Reintroduction of flexible temporary unemployment due to "corona" for all companies

Author: Els Poelman (Legal Expert)
Date:

On 6 November, the federal government announced a broad set of socio-economic aid measures, including a new generalisation of flexible temporary unemployment due to corona. According to the first reports, the scheme that existed until the end of August will become the standard again.

What precedes

From March to August this year, the procedure for temporary unemployment due to corona was simplified to a maximum for all companies: it was sufficient to notify the days of unemployment to the ONEm/RVA at the end of the month, via the DRS/ASR unemployment scenario 5.

After 31 August, a limited number of 'severely affected' sectors and companies were able to continue to apply the flexible procedure. All other companies had to switch to economic unemployment, with the normal application and procedural rules.

The new lock-down, on top of the explosion in the number of quarantine cases, is a tipping point that made the government decide to reintroduce flexible corona unemployment for all companies.

Period of new relaxation

The relaxation will take effect retroactively on 1 October 2020 and will be effective until 31 March 2021 and may possibly be extended.

In practice, the relaxation will start with the month of November, because October has already been processed in the payroll administration.

The "theoretical" retroactivity should allow the ONEm/RVA to unblock certain accounts, e.g. when force majeure corona was requested by a company that was not considered severely affected. Companies which have correctly declared the month of October with economic unemployment or ordinary force majeure (e.g. in case of quarantine) are not meant to systematically convert their DRS/ASR unemployment for October into unemployment force majeure corona .

Relaxation impact

Any temporary unemployment due to corona will be regarded as unemployment force majeure corona again, without prior application by the employer. The employer will only have to notify the days of unemployment to the ONEm/RVA at the end of the month, via the DRS/ASR unemployment scenario 5.

The flexible system is once again accessible to all employers in all sectors. The limitation to "severely affected" sectors/companies is thus lifted, as well as the special treatment in case of a quarantine of the employee or closure of the school where his child attends classes. In all companies both situations are regarded as unemployment force majeure - corona, without any additional evidence being provided to the ONEm/RVA. An attestation (resp. from the general practitioner or from the school) is therefore no longer required for the ONEm/RVA, but in principle does remain applicable in the employer/employee relationship.    

Employers who switched to the economic unemployment scheme after 31 August can switch to the unemployment force majeure corona scheme. The employer will only have to submit a DRS/ASR Scenario 5 containing the days of unemployment encoded as force majeure corona at the end of the month.

Unemployment force majeure corona in practice

The scenario  in force during the period March-August will become the standard  again.

For the employer this means:

  • any form of temporary unemployment due to the corona crisis is unemployment due to force majeure
  • no prior notification to the ONEm/RVA
  • no application for benefits (Social Risk Declaration unemployment scenario 2)
  • no delivery of verification cards C.3.2A
  • only a monthly declaration of the days of temporary unemployment (Social Risk Declaration unemployment scenario 5) with code 'nature of the day' 5.4 and reason 'force majeure Coronavirus’

For the employee this means:

  • single application for benefits via the C.3.2 - WORKER-CORONA

In the case of unemployment due to a cancelled event, the form C.3.2 - WORKER-CORONA-EVENTS must be used

  • exemption from keeping a control card C.3.2A
  • unemployment benefit of 70% of the capped wage (EUR 2,754.76/month)
  • supplement from the ONEm/RVA of EUR 5.63/day
  • reduced withholding tax of 15% on the benefits
  • no admissibility condition, i.e. no occupational history to be demonstrated

Obligation of notification continues to apply!

The obligation to inform the unemployed workers, introduced in July 2020, continues to apply. Refer to our Infoflash of 8 July 2020

 

Source: Federal Government press release of 6 November 2020

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