The period covered by the previous 2017-2018 sectoral agreement expires on 31 December 2018. For 2019 and 2020, the conditions of the various systems of unemployment with corporate allowance (RCC/SWT, former bridging pension) that are partly laid down in this agreement will therefore be renegotiated.
Although the intersectoral negotiations have not yet taken place, the changes planned by the federal government are already on the table. However, the changes below are not yet final.
THE CAREER CONDITION IS RAISED
To be eligible in 2018 for the system of unemployment with corporate allowance provided for in collective agreement 17, you had to be aged 62 and have a career of 40 years. For women, the career condition is gradually brought to the same level as for men. This was 34 years.
As of 1 January 2019, the career condition will be raised to 41 years. For women, this condition is gradually further raised to 35 years in 2019. As from 2025, both men and women will have to justify a career of 41 years.
COMPANIES IN DIFFICULTIES OR UNDERGOING RESTRUCTURING
Several conditions apply to the system of unemployment with corporate allowance for companies in difficulties or undergoing restructuring from 2019 onwards.
While employees in companies in difficulties or undergoing restructuring can access the RCC/SWT from the age of 56 in 2018, the required age would be raised to 59 from 1 January 2019. In 2020, employees would have to wait until the age of 60 to get access to this system. The possibility for the social partners to conclude an intersectoral collective agreement deviating from this age condition will be abolished from 2019. This change would not apply to collective redundancies announced before 1 January 2019.
Bearing of the training costs (bottleneck profession)
For companies engaging in or intending to engage in collective redundancies, the restructuring plan must, as from 1 January 2019, include a commitment for each employee made redundant with a view to a RCC/SWT and undergoing training to prepare for a bottleneck profession to bear at least EUR 3,600 for this training, without exceeding the actual training costs. The employer will have to specify this commitment and the way in which it will be implemented in the company collective agreement providing for the introduction of a RCC/SWT. The various regional employment services responsible for vocational training determine the list of bottleneck professions (Actiris, VDAB and Forem).
Exemption from modified availability - Stricter conditions
Contrary to unemployed persons who have to be available for the labour market, the unemployment system with corporate allowance requires employees to be available in a modified way (registration as a job seeker, obligation to accept suitable work ...). They may be exempted from this obligation at their request if they meet certain age and career conditions. Under the general system (62 years of age), they must be able to justify a professional career of 43 years.
For employees who are dismissed by a company in difficulties or undergoing restructuring, the age at which they can be exempted from the obligation to be available in a modified way will also be changed in 2019. In 2018 they could be exempted provided that they are aged 61 or justify a career of 39 years. From 2019, they would have to be aged 63 or justify a career of 41 years. From 2020, the general condition of a professional career of 43 years will apply to these employees.
With regard to the different systems (very long careers, arduous occupations, disabled employees or employees with severe physical problems), the necessary conditions still have to be defined pending the outcome of the intersectoral negotiations within the NLC.
We will keep you informed of the evolution of this subject.
Source: Draft Royal Decree of 23 April 2013 amending the Royal Decree of 3 May 2007 establishing the system of unemployment with corporate allowance.