This measure has not yet been published in the Belgian Official Gazette.
Reminder of the employee's obligations in the event of incapacity for work
An employee must always notify his/her employer immediately of his/her incapacity for work.
This can be done in various ways (by phone, email, through a family member, etc.) and is intended to allow the employer to monitor the incapacity for work and to organise work during the employee's absence.
The employee only has to produce a medical certificate if a collective agreement or the employment regulations so prescribe, or in the absence thereof, if the employer expressly requests it.
If the medical certificate is delivered late or if the employee fails to notify the employer, the employer may refuse to pay the guaranteed wage for the days of incapacity preceding the delivery of the medical certificate or for the days preceding the notification.
Exemption from producing a medical certificate 3 times per calendar year for the 1st day of incapacity for work
When there is an obligation in the company to produce a medical certificate, based on the employment regulations or a collective agreement, the draft law provides that the employee is exempted from producing a medical certificate 3 times per calendar year for the first day of incapacity for work, whether it concerns one day or several days of incapacity for work.
The employee using the exemption is also not required to produce a medical certificate at the employer's request.
The employee who does not produce a medical certificate for the first day of his/her incapacity for work uses the exemption. Therefore, no sanctions are possible against the employee who uses the exemption.
The draft law also provides that the employee must notify his/her employer of the address where he/she is staying during this first day of incapacity, if it is not his/her usual residence.
However, the employee's obligation to immediately inform his/her employer of his/her incapacity for work remains!
Derogations from the exemption in companies with fewer than 50 employees
Companies with fewer than 50 employees on 1 January of the calendar year in question may derogate from this exemption through a collective bargaining agreement or the employment regulations.
If the company derogates from the exemption, the employer may therefore continue to require the production of a medical certificate regardless of the duration of the incapacity for work.
If the company with fewer than 50 employees has not provided a derogation from the exemption in its employment regulations or through a collective bargaining agreement, the employee will not be required to produce a medical certificate 3 times per calendar year for the first day of incapacity for work.
Modification of the employment regulations?
A company with fewer than 50 employees that wishes to derogate from the exemption from producing a medical certificate must therefore modify its employment regulations (or conclude a collective bargaining agreement).
If the current employment regulations already provide for the requirement to produce a medical certificate for the first day of incapacity, this is not sufficient. The employment regulations should include a specific mention regarding the derogation from the exemption from producing a medical certificate as referred to in this draft law.
Entry into force?
The measure will enter into force 10 days after the law is published in the Belgian Official Gazette.
We will keep you updated on the situation.
Source: Draft law containing various provisions on incapacity for work (2875).