FROM CORONA UNEMPLOYMENT TO ECONOMIC UNEMPLOYMENT: TRANSITIONAL REGIME

Due to the overwhelming amount of applications for temporary unemployment in the context of the outbreak of the coronavirus, the Belgian government decided to simplify the procedure and to open up the temporary unemployment regime for force majeure to all situations related to the coronavirus. 

Consequently, as of 13 March 2020, all temporary unemployment resulting from the virus can be considered as temporary unemployment due to force majeure and is subject to a simplified application procedure.

These measures are valid until 31 August 2020

Highly impacted sectors and/or employers will be able to benefit from the corona unemployment regime until the end of this year. The Belgian Government has yet to decide on the qualification criteria.

In the meantime, a Royal Decree (n°46 of 26 June 2020) was published in the Belgian State Gazette, providing for a transitional regime for employers who will no longer benefit from the corona unemployment regime as from 1 September 2020. The Royal Decree provides for a number of derogations from the existing temporary unemployment regime for economic reasons to allow a smooth transition from the current corona unemployment regime.

With regard to the temporary unemployment regime for economic reasons for blue-collar workers, the Royal Decree provides for an extension of the maximum duration: either a complete suspension of the employment contract for a period of maximum 8 weeks (instead of 4 weeks) or a partial suspension of the employment contract for a period of maximum 18 weeks (instead of 3 months).

With regard to the temporary unemployment regime for economic reasons for white-collar employees, the Royal Decree provides for three derogations:

  1. Access to the system will no longer be restricted to “undertakings in difficulty”. The employer must however be able to demonstrate that in the quarter preceding the introduction of the temporary unemployment regime for economic reasons he has experienced a substantial decrease of at least 10% in turnover or production compared to the same quarter of 2019. In addition, he must offer the white-collar employees placed in economic unemployment two training days per month;
  2. Even though a collective agreement or business plan, providing for the payment of a supplement on top of the temporary unemployment benefit is still required, the business plan will not have to be transferred to the Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue (FPS ELSD);
  3. Extension of the maximum duration: either a complete suspension of the employment contract for a period of maximum 24 weeks (instead of 16 weeks) or a partial suspension of the employment contract for a period of maximum 34 weeks (instead of 26 weeks).

The transitional regime will apply from 1 September 2020 until 31 December 2020.

Please do not hesitate to contact the AMBOS employment team if you have any questions on this matter.

Gepubliceerd in: Juridisch nieuws