Elections of 26 May 2019: can your employee be absent from work to hold an office within the framework of the elections?

Author: Catherine Legardien
Date:

Your employee has the right to be absent from work if he is called upon as a president, assessor or secretary in a polling station or a vote counting station during the elections of 26 May 2019.

Is this absence paid in all cases?

Right to short leave of absence: for which offices?

Your employee is entitled to paid circumstance leave (or short leave of absence) if he exercises one of the following offices:

  • assessor in a principal polling station or sole polling station. The duration of absence is fixed at the time required;
  • assessor in a principal vote counting station. The duration of absence is fixed at the time required, with a maximum of 5 days.

During those periods of absence, the employment contract is suspended with continued pay provided that the employee concerned has informed his employer in advance of the fact that he has been called upon as an assessor and provided that he uses the leave for the purposes for which it was granted.
You have the right to request a copy of the appointment of your employee in the office of assessor as proof.
We note that the employee can ask to be suspended from his elective office for professional reasons. In that case, the employee who was called upon as an assessor shall no longer be entitled to circumstantial leave.

What if your employee is not entitled to short leave of absence?

Expect if otherwise specified in a collective bargaining agreement, in the employment regulations or in the employment contract, the employee shall never be entitled to paid circumstantial leave:

  • if he exercises the office of assessor only on Sunday and this day is a day of inactivity for the employee.
  • if he exercises the office of assessor in a polling station which is not a principal station nor a sole station;
  • if he exercises the office of assessor in a vote counting station which is not a principal station;
  • if he exercises the office of president or secretary in a station.

Nevertheless, should he wish to take time off work to exercise one of these offices, he will have to take one of his legal days of leave. In agreement with his employer, he can take unpaid leave on that day. He may also be entitled to a day of leave for urgent reasons, at least if the event in question justifies this type of leave on the basis of a contractual provision or a provision in the employment regulations or even a provision in a collective bargaining agreement in the company.

Sources: Employment Contract Act of 3 July 1978, article 20, 5°; Royal Decree on the continuation of regular pay for manual workers, domestic servants, intellectual workers and workers employed in the service for inland navigation for family-related leave or leave for the fulfilling of civil obligations or civilian missions.