Circumstantial leave to be vaccinated: the law is approved!

Author: Catherine Legardien (Legal Expert)
Date:

 

Employees who wish to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 coronavirus will soon be entitled to leave of absence (circumstantial leave). The law that regulates this leave has been approved by the Chamber. It will enter into force on the date of its publication in the Belgian Official Gazette. So, a few more days of patience! In the meantime, we will explain the rules.

How long is the leave?

The employee has the right to be absent from work in order to receive a vaccine against the COVID-19 coronavirus for the time required for the vaccination.

The term "time required" refers not only to the time spent on the act of vaccination itself, but also to the travel time to the vaccination site.

If the vaccine consists of two injections, the employee is entitled to leave of absence for each of the two injections.

Shall the employee be remunerated?

For the duration of the leave of absence, the employee shall maintain his normal remuneration at the expense of the employer.

What formalities are involved?

In order to be entitled to his remuneration, the employee must give prior notice to the employer as soon as possible, i.e. as soon as he knows the time or the time slot for the vaccination.

The employee shall use the leave for the purpose for which it is granted.

The employee must provide proof if requested by the employer. Submission of the confirmation of the appointment to be present at a given time at a place where the vaccination is administered constitutes sufficient proof. Insofar as the confirmation does not mention when the employee must be present at a place where the vaccination is administered, the invitation must be submitted.

Please note!

The employer may only use the obtained information for the purpose of organising the work and ensuring proper administration of wages. He is not allowed to take a copy of the appointment confirmation in any form or to manually transcribe the information it contains, except for the time of the appointment. He may only record the employee's absence as "leave of absence". It is forbidden to record the reason for the leave of absence and/or to record that the employee has health problems.

What if the employee has side effects that make him unable to work?

The absence of the employee due to side effects from the injection of the vaccine that make him unable to work is not covered by the leave of absence. In this case, the employee will have to comply with the obligations that apply in the event of incapacity for work. The employer will have to pay the guaranteed wage.

Effective date

The circumstantial leave to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 coronavirus will come into force on the date of publication of the law in the Belgian Official Gazette. We will, of course, keep you informed.

It will cease to be in force on 31 December 2021. A Royal Decree may postpone this end date until 30 June 2022 at the latest.

Important note!

Under no circumstances can the employer force his employees to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 coronavirus. This vaccine is not compulsory and is only administered on a voluntary basis.

Source: draft law on the granting of leave of absence to employees in order o receive a vaccine against the COVID-19 coronavirus.

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