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Extension of the possibility to apply temporary unemployment due to Covid-19 force majeure

  • 20/07/2020
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On 17 July 2020, a Royal Decree was published in the Belgian Official Journal (Koninklijk besluit tot verlenging van de maatregelen genomen op vlak van werkloosheid in het kader van de strijd tegen de verspreiding van het coronavirus Covid-19 / Arrêté royal prolongeant les mesures prises en matière de chômage dans le cadre de la lutte contre la propagation du coronavirus Covid-19) in order to extend the possibility to apply temporary unemployment due to Covid-19 force majeure (i) until 31 August 2020 included for all companies and (ii) until 31 December 2020 included for “companies and sectors particularly affected by the corona crisis”, namely: 

  • companies which during the second quarter of 2020 experienced a number of days of temporary unemployment due to economic reasons and to Covid-19 force majeure of at least 20% of the total number of days reported to the National Social Security Office (Rijksdienst voor Sociale Zekerheid  / Office National de Sécurité Sociale). The days reported for unpaid leave, sick leave, maternity leave and paternity leave are not taken into account; and
  • the sectors whose “economic activity and employment have decreased significantly as a result of emergency measures adopted by the Minister of the Interior to limit the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus”. The adoption of a decree by the Minister of Employment is expected in order to clarify the sectors concerned.

Prior to the adoption of temporary unemployment due to Covide-19 force majeure, the employer must notify amongst others the employees concerned in accordance with the information obligations laid down in the Emergency Powers Decree No. 37 of 24 June 2020 (Bijzondere-machtenbesluit nr. 37 tot uitvoering van artikelen 2 en 5 van de wet van 27 maart 2020 die machtiging verleent aan de Koning om maatregelen te nemen in de strijd tegen de verspreiding van het coronavirus Covid-19 tot ondersteuning van de werknemers / Arrêté de pouvoirs spéciaux n°37 pris en exécution des articles 2 et 5 de la loi du 27 mars 2020 accordant des pouvoirs au Roi afin de prendre des mesures dans la lutte contre la propagation du coronavirus Covid-19 visant à soutenir les travailleurs).   

Finally, it also should be noted that pursuant to the Royal Decree No. 46 of 26 June 2020 (Koninklijk besluit nr. 46 tot uitvoering van artikel 5, § 1, 5° van de wet van 27 maart 2020 die machtiging verleent aan de Koning om maatregelen te nemen in de strijd tegen de verspreiding van het coronavirus Covid-19 tot ondersteuning van de werkgevers en de werknemers / Arrêté royal n°46 pris en exécution de l'article 5, § 1er, 5° de la loi du 27 mars 2020 accordant des pouvoirs au Roi afin de prendre des mesures dans la lutte contre la propagation du coronavirus Covid-19 visant à soutenir les employeurs et les travailleurs) the procedure to apply for temporary unemployment due to economic reasons has been simplified for employers who no longer meet the requirements to adopt temporary unemployment due to Covid-19 force majeure. This flexible transition regime will be in force as of 1 September 2020 until 31 December 2020 included.

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