Closure of classes / quarantine: the employee is entitled to temporary unemployment due to force majeure

Author: Catherine Legardien (Legal Expert)
Date:

An employee whose child cannot attend school or nursery school because of a measure that is meant to limit the spread of the coronavirus may be absent from work and will receive temporary unemployment benefits due to force majeure "Covid-19".

This also applies to the week in which schools are closed before the winter holidays (20-24 December), as decided by the authorities.

This right is not new, but in view of the "Covid" news, it seems appropriate to recall the rules applicable in this matter.

Principles

Your employee has the right to remain absent from work without pay:

  • when a minor child with whom he is cohabiting:
    • is unable to attend his day-care centre or school because the day-care centre, school or class to which he belongs is closed due to a measure to limit the spread of the coronavirus,
    • is obliged to follow distance learning,
    • must be quarantined or isolated for another reason to limit the spread of the coronavirus;
  • when he has a dependent disabled child, irrespective of that child's age, and that child is unable to go to a disability day-care centre due to a measure to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

This right is also recognized when the employee's child cannot go to school because of a decision of the authorities to close schools, as is the case for the week of 20 to 24 December.

Employee’s obligations

The employee who makes use of this right must inform you immediately.

He must also provide you immediately with one of the following duly completed documents, depending on the case:

  • in the event of closure of the institution (day-care centre, school, class or disability day-care centre) or of distance learning: the certificate "garde enfant fermeture corona" (childcare closure corona).
    Please note! This document is not mandatory (unless requested by the employer) in the event of a (total or partial) closure of schools following a general measure decided by the authorities (as is the case for the week of 20 to 24 December).
  • if the child is placed in quarantine: the certificate "garde enfant quarantaine corona" (childcare quarantine corona). This certificate must be accompanied by a medical certificate confirming the child’s quarantine or isolation or a recommendation for the child to be quarantined or isolated issued by a competent authority.

Your employee retains the right to be absent during the entire period covered by the certificate.

Important note!

Only one person can exercise this right during the same period for the same child.

More specifically, when the employee is cohabiting with the other parent of the child, this right may only be exercised by one of them for the same period.

Also in a situation of shared residence arrangements (where the child will reside in each household during specific periods of time), this right can only be requested by the employee who actually lives with the child during the period of closure of the institution or of quarantine of the child. 

Benefit under the simplified procedure for temporary unemployment due to corona force majeure

For the days on which he is absent, your employee receives a temporary unemployment benefit from the ONEm/RVA corresponding to 70 % of the limited wage (2,840.84 EUR per month) plus 5.74 EUR per day.

Only the following formalities have to be completed (simplified procedure):

  • each month you must declare the days of temporary unemployment (Social Risk Declaration unemployment scenario 5), with the code 5.4 for the 'nature of the day' and 'coronavirus' as the reason;
  • your employee must submit a - single - benefit application to his pay-out institution by means of the C.3.2 - WORKER-CORONA form.

You must, moreover, keep the supporting document (depending on the case, the certificate “garde enfant fermeture corona” (childcare closure corona) or the certificate “garde enfant quarantaine” (childcare quarantine) that your employee has submitted to you at the disposal of the services of the ONEm/RVA, in the event of an inspection.

Returning from a red zone

The ONEm/RVA explicitly provides that temporary unemployment due to force majeure to take care of a child is not possible if the child has to be quarantined after returning from a holiday in a country that was a red zone at the time of departure.

Source: ONEm/RVA.

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