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The Royal Decree of 26 January 2023 modifies the entitlement to interruption benefits for time credit and thematic leave.
The new rules relate to the entitlement to interruption benefits allocated to employees taking time credit. The conditions for entitlement to time credit established in collective bargaining agreement 103 have not changed.
For time credit, the entitlement to benefits is established by Royal Decree. This Royal Decree is amended. The entitlement to time credit as such, i.e. to be absent, is established by a collective bargaining agreement, CBA no. 103. This collective agreement has not been amended.
Attention: with the entry into force of the new Royal Decree, from 1 February 2023, the conditions for being entitled to time credit and time credit interruption benefits will no longer be the same!
To be entitled to time credit benefits in the form of a full suspension, employees must prove to the employer at the time of application either that they actually worked full-time for 12 months or part-time for 24 months.
Employees requesting 1/5th or half-time time credit must prove to the employer that they actually worked full-time during the 12 months preceding the application.
Employees working 4/5th will also no longer be entitled to a half-time credit with benefits, as they must justify 12 months of actual full-time employment rather than ¾th employment.
Employees have the right to take time credit with benefits with the motive "caring for a child" to care for a child under the age of 5. Thus, the age of the child is reduced from 8 to 5 years when employees apply for a full suspension.
The entitlement to time credit without benefits is maintained for caring for a child under 8 years of age.
The entitlement to time credit with benefits remains possible for caring of a child under the age of 8 when employees reduce their working hours to a 1/5th or half-time time credit.
The maximum duration of a time credit with motive "caring for a child”, regardless of the form (full suspension, half-time reduction or 1/5th reduction) is reduced from 51 months to 48 months.
Until 31 January 2023, employees on thematic leave, i.e. parental leave, medical assistance leave or palliative care leave, received increased benefits if they were at least 50 years old when they reduced their working hours by 1/5th or to a half time employment.
However, this supplement will be abrogated as of 1 February 2023.
This means that the amount of the benefits granted to employees on parental leave, medical assistance leave or palliative care leave will be the same regardless of the employee's age.
The entitlement to increased benefits for employees with 5 years of seniority will also be abolished from 1 February 2023.
The adjustments take effect for all applications for time credit submitted to the employer as of 1 February 2023.
The increase in the seniority requirement to be entitled to benefits for time credit with motive "caring for a child" will not take effect until 1 June 2023.
For the allocation of interruption benefits, the reduction in the maximum duration of time credit for caring for a child under 8 years of age applies to applications that began no later than 31 January 2023, provided employees have taken less than 30 months of time credit for caring for a child under 8 years of age on 1 February 2023. The Royal Decree in this case allows employees who would thus no longer be entitled to interruption benefits to terminate their time credit early, the employer cannot oppose it.
Sources: Royal Decree of 26 January 2023 amending various Royal Decrees on time credit, thematic leave and career interruption , Belgian Official Journal of 31.01.2023.
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