Coronavirus: unemployed persons with company supplement

Author: Laurence Philippe (Legal Expert)

The government has taken various measures to be able to employ as many people as possible in the vital sectors. One of these measures concerns unemployed persons receiving a company supplement (RCC/SWT).

Vital sectors

Vital sectors currently include:

  • the agricultural sector (JC 144) if the employee is employed on the employer’s land;
  • the horticultural sector (JC 145), with the exception of planting and upkeep of parks and gardens;
  • forestry (JC 146);
  • the temporary agency sector if the employees are employed in the sectors mentioned above. 

This list may be completed at a later date.

Resumption of work

In principle, the unemployed person receiving a company supplement may not exercise a professional activity, either as an employee or as a self-employed person. He receives unemployment benefits and by exercising an unauthorised activity, he risks being excluded from entitlement to these benefits.

However, collective labour agreement No. 17tricies allows the unemployed person with a company supplement to resume a professional activity. In this case, the unemployed person must give up his unemployment benefits. He will retain the right to the company supplement at the expense of his former employer if he carries out this new activity with another employer.

In order to enable companies in vital sectors to employ a sufficient number of employees, the government allows early retired employees to resume work while retaining part of their unemployment benefits. To do so, the employment must take place in the vital sectors between 1 April and 31 May 2020.

Instead of losing the full unemployment benefit corresponding to the days worked, the early retired employee will lose only a quarter of it. For example, if he works 4 days in May, the number of days for which he receives unemployment benefit will be reduced by 1 day, i.e. a quarter of 4 days. If he works 10 days, 2.5 days will be deducted from his unemployment benefit.

Impact on the social contributions

The resumption of work can take place with a new employer or with his former employer who pays him his company supplement, provided that he belongs to a vital sector.

If the unemployed person receiving a company supplement resumes work with another employer than the one who pays his company supplement, this is a type 1 resumption.

If he resumes work with his former employer, this is normally a type 2 resumption. Within the context of the measures to combat coronavirus, this resumption is also considered to be a type 1 resumption from 1 April to 31 May 2020.

Sources: Special Powers Decree No. 14 of  27 April 2020 implementing Article 5, § 1, 5°, of the Act of 27 March 2020 authorising the King to take measures in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 (II) to safeguard a smooth work organisation in the critical sectors, Belgian Official Gazette, 28 April 2020.

Royal Decree of 23 April 2020 temporarily relaxing the conditions under which the unemployed, with or without company supplement, can be employed in vital sectors and temporarily freezing decreasing full unemployment benefits, Belgian Official Gazette, 30 April 2020.

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