Classes/schools closed: ONEm/RVA accepts temporary unemployment

Author: Catherine Legardien (Legal Expert)
Date:

Since the start of the new school year, the number of classes or schools that have to close as a result of coronavirus cases at school has increased sharply. Some of your employees will therefore have to take time off from work to look after their quarantined child.

For this specific situation, the National Employment Office ONEm/RVA now accepts that the employee may be made temporarily unemployed due to force majeure. This is shown by the latest update of the FAQ of the ONEm/RVA.

Principle

The employee who is faced with a childcare problem because:

  • a minor child with whom he/she is cohabiting is either unable to attend the day-care centre or school because the day-care centre, school or part of the school is closed due to a measure to limit the spread of the coronavirus,
  • a dependent disabled child, regardless of that child's age, is unable to go to the disability day-care centre because that centre is closed due to a measure to limit the spread of the coronavirus,

may, for the duration of the inability to attend the day-care centre, school or disability day-care centre, be entitled to temporary unemployment benefits due to force majeure, provided that he/she produces a certificate from the day-care centre, school or disability day-care centre (and that he/she meets the other conditions for compensation).

Procedure

The procedure you must follow to declare employees (faced with the closure of the day-care centre, school or disability day-care centre) as temporarily unemployed due to force majeure varies according to whether or not your company/sector was exceptionally hard hit by the coronacrisis.

Companies/sectors that were exceptionally hard hit by the coronacrisis

You can only resort to the simplified procedure of temporary unemployment due to force majeure 'COVID-19' (by submitting only a Social Risk Declaration - scenario 5) for the employees (who are faced with the closure of the day-care centre, school or disability day-care centre) if your company:

Companies/sectors that were not exceptionally hard hit by the coronacrisis

If you do not meet the conditions to be eligible for the simplified procedure of temporary unemployment due to force majeure 'COVID-19', you must follow the ordinary procedure of temporary unemployment due to (classic) force majeure. You will then have to complete all the formalities necessary for this type of unemployment (i.e. communicate the force majeure to the ONEm/RVA, submit a ‘Social Risk Declaration scenario 2' at the beginning of the period of temporary unemployment, issue the check form C3.2A to your employee on the first actual day of unemployment of the month, submit a ‘Social Risk Declaration scenario 5' at the end of each calendar month).

Important note!

We also remind you that a bill is currently under discussion in the Chamber which provides for the possibility of invoking temporary unemployment due to force majeure as from 1 October 2020 for this situation. We will keep you updated.

Source: ONEm/RVA.

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