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Royal Decree No. 46 temporarily adapts the existing economic unemployment schemes (manual and non-manual workers) to facilitate the transition from temporary unemployment due to force majeure as a result of Covid-19 to these schemes.
This transitional regime will enter into force on 1 September 2020 and will cease to have effect on 31 December 2020 .
The transitional regime will apply to companies which will no longer be in a position to invoke temporary unemployment due to force majeure related to the Covid-19 outbreak.
In such a case, they will be able to resort to temporary unemployment due to lack of work for economic reasons.
In order to facilitate the transition from one scheme to the other, temporary adjustments are being made to the existing economic unemployment schemes for manual and non-manual workers.
As regards economic unemployment for manual workers, the temporary adjustments relate to the maximum duration of unemployment in the absence of a sectoral Royal Decree:
Important note! With the exception of the temporary adjustments mentioned above, the other rules of the economic unemployment scheme for manual workers will therefore continue to apply unchanged. Thus, the employer will always be obliged (where appropriate, in the required forms and by the required time):
As regards economic unemployment for non-manual workers, the temporary adjustments relate to:
a)Terms of application
The temporary adjustments are as follows:
If the company is bound by a company plan, the following will also apply:
It should also be noted that the company plan will not have to be submitted to the Director-General of the Directorate General Collective Labour Relations of the FPS Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue, nor will it have to be presented to the ‘Company Plans’ Committee for approval.
b) Maximum duration
The maximum duration of temporary unemployment per calendar year (either 16 calendar weeks in the case of complete suspension of the employment contract, or 26 calendar weeks in the case of a reduced working time scheme involving at least 2 working days/week) will be increased by 8 calendar weeks.
Important note! With the exception of the temporary adjustments mentioned above, the other rules of the economic unemployment scheme for non-manual workers will therefore continue to apply unchanged. Thus, the employer will always be obliged (where appropriate, in the required forms and by the required time):
We await further clarification on certain points (e.g. on the conditions required to still be able to resort to temporary unemployment 'force majeure Covid-19' after 31 August 2020). We will keep you updated.
Source: Royal Decree No. 46 of 26 June 2020 implementing Article 5, § 1, 5° of the Act of 27 March 2020 authorising the King to take measures in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus Covid-19 (II) to support the employers and the employees, Belgian Official Gazette of 1 July 2020 (Art. 12 to 14).
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