In order to ensure the proper organization of work during the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be possible, in care and education 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 18 July 2021 provided for an additional derogation to this rule until 30 September 2021.
This derogation will be reintroduced from 1 January 2022 until 31 March 2022.
Please note! The measure still has to be published in the Belgian Official Gazette.
Update! The Act of 14 February 2022 was published on 9 March 2022. The measure has been confirmed.
In practice, it will be possible to conclude successive fixed-term employment contracts 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;
Note - Care sector is understood to mean:
- private and public services and organisations 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 and centres in charge of contact tracing in order to limit the spread of Covid-19;
- 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 January 2022 to 31 March 2022.
The employee will have 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.).
Informing the employee representatives
The employer who uses this measure will have to:
- inform the works council or, in the absence thereof, the committee for prevention and protection at work or, in the absence thereof, the trade union delegation;
- include the discussion on the agenda of the meeting following the first use.
The discussion is placed on the agenda of the meeting each month for as long as the measure is used and, for the last time, at the meeting following the end of the use.