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In order to increase the workforce in the health care sector employees have the possibility, under certain conditions, to temporarily suspend their career break or to go and work for another employer during a career break period.
This temporary measure, which was applicable until 1 January 2022 is now extended until 31 December 2022.
Important note! This extension still has to be published in the Belgian Official Gazette.
The employees concerned are those who have completely suspended or reduced their working time (to a half-time job, by 1/5 or 1/10) within the framework of time credit or thematic leave (hereinafter referred to as 'career break').
Suspension of the career break is only authorised for employees who are employed by an employer in care.
The possibility to work during a career break is only available for employment with another employer in care.
More specifically, the care sector is understood to mean: (public and private) services and organisations providing care, support and assistance to individuals, the elderly, minors, disabled persons and vulnerable persons, including victims of intra-family violence. As far as the private sector is concerned, these services or organisations specifically belong to the following joint committees:
Are also referred to:
There are two possibilities for an employee taking a career break:
An employee employed by an employer belonging to the care sector, may agree with him to temporarily suspend his career break.
At the end of that temporary suspension, the career break will be continued for the remainder of the period under the original conditions.
During the period of suspension of the career break, the employee retains his career break benefit payable by the National Employment Office (ONEm/RVA). However, the amount of that benefit is reduced by 1/4.
Temporary suspension of the career break is only possible until 30 June 2022.
During his career break, the employee may be temporarily employed with another employer belonging to the care sector.
The parties (the employee and the other employer) must conclude a written fixed-term contract. The end date of that contract cannot be later than 31 December 2022, the planned end date of this measure.
The employee retains his career break benefit at the expense of the ONEm/RVA. However, the amount of the career break benefit is reduced by 1/4 for the duration of the employment contract.
The employer can only use these measures if there are no alternative solutions available within the same company to meet the problem of staff shortages, such as offering more hours to part-time employees. The employer must consult on this in advance with the works council or, in the absence thereof, the committee for prevention and protection at work or, in the absence thereof, with the trade union delegation.
The employer who uses these measures must:
The discussion is placed on the agenda of the meeting each month for as long as the measures are used and, for the last time, at the meeting following the end of the use.
The employee must inform the ONEm/RVA in writing of the temporary suspension of the career break or the temporary employment with another employer. This is done using a form that can be downloaded from the ONEm/RVA website.
Sources: Draft law 2888 containing measures to address staff shortages in the healthcare sector.
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