Omicron measure: successive FTC authorized from 23 January until 28 February 2022

Author: Catherine Mairy (Legal expert)
Date:

In order to ensure the proper organization of work during the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be possible, under certain conditions, to conclude successive fixed-term employment contracts.

This measure will apply from 23 January until 28 February 2022 in all sectors, except care and education.

In those two sectors, the measure will be in effect from 1 January until 31 March 2022.

Rule

If the employer and the employee have concluded several successive fixed-term employment contracts, they are deemed to have entered into an employment contract for an indefinite period, subject to the derogations provided for in the Employment Contract Act of 3 July 1978.

‘Omicron emergency measure’ derogation

An additional derogation to this rule will apply from 23 January until 28 February 2022.

Please note! The measure still has to be published in the Belgian Official Gazette.

Update! The Act of 14 February 2022 was published on 9 March 2022. The measure has been confirmed.

Conditions

In practice, it will be possible to conclude successive fixed-term employment contracts between the same parties without, however, constituting an employment contract for an indefinite period if the following conditions are met:

  • the employer does not belong to the care or education sector;
  • the employee is temporarily unemployed with an employer other than the one concluding the fixed-term employment contract;
  • the duration of each employment contract is a minimum of 7 calendar days;
  • successive fixed-term contracts are concluded during the period from 23 January 2022 to 28 February 2022.

The employee will have the right to terminate these employment contracts without notice.

Please note! The validity conditions of the fixed-term employment contract have not been changed (mandatory written document drawn up no later than the time at which the employee starts employment, etc.).

Informing the employees (or their representatives)

The employer who uses or wishes to use the measure must immediately inform the trade union delegation or, in the absence thereof, the employees (by appropriate means).

The information shall cover:

  • the possible use of the measure,
  • the exact start date of use,
  • the absences within the company and their impact on the operation of the company.

The employer may continue to use the measure after an initial two-week period unless the trade union delegation unanimously objects within ten days of the start of the use of the measure. 

The reasons why the measure can no longer be used shall be explained in writing and in detail.

If there is no trade union delegation, the employer shall notify the joint committee of the intention to continue using the measure.

Source: Bill containing various temporary emergency measures in the field of labour law to combat the labour shortage caused by the Omicron variant contaminations, doc. 55 2456, www.lachambre.be.

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