Employee in quarantine: instructions

Author: Catherine Legardien (Legal Expert)

Should one of your employees be quarantined? The Special Powers Decree no 37 clarifies the employee's obligations and also what happens to his employment contract.

This may for instance be the case if the employee returns from a stay abroad, depending on government guidelines (FPS Foreign Affairs).

Employee’s obligations

If your employee, who is fit for work, is unable to carry out his work because he has been placed in quarantine, he must inform you hereof immediately. Upon your request, he should also be able to provide you with a certificate of quarantine.

As a reminder, the certificate of quarantine is issued by the GP to the employee who, although placed in quarantine, is fit to work but is not allowed to travel to work (see the infoflash "Coronavirus: the 'quarantine certificate' is official").

Will the employment contract be suspended?

If your employee is unable to carry out his work because he has been placed in quarantine, his contract will be suspended due to force majeure. As a consequence, he will be entitled to temporary unemployment benefits due to force majeure "COVID-19" at the expense of the ONEm/RVA.

Important! The ONEm/RVA clarifies that if the employee can submit a certificate of quarantine, he may, if he is unable to work, become temporarily unemployed due to force majeure "COVID-19" for the period covered by the medical certificate. If the quarantine certificate does not specify an end date, temporary unemployment due to force majeure "COVID-19" is accepted for a maximum of 14 days.

If an employee who has been placed in quarantine is still able to carry out his work, for example by teleworking, he will continue to receive his usual wages at your expense.

No ban on using third parties or students

The Special Powers Decree no 37 expressly provides that you may outsource the work normally carried out by the employee to third parties or have it carried out by students, when the execution of the employment contract is suspended due to the fact that the employee is placed in quarantine.

Sources: Special Powers Decree no 37 of 24 June 2020 implementing Articles 2 and 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 support the employees, Belgian Official Gazette of 3 July 2020 (2nd Ed.); ONEm/RVA.

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