Temporary unemployment force majeure in the event of school closure: simplified procedure for all employers!

Author: Catherine Legardien (Legal Expert)
Date:

On 6 November 2020, the federal government decided to reintroduce the simplified procedure for temporary unemployment due to corona force majeure for all employers and employees (manual and non-manual workers).

Consequently, all situations of temporary unemployment due to the corona virus can again be considered as temporary unemployment due to corona force majeure, regardless of whether or not the employer’s company is recognised as a company that is particularly hard hit by the crisis or the company belongs to a sector that is particularly hard hit by the crisis.

This measure shall apply from 1 October 2020 until 31 March 2021.

For more information, please refer to 'Reintroduction of flexible temporary unemployment due to 'corona' for all companies’.

The simplified procedure of temporary unemployment due to corona force majeure also applies when the employee is absent due to the closure of the establishment that takes care of his child (school, childcare centre, disability day-care centre) as a result of a measure to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Principles

Since 1 October 2020, your employee has the right to remain absent from work without pay:

  • when a minor child with whom he is cohabiting is unable to attend his day-care centre or school because the day-care centre, school or class to which he belongs is closed due to a measure aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus;
  • when he has a dependent disabled child, regardless of that child's age, and that child is unable to go to the disability day-care centre because that centre is closed or the intramural or extramural service or treatment organised or recognised by the Communities has been temporarily interrupted due to a measure aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

Your employee maintains this right as long as the child in question cannot return to the day-care centre, school or disability day-care centre.

For the days of absence, your employee may receive temporary unemployment benefits due to force majeure.

Employee’s obligations

The employee who makes use of this right must inform you immediately.

He must also have a certificate completed (available on the website of the ONEm/RVA) by the school, the day-care centre, the disability day-care centre or the intramural or extramural service or treatment organised or recognised by the Communities. Afterwards, the employee immediately submits you the certificate that he has completed and co-signed.

This certificate confirms the closure of the said institution/interruption of service and indicates the period for which the closure/interruption of service applies.

Benefit under the simplified procedure for temporary unemployment due to corona force majeure

For the days on which he is absent, your employee receives an unemployment benefit from the ONEm/RVA corresponding to 70 % of the ceiled salary (2,754.76 EUR per month) plus 5.63 EUR per day.

Following the government's decision to reintroduce the simplified procedure with regard to temporary unemployment due to corona force majeure for all employers and employees, only the following formalities apply:

  • each month you must declare the days of temporary unemployment (DRS/ASR unemployment scenario 5), with code 5.4 for the 'nature of the day' and 'coronavirus' as the reason;
  • your employee must submit a - single - benefit application to his payout institution by means of the C.3.2 - WORKER-CORONA form.

For more information, please refer to 'Reintroduction of flexible temporary unemployment due to ‘corona’ for all companies’.

You must, moreover, keep the certificate of closure that your employee has submitted to you at the disposal of the services of the ONEm/RVA, in the event of an inspection.

What about the days that extend the autumn half-term break?

The ONEm/RVA has announced that employees who will have to take time off from work to look after their children during the days of the extended autumn half-term break will be able to receive temporary unemployment benefits due to force majeure 'school closure'. This extension of autumn half-term break is in fact considered to be a school closure following a measure to limit the spread of the coronavirus. 

Two important clarifications

  1. Temporary unemployment force majeure to look after a child is not possible during the period covered by the ordinary school holidays, as this is not a school closure following a measure to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
  2. As this is a general measure, the school must only issue the certificate of closure corona if the employee expressly requests it (because you yourself requested it).

Sources: law of 23 October 2020 extending temporary unemployment force majeure corona to employees in the event of closure of their child’s school, day-care centre or disability day-care centre, Belgian Official Gazette of 30 October 2020 ONEm/RVA.

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