Telework: Again the rule!

Author: Catherine Mairy (Legal Expert)

Teleworking is one of the measures agreed on Friday 16 October 2020 to combat the COVID-19 virus, as is the compulsory closure of establishments in the horeca sector.

For whom?

Teleworking is again the rule:

  • in all enterprises, all associations and all services;
  • for all staff members of whom the position lends itself to it.
  • and to the extent that the continuity of the business, the activities and the services permits so.

All enterprises, associations and services can also organise well-organised 'return moments' with respect for the sanitary regulations.

What if teleworking is not applied?

If teleworking is not applied, the appropriate precautionary measures should be taken:

  • in the enterprises, associations and services: to ensure maximum compliance with the rules of social distancing, in particular maintaining a distance of 1.5 metres between each person.
  • in commerce, (private and public) enterprises and services necessary to protect the vital interests of the Nation and the needs of the people (as well as the producers, suppliers, contractors and subcontractors of goods, works and services essential to the activity of these enterprises and services): to apply the rules of social distancing as far as possible.

The list of businesses, enterprises and services considered necessary for the protection of the vital needs of the Nation and the needs of its people is annexed to the Ministerial Order of 18 October 2020.

Precautionary measures

The appropriate precautionary measures are, we repeat, those defined in the generic guide to combat the spread of COVID-19 at work, possibly supplemented by guidelines (in the sector/company) and/or other measures. Collective measures always take precedence over individual measures.

These measures, which are elaborated at company level, shall be adopted in consultation with:

  • on the one hand, the employee representatives or, failing that, the employees concerned;
  • and, on the other hand, the services for prevention and protection at work.

The employer is obliged to inform in good time employees who are following training provided by the employer.

The precautionary measures applicable in the company must be complied with by the employer, the employees, but also by third parties, who are informed in good time on this subject by the employer.

Please note! The Directorate of the Inspectorate of Well-being at Work (FPS Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue) is still charged with:

  • informing and guiding the employer and the employees;
  • monitoring compliance with the obligations described above.

Source: Ministerial Decree of 18 October 2020 on urgent measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, Belgian Official Gazette of 18 October 2020.

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