In order to ensure the proper organization of work during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is possible, in certain sectors and under certain conditions, to conclude successive fixed-term employment contracts.
If the employer and the employee have concluded several successive fixed-term employment contracts, they are deemed to have entered into an employment contract for an indefinite period, subject to the derogations provided for in the Employment Contract Act of 3 July 1978.
'Covid-19 support measure' derogation
The Act of 20 December 2020 provided for an additional derogation to this rule until 31 March 2021.
This derogation is extended until 30 June 2021 by the Act of 2 April 2021.
In practice, successive fixed-term employment contracts may be concluded between the same parties without, however, constituting an employment contract for an indefinite period if the following conditions are met:
- the employer belongs to the care or education sector or operates a contact tracing facility/centre in order to limit the spread of Covid-19;
Note - Care sector is understood to mean:
- private and public services providing care, support and assistance to individuals, the elderly, minors, disabled persons and vulnerable persons, including victims of intra-family violence (joint committees nos. 318, 319, 330, 331, 332, 322 if the temporary agency worker is employed by a user who falls under one of the above-mentioned joint committees);
- private and public institutions or services in charge of operating vaccination centres in the context of the fight against Covid-19 (for all activities related to the operation of a vaccination centre).
- the employee is temporarily unemployed with an employer other than the one concluding the fixed-term employment contract;
- the duration of each employment contract is a minimum of 7 calendar days;
- successive fixed-term contracts are concluded during the period from 1 April 2021 to 30 June 2021.
The employee has the right to terminate these employment contracts without notice.
Please note! The validity conditions of the fixed-term employment contract have not been changed (mandatory written document drawn up no later than the time at which the employee starts employment, etc.).
Source: Act of 2 April 2021 on temporary support measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Belgian Official Gazette, 13 April 2021.