The National Labour Council has issued a positive opinion on a preliminary draft law concerning the introduction of leave of absence to get vaccinated against the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
What does the preliminary draft law entail?
The employee shall be entitled to be absent from work, with retention of his normal pay, for the time necessary to be administered a vaccine against the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
In order to be entitled to his pay, the employee must inform his employer in advance. The employee shall use the leave of absence for the purpose for which it is granted.
At the request of the employer, the employee must provide proof of this. Presentation of an invitation to be present at a location where the vaccination is administered at a specified time shall constitute sufficient evidence.
These regulations apply from the day of their publication in the Belgian Official Gazette and cease to apply on 31 December 2021. This end date may be amended by Royal Decree, but it must not be later than 1 July 2022.
What does the National Labour Council say?
The National Labour Council has issued a positive opinion on this preliminary draft law. The Council also notes that it is issuing this opinion without having all the elements of the vaccination strategy. For instance, it does not know how citizens will be invited, how long in advance this invitation will be sent, what the content of the invitation will be, whether citizens can choose a specific time, etc.
In addition, the National Labour Council proposes the following adjustments:
- the employee must notify the employer in advance and as soon as the time or time slot for the vaccination is known to him;
- as proof, the employee must provide the employer, in addition to the invitation to be present at a location where the vaccination is administered at a specific time, with the confirmation of the appointment showing the location and time, insofar as this is readily available to the employee.
The text of the preliminary draft law submitted to the National Labour Council for its opinion is not yet final. Changes are still possible. We will of course keep you informed of all new developments in this preliminary draft law.
Under no circumstances can employers require their employees to be vaccinated against the Coronavirus (COVID-19). This vaccine is not compulsory and is only administered on a voluntary basis.