New lockdown: what about temporary unemployment?

Author: Els Poelman (Legal Expert)
Date:

On Friday the Consultative Committee announced a second lockdown, which will last a month and a half and will again require certain companies to close down. The federal and regional governments agree to extend and even strengthen the support measures. One of these measures is the system of temporary unemployment.

Current situation: different systems of temporary unemployment

In order to deal with the massive temporary unemployment due to the coronacrisis, the (previous) government introduced the system of temporary unemployment 'force majeure-corona': a flexible system of temporary unemployment in which it is sufficient to declare the days of unemployment to the ONEm/RVA at the end of the month (via a Social Risk Declaration unemployment scenario 5).

Since 1 September, this flexible system has been limited to the 'severely affected’ sectors and companies, on the assumption that economic activity would normalize in other sectors/companies. Those other sectors/companies have to rely on ordinary economic unemployment, through the normal procedure.

Waiting for a new generalization of ‘corona’ unemployment

Now that the second lockdown is a fact, it is generally assumed that the flexible unemployment ‘force majeure-corona’ will once again become the rule; this is inevitable.

Until a government decision brings clarity, the current systems will continue to apply. You can determine which system is applicable for your company by means of the criteria of the four categories below (evaluate in ascending order). We will of course inform you immediately as soon as the government announces a relaxation.  

1. You belong to one of the following sectors, which in their entirety are considered ‘severely affected’

JC 140.02: taxis

JC 227: audiovisual sector

JC 302: ‘horeca’ sector (hotels, cafés, restaurants)

JC 303.03: operation of cinema halls

JC 304: entertainment industry

JC 329: socio-cultural sector

JC 333: tourist attractions

You can apply the flexible ‘corona’ unemployment until 31 December 2020 without prior application to the ONEm/RVA.

2. You do not belong to one of the integrally ‘severely affected’ sectors of Category 1, but your company is considered individually ‘severely affected’

This is the case if your company had at least 20% temporary unemployment in the second quarter of 2020. For the evaluation of the 20%, see our infoflash of July 17th.

You can apply the flexible ‘corona’ unemployment until 31 December 2020 for all employees of your company, provided you submit an application to the ONEm/RVA in advance. The application is made on the basis of section III of the C106A corona-EPT form.

If you have already submitted that application and received approval from the RVA, you do not need to take any new action.

3. You do not belong to the sectors of Category 1 and you do not meet the criterion of 20% temporary unemployment, but you belong to one of the following sectors AND you exercise the activity which is ‘severely affected’

JC no.

Competence of the JC

Severely affected activities

100

auxiliary JC for manual workers

  • activities related to the organisation of events and fairs
  • travel agencies and tour operators

109

clothing and tailoring business

rental and installation of tents

111

metal, mechanical and electrical construction

  • aeronautical activities
  • maintenance and repair of aircraft used for the transport of passengers
  • construction and assembly in function of stage building

126

furniture and woodworking industry

  • rental and installation of equipment for fairs, exhibitions and festivities
  • building, rental and installation of stands, decors, grandstands 
  • rental of spaces for exhibitions, fairs, festivities, the display of merchandise, permanent or otherwise, events of any kind
  • setting up of stands, exhibitions, fairs

139

inland navigation

pleasure craft for tourist purposes

140.01

buses and coaches

touring coaches

140.04

ground handling in airports

activities relating to the transport by air of persons

149.01

electricity - installation and distribution

installation of sound and image installations as part of the organisation of events

200

auxiliary JC non-manual workers

  • activities related to the organisation of events and fairs
  • travel agencies and tour operators
  • road and rail passenger transport

209

non-manual workers metal industry

  • aeronautical activities
  • maintenance and repair of aircraft used for the transport of passengers

215

non-manual workers clothing and tailoring business

rental and installation of tents

226

non-manual workers international trade, transport and logistics

activities relating to the transport by air of persons

314

hairdressing and beauty care

operation of jacuzzis, steam rooms and hammams

315

commercial aviation

activities relating to the transport by air of persons

You can apply the flexible ‘corona’ unemployment until 31 December 2020, provided you submit an application to the ONEm/RVA and only for the employees included in that application. The application is made on the basis of section II of the C106A corona-EPT form.

If you have already submitted that application and received approval from the RVA, you do not need to take any new action.

4. You do not belong to the ‘severely affected’ sectors/activities of points 1 or 3, nor do you fulfil the criterion of 20% temporary unemployment 

You cannot appeal to the flexible ‘corona’ unemployment.

You must make use of the normal system of economic unemployment or suspension for non-manual workers. Until 31 December 2020, both systems have been made more flexible. Refer to our Infoflashes of 9 July, 31 July and 27 August.

For employees in quarantine or affected by a school closure of their child, you can individually apply for unemployment for majeure through the ordinary procedure force majeure.

 

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