Temporary unemployment corona suspends notice!

Author: Catherine Legardien (Legal Expert)
Date:

As from 22 June 2020, the days of temporary unemployment due to force majeure as a result of the COVID-19 crisis suspend the notice period served by the employer.

What is the principle?

Only the days of temporary unemployment due to force majeure COVID-19 (hereinafter 'temporary unemployment corona') as from 22 June 2020 suspend the notice period served by the employer (in case of dismissal), provided that the notice period began from 1 March 2020.

What happens specifically when the employer gives notice (dismissal)?

Several cases may occur.

The notice period began from 1 March 2020 (after 29 February 2020)

If the notice period began from 1 March 2020, only the days of temporary unemployment corona from 22 June 2020 will suspend the notice period.

Example: An employee was dismissed with 26 weeks' notice starting on 23 March 2020. Since the beginning of his notice period, he was in temporary unemployment corona 2 days a week, on Thursdays and Fridays. Only the days of temporary unemployment corona from 22 June 2020 will suspend the notice period.

The notice period began before 1 March 2020

If the notice period began before 1 March 2020, the days of temporary unemployment corona do not suspend the notice period (whether or not they precede 22 June 2020). In other words, the notice period that began before 1 March 2020 will never be suspended because of the days of temporary unemployment corona. The new rule therefore has no impact on it.

Example: An employee was dismissed with 26 weeks' notice starting on 24 February 2020. Since the beginning of his notice period, he was in temporary unemployment corona 2 days a week, on Thursdays and Fridays. No day of temporary unemployment corona will suspend the notice period.

The notice period ended before 22 June 2020

If the notice period ended before 22 June 2020, the new rule will have no impact, regardless of whether the notice period started before or as from 1 March 2020.

Example: An employee was dismissed with 10 weeks' notice starting on 23 March 2020. Since the beginning of his notice period, he was in temporary unemployment corona 2 days a week, on Thursdays and Fridays. The notice period ended on 31 May 2020. The new rule will have no impact on it.

What if the employee gives notice (resignation)?

When the employee gives notice (resignation), the rules do not change. The days of temporary unemployment corona do not suspend the notice period.

Source: Act of 15 June 2020 to suspend the notice period for dismissals given before or during the period of temporary suspension of the performance of the employment contract due to force majeure as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, Belgian Official Gazette 22 June 2020.

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