If you can no longer make use of the simplified procedure of temporary unemployment due to force majeure 'COVID-19’ since 1 September 2020, your quarantined employees will be able to receive temporary unemployment benefits due to 'classic' force majeure through the normal procedure.
In the latest update of the FAQ, the ONEm/RVA provides some important clarifications.
Quarantined employees: principles
If one of your employees has been placed in quarantine, he must inform you immediately. Upon your request, he must also be able to provide you with a quarantine certificate.
As a reminder, the quarantine certificate is issued by the GP to the employee who, although placed in quarantine, is fit to work but is not allowed to travel to work (see our Infoflash "Coronavirus: the 'quarantine certificate' is official").
This may be the case, for example, if your employee returns from a high-risk zone (see our Infoflash "Employees returning from risk zones: what to do?”).
Employment contract and compensation
If your quarantined employee is still able to carry out his work, for example by teleworking, he will continue to receive his usual wages payable by you.
On the other hand, if your employee is unable to carry out his work because he has been placed in quarantine, his contract is suspended due to force majeure. He will therefore, in principle, be entitled to a temporary unemployment benefit due to force majeure from the National Employment Office (ONEm/RVA) if he can submit a quarantine certificate from his doctor.
In the latest update of its FAQ, the ONEm/RVA provides some important clarifications.
- If the medical certificate does not specify an end date, temporary unemployment is accepted for a maximum of 14 days.
- If quarantine is ended before the end of the 14-day period (e.g. as a result of a second negative test), the right to temporary unemployment will of course also end.
- In the case of a high-risk patient, the certificate may be accepted for a maximum period of one month. This period may be extended when a new quarantine certificate is issued, in which the doctor may prescribe an extension of the quarantine for up to 1 month.
Procedure to be observed
Until 31 August 2020, you could make use of the simplified procedure (providing only for a Social Risk Declaration scenario 5) of temporary unemployment 'COVID-19' due to force majeure for your employees placed in quarantine.
Since 1 September 2020, you can only invoke the simplified procedure of temporary unemployment due to force majeure 'COVID-19' for your quarantined employees if your company has been severely affected by the coronacrisis (see our Infoflash Coronacrisis: temporary unemployment after 31 August') or depends on a sector that has been severely affected by the coronacrisis (see our Infoflash 'Coronavirus: the list of severely affected sectors has been published').
If you do not meet the conditions to be eligible for temporary unemployment due to force majeure 'COVID-19', you must follow the ordinary procedure for temporary unemployment due to (classic) force majeure for your employees who have been placed in quarantine. You will then have to complete all the formalities necessary for this type of unemployment:
- inform the ONEm/RVA as soon as possible, using the electronic application available on the website www.socialsecurity.be (on the French website: Entreprise >> Services en ligne >> Chômage temporaire), of one of the three reasons for quarantine from the roll-down menu (either 'quarantaine à la suite d’un séjour à l’étranger’ (quarantine due to stay abroad), ‘quarantaine à la suite d’un contact avec une personne infectée’ (quarantine due to contact with infected person), or ‘patient à risque Corona’ (corona risk patient)). The comments accompanying the notification should not only indicate the send date of the quarantine certificate but also the fact that teleworking is impossible.
- send an e-mail to the competent unemployment office with the reference number of the temporary unemployment notification and the quarantine certificate of the employee,
- at the beginning of the period of temporary unemployment, submit a ‘Social Risk Declaration scenario 2’ via the website www.socialsecurity.be (section Entreprise >> Services en ligne >> DRS – Déclaration de risques sociaux >> DRS par secteur >> Chômage >> Scénario 2 ‘Déclaration constat du droit au chômage temporaire ou à la suspension employés’),
- issue a check form C3.2A to your employee on the 1st actual day of unemployment of the month,
- at the end of each calendar month, submit a ‘Social Risk Declaration scenario 5’ via the website www.socialsecurity.be (section Entreprise >> Services en ligne >> DRS – Déclaration de risques sociaux >> DRS par secteur >> Chômage >> Scenario 5 ‘Déclaration mensuelle d’heures de chômage temporaire’).