Temporary unemployment following the floods: procedure from 1 August 2021

Author: Catherine Legardien (Legal Expert)

The ONEm/RVA provides important clarifications on the procedure to be followed, from 1 August 2021, for the temporary unemployment of employees who cannot work due to the bad weather of 14 and 15 July.


The ONEm/RVA accepts that all situations of temporary unemployment as a consequence of the bad weather be declared as temporary unemployment due to force majeure.

This will be the case if:

  • the employee is unable to perform his duties because the workplace is flooded or the employer's infrastructure is affected or destroyed,
  • the employee cannot get to the workplace because public transport is suspended or roads are flooded.

Important note!

Given this exceptional situation, it is accepted, until 15 August 2021, that circumstances which do not in themselves directly render work impossible may nevertheless be invoked to justify temporary unemployment due to force majeure. By such circumstances it is meant situations where the worker has suffered severe loss or damage and is de facto unable to go to work because he has to give priority to finding a new home, cleaning or repairing his home, settling his claim or finding alternative means of transport. 

It is also accepted that temporary unemployment due to force majeure may be alternated (i.e. the employee does not have to be temporarily unemployed continuously or there may be an alternation between employees).

Please note!

In order to be able to invoke temporary unemployment due to force majeure, certain conditions must be met.

All information is available on the ONEm/RVA website.


In the event of temporary unemployment due to force majeure, the ordinary procedure must in principle be followed. This means that the employer must notify the temporary unemployment due to force majeure to the ONEm/RVA.

As a reminder, for the days of temporary unemployment in the period from 14 July to 31 July 2021 inclusive, temporary unemployment is however accepted without this notification. In this case, the employer must, in the social risk declaration concerning temporary unemployment (DRS WECH 5), only mention “force majeure” (with day code 5.4) for the days of temporary unemployment and indicate “exceptional weather circumstances” as the reason for the force majeure.

For the period from 1 August 2021 onwards, the employer is obliged to send an electronic notification of temporary unemployment to the ONEm/RVA. This declaration must include the expected duration of the force majeure and is accepted for a maximum period of three months (renewable if necessary).

Depending on the circumstances, the reason for the force majeure to be indicated is as follows:


In the “remarks” section, the employer must give a concrete description of the circumstances (e.g. cleaning work in a flooded house, no means of transportation to work, etc.).  No supporting documents need to be attached to the declaration.

Please note! If the reasons for force majeure concern the employee's personal situation (reason 2), the notification will only be accepted until 15 August 2021.

Since derogation rules for all temporary unemployed persons in the context of the Corona crisis still apply until 30 September 2021, the employee does not have to be in possession of a C3.2A control card.

Source: ONEm/RVA


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