On 6 November 2020, the government agreed on a new set of socio-economic aid measures.
For the simplified procedure for temporary unemployment force majeure due to corona, refer to our Infoflash "Reintroduction of flexible temporary unemployment due to "corona" for all companies "
Extension of existing measures
- Making available again temporary unemployment for reasons of force majeure to all companies. During this period, the worker in temporary unemployment receives a benefit equal to 70% of his gross monthly wage (capped at EUR 2,754.76). On top of this, the worker also receives an ONEm/RVA supplement of EUR 5.63 per day of temporary unemployment. This measure will apply until 31 March 2021 and may possibly be extended.
- Implementation of the social partners' agreement whereby the government partly contributes to the financing of holiday pay for the temporarily unemployed, because in the calculation of this holiday pay, the days of temporary unemployment are treated as days worked.
- Extension of the scope of the exemption from employer's social security contributions for the third quarter of 2020 to other sectors (other than the hospitality and events sector) that had to close down. Suppliers to the sectors that have to close down may also benefit from this measure if they can demonstrate a loss of turnover of at least 65%. There will be a ceiling per company on the total amount of this exemption
- Reduction of the withholding tax for temporary unemployment.
- Temporary unemployment due to the quarantining of a child. The existing measure will be extended to other situations where the child has to be quarantined, with a control certificate.
- Easy access to artist unemployment. Artists who are able to demonstrate at least 10 artistic services provided or 20 working days during the period from 13 March 2019 to 13 March 2020 will have access to the artist's unemployment.
- Extra budget of EUR 13.07 million for consumption vouchers in the healthcare sector and extension of the period of validity of consumption vouchers in the healthcare sector until the end of 2021.
- Extension of the freezing on the degressivity of unemployment benefits until the end of 2020. This means that the unemployed will not see their unemployment benefits reduced in the period from 1 April to 31 December 2020.
For key sectors:
- Increase quota of voluntary overtime hours to 220 hours in the healthcare sector, other key sectors and essential services. These additional overtime hours will be exempt from taxes and social security contributions, and no overtime pay will be applied.
- Facilitating the temporary secondment of workers to another employer in the healthcare sector or to education establishments.
- Temporarily unemployed persons are allowed to work in agriculture, horticulture, healthcare and education while retaining 75% of their benefits.
- Allowing temporarily unemployed persons to conclude successive fixed-term contracts of at least 7 days with another employer, in healthcare and education.
- Extension of a package of pension measures, amongst other things, to ensure that pensioners who earn an extra income as employees or self-employed persons can combine their pension with a benefit for temporary unemployment or a bridging right. In addition, the pension accrual of people in temporary unemployment is safeguarded, including the accrual of the second pillar. We also prevent pensioners who temporarily return to work, for example in the healthcare sector or in education, from losing part of their pension.
- Doubling of the seasonal work quota also in 2021 and temporary unemployment for seasonal workers arriving in Belgium who have to be quarantined.
Payment by the ONEm/RVA of a supplement to the end-of-year bonus to workers who have been temporarily unemployed for a long time. Workers who have been temporarily unemployed for at least 52 days in 2020 will receive a supplement to their end-of-year bonus of EUR 10 per additional day of temporary unemployment (on top of the 52 days). For those eligible, the total supplement will always be a minimum of EUR 150.
These measures still have to be transposed into legal or regulatory texts. We will keep you updated as soon as we have more details.