On 12 February 2021, the government decided to extend, until the end of June, the series of economic support measures taken in November 2020. Additional economic support measures were also approved.
Extension of existing measures
Among others, the following measures have been extended until June 2021:
- Temporary unemployment due to force majeure for all sectors,
- Reduction of the withholding tax for temporary unemployment,
- Extension of temporary unemployment due to a child placed in quarantine,
- Freeze on decreasing full unemployment benefits, neutralisation of the period of integration allowances,
as well as the specific measures on extra employees for crucial sectors:
- Increased quota of voluntary overtime to 220 hours in the healthcare sector, crucial sectors and essential services to be used in the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2021,
- Facilitating the temporary secondment of employees 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,
- Temporarily unemployed persons are allowed to conclude successive fixed-term contracts of at least 7 days with another employer, in healthcare and education,
- Extension of the COVID-19 compensation fund for volunteers and authorization for commercial hospitals to hire volunteers,
- Pensions: measures on combining pension and temporary unemployment + maintenance of 2nd pillar accrual in case of temporary unemployment.
The government has also agreed on a series of new measures, including among others the following:
Reduction of the employer contribution in the event sector
In order to support the preparations for the reopening of the events sector (including the cultural and wedding sectors), the employer contributions for employees will be reduced.
Temporary increase in the student work quota
Student work in healthcare or education will not be taken into account for the annual maximum of 475 hours of student work per student.
Temporary unemployment in half days
The current temporary unemployment scheme can be applied on a day-to-day basis. In some sectors, however, the day is divided into clearly distinct parts and it is therefore useful to introduce additional flexibility. Temporary unemployment in half days will henceforth be possible in the service voucher and school transport sectors.
Premium to support employees
Low-paid employees, who have been temporarily unemployed for a long time (more than 52 days since the start of the coronacrisis), and who are employed in a sector that is still compulsorily closed on 1 March 2021, will receive a one-off premium of up to €780 gross. The actual amount depends on the number of days of temporary unemployment during the months of January, February and March 2021.
Flexible use of time credit and career breaks
In order to cope with labour shortages in certain sectors, people taking time credit or a career break will be able to work temporarily and then resume their credit or break without difficulty.
Increased home working allowance for employees and civil servants
Employees and civil servants will receive, for 3 and 8 months respectively, an increased tax-exempt allowance to compensate for the costs of working from home.
These measures still have to be transposed into legal or regulatory texts. We will keep you updated as soon as we have more details.