Extras agriculture - horticulture: benefits if quarantined

Author: Els Poelman (Legal expert)
Date:

Occasional agricultural and horticultural workers absent due to quarantine obligations are now included in the temporary unemployment scheme.

Context

The Minister of Work has decided to grant unemployment benefits (temporary unemployment force majeure) to certain occasional workers with quarantine obligations for the days they would have worked. This is not a self-evident decision, because these workers work on the basis of (verbal) day contracts and are in principle only declared in case of effective employment. The fact that they acquire entitlement to temporary unemployment benefits is a deviation from this principle.

Temporary unemployment benefits presuppose a social risk declaration (DRS/ ASR) and a registration in Dimona.  For the inactivity days due to quarantine, the NSSO has created a new type of Dimona.

Employers

For the time being, the scheme is limited to the agricultural and horticultural sectors.

Involved are employers of JC 144/145 for their proper occasional workers, and temporary employment agencies (JC 322) for the temporary agency workers-occasional workers posted at a user belonging to JC 144/145.

There may be an extension to other sectors with occasional workers who wish to use this form of temporary unemployment. This has not been decided yet.

Workers

The scheme is intended for workers declared as 'extras' (regular Dimona 'EXT' and for the NSSO employee code 010/022) who meet the following conditions:

  1. they are quarantined due to a positive coronary test;
  2. they are fit for work;
  3. they would have been employed as occasional workers during the quarantine period (oral employment contract);
  4. they are not entitled to any other occupational or replacement income for the quarantine period (e.g. if they are entitled to full unemployment benefit for the period of quarantine they must rely on that)

Period of application

This derogation will run from 21 August until (most likely) 31 December 2020. The exact end date has not yet been determined.

Dimona

During quarantine, these workers are registered via a Dimona type "QUA" (instead of the regular type "EXT").  The Dimona must be declared per day, but without start or end time.

Because of the retroactive application up to 21/08, the NSSO will not generate an anomaly in the event of a late declaration.

Quota

The days declared under Dimona "QUA" will be deducted from the annual maximum number of days of occasional work (which has doubled for 2020). The counters in Green@work will therefore be updated.

Declaration of Social Risks (DRS/ASR)

As from 1 September 2020, companies not heavily affected (less than 20% temporary unemployment in the 2nd quarter 2020) have to follow the normal procedure for temporary unemployment force majeure:

  • application via portal NSSO
  • DRS/ASR scenario WECH002 (employer application) and WECH005 (declaration of days of unemployment)
  • verification cards C.3.2.A

Source: instruction NSSO - regulatory text still to be published

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