Coming soon: Circumstantial leave to accompany a child who is being vaccinated

Author: Catherine Legardien (Legal Expert)
Date:

An employee who accompanies a minor child living with him or her to a vaccination site to have this child vaccinated against the coronavirus COVID-19, will soon be able to enjoy leave of absence (circumstantial leave). The same goes for an employee who accompanies his or her adult child with a disability or a person over whom he or she has legal custody. This is provided for in a bill recently adopted by the Committee for Social Affairs, Work and Pensions in the Chamber.

This right will enter into force on the date of its publication in the Belgian Official Gazette.

As a reminder, since 9 April 2021, the right to leave of absence is already granted to employees who must be absent from work to be vaccinated(see our Infoflash of 9 April 2021).

To whom is the leave granted?

The right to leave of absence is granted to the employee who must be absent from work to accompany a minor child living with him or her to a vaccination site to have this child vaccinated against the coronavirus COVID-19.

Important note! When the employee cohabits with the other parent of the child, this right may only be exercised by one of them for the same period.

This right is also granted to an employee who accompanies his or her adult child with a disability or a person over whom he or she has legal custody .

Important note! This right can only be exercised by one of the parents or one of the guardians.

What is the duration of the leave?

The employee has the right to be absent from work to accompany a minor child living with him or her, an adult child with a disability or a person over whom he or she has legal custody during the time necessary to have this child vaccinated against the coronavirus COVID-19.

By ‘time necessary’ is meant not only the time required for the vaccination itself, but also the time spent travelling to and from the location where the vaccination will take place.

If the vaccine must be administered in various doses, the employee is entitled to circumstantial leave for each dose.

Which wage?

The employee will retain his normal wage paid by the employer for the duration of the leave of absence.

Formalities

To be entitled to the wage, the employee must inform the employer in advance and as soon as possible, i.e. as soon as he or she knows the time or the timeslot for the vaccination of the minor child, the adult child with a disability or a person over whom he or she has legal custody.

He or she must use the leave of absence for the purpose for which it is granted.

At the employer’s request, the employee must provide proof of this. Presentation of the confirmation of the appointment to be present at a location where the vaccination is administered at a specified time constitutes sufficient proof. Should the confirmation not specify when the minor child, the adult child with a disability or the person over whom he or she has legal custody must be present at a location where the vaccination is administered, the invitation must be presented.

Important note!

The employer may only use the information he obtains for the purpose of organising work and ensuring a correct payroll administration. The employer is not permitted 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 register the employee's absence as 'leave of absence'. He is not permitted to record the reason for the leave of absence and/or to record that the employee has health problems.

Date of entry into force

The leave of absence allowing the employee to remain absent from work to accompany a minor child living with him or her, an adult child with a disability or a person over whom he or she has legal custody to a vaccination site to have this child vaccinated against the coronavirus COVID-19 will enter into force on the date the law regulating this leave is published in the Belgian Official Gazette and will be applicable until 30 June 2022. We will keep you updated on the situation.

Source : Bill on temporary support measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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