Autumn half-term break extended and distance learning: clarification from the ONEm/RVA

Author: Catherine Legardien (Legal Expert)

Both in Flanders and in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, autumn half-term break will be extended by 2 days this year. Apart from the initially planned holiday week, pupils will also have holidays on 9 and 10 November.

Moreover, secondary school pupils in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation must stay at home and follow distance learning courses for 3 days from Wednesday 28 October.

For these two situations, the ONEm/RVA has announced that employees who have to take time off from work to look after their children will be able to receive temporary unemployment benefits due to force majeure 'school closure' (see "Temporary unemployment due to force majeure in case of closed classes/schools: law approved and certificate available").

Two important clarifications

  1. Temporary unemployment force majeure to look after a child is not possible during the period covered by the ordinary school holidays, as this is not a school closure following a measure to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
  2. If it concerns a total or partial closure of the school, based on a general measure of a community (such as, for example, the closure of schools throughout Belgium on 9 and 10 November 2020 and the partial closure of secondary schools (in the form of distance learning) in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation on 28, 29 and 30 October 2020), the school must only issue the certificate of closure corona if the employee expressly requests it (because the employer asks for it).

Source: ONEm

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