But beware: in case of temporary unemployment due to bad weather, the notifications of the first effective unemployment day must be sent to the RVA/ONEM.

  • issue a control card C3.2A to the worker who is temporarily unemployed, regardless of the reason for the temporary unemployment (i.e. not even if the worker is for instance temporarily unemployed due to bad weather).

2. Temporary unemployment corona may be invoked for the following specific reasons

  • Workers who are not sick, but who have to stay at home because of quarantine;
  • Workers who are unable to work because because the crèche, school or reception centre of their children is closed by a coronavirus measure and who provide their employer with a certificate of closure due to coronavirus completed by the institution.
    Attention: the decision of the government to bring forward or extend the autumn holidays is also considered as a closure of a school by a coronavirus measure.
  • Workers who are unable to work because a child is in quarantine

The additional formalities in these specific cases are:

  • The employee immediately provides his employer with the following certificates, as the case may be:
    • the quarantine certificate (e.g. because he is a high-risk patient) or
    • evidence that qualifies as a quarantine attestation (e.g. for the period from 21 to 30 October 2020, an SMS from contact tracing, due to high risk contact or return from a red zone), or
    • the closure corona certificate issued by the competent institution and completed and signed by the employee.
      Attention! if this is a general measure originating from a government, causing all schools of that community to be (partially or completely) closed, the school must only issue the certificate closure corona at the express request of the worker.
  • The employer keeps the quarantine certificate (or the replacement certificate) or the closure corona certificate issued by the employee at the disposal of the RVA/ONEM with a view to a possible inspection by the RVA/ONEM.

3. How is the temporary unemployed worker compensated?

All employees who are temporarily unemployed due to coronavirus are eligible to receive temporary unemployment benefits without conditions of eligibility. For the period from 01.02.2020 to 30.06.2021, this also applies to workers temporarily unemployed for economic reasons.

For the period from 01.02.2020 to 30.06.2021, worker will receive a benefit equal to 70% of his average ceiled salary (the ceiling is € 2,754.76 per month), regardless the reason of temporary unemployment.

From 01.03.2020 up to and including 30.06.2021, all workers who are temporarily unemployed due to force majeure (except for medical force majeure) receive a supplement of € 5.63 per day paid by the RVA/ONEM on top of their unemployment benefit.

Until 30.06.2021, a reduced withholding tax of 15% will be deducted from the benefits.

Please, do not hesitate to contact us. It goes without saying, that we can assist you, first of all to assess your legal position and to consider what action you can or should take. You can always contact us on 02/747 40 07 or CoronaTaskforce@seeds.law. 

Would you like to learn more about this subject?

Contact our experts or telephone +32 (0)2 747 40 07
Leila Mstoian

Leila Mstoian

Partner
Leo Peeters

Leo Peeters

Partner
Koen De Puydt

Koen De Puydt

Partner