If the employee is exempt from working during the notice period, the employer must now inform the employee of his obligation to register as a job seeker with a regional employment service.
An employee who does not comply with this obligation runs the risk of being sanctioned with regard to his entitlement to unemployment benefits.
Exempt from working during the period of notice: Principles
The employer may, with the written consent of the employee, exempt the employee from working during the period of notice, but will continue to pay him the agreed wage under the usual terms and conditions.
To this end, the parties will draw up an contract exempting the employee from working during the period of notice: this contract not only sets out the parties' agreement on the exemption, but also regulates its introduction and various other aspects such as, for example, the duration of the exemption (all or part of the period of notice), whether or not the extra-legal benefits are maintained, etc.
Obligation to inform employee
If the employer, in consultation with the employee, exempts him from working during the period of notice, the employer must inform the employee in writing that he must register with the employment service of the region in which he resides within one month after the start of the work exemption.
This information obligation applies from 29 April 2019.
Sanction for the employee
If the employee does not register as a job seeker within 2 months from the day on which he or she was at least partially exempted from working during the period of notice, he or she shall be deemed to have become voluntarily unemployed. This may result in his or her being excluded from unemployment benefits for 4 weeks.
This sanction applies to employees dismissed after 29 April 2019.
Our model "contract concerning the exemption from working during the period of notice" has been adapted: it now informs the employee of his obligation to register with a regional employment agency. Contact Legal partners (02/549 30 10) to obtain this document.
Sources: Act of 7 April 2019 on the social provisions of the jobs deal, article 12, Belgian Official Gazette of 19 April 2019; Royal Decree of 07 April 2019 amending articles 51 and 52bis of the Royal Decree of 25 November 1991 regulating unemployment, Belgian Official Gazette of 19 April 2019.