Temporary Unemployment After 31 August 2020: Flexible Corona Scheme Or Transitional System for Economic Reasons
The general application of the flexible COVID-19 temporary unemployment scheme (a form of temporary unemployment due to force majeure) will come to an end on 31 August 2020, but will nevertheless continue to apply (from 1 September until 31 December 2020) to certain companies and sectors which have been particularly hard hit by the corona crisis. Meanwhile, other companies will be able to utilise a transitional system for economic reasons.
The corona scheme will still apply to:
- employers who can prove that they belong to a sector that is still particularly affected by the restrictive measures taken by the Minister of the Interior (e.g. the events sector); or
- employers who can demonstrate at least 20% temporary unemployment for force majeure due to COVID-19 or temporary unemployment for economic reasons in the second quarter of 2020, compared to the total number of days declared to the National Social Security Office.
In order to continue using the simplified procedure until the end of the year, employers who meet one of these conditions must send the form “C106A-CORONA-HGO” by e-mail to the Temporary Unemployment Department of the competent local National Employment Office (NEO).
Companies that do not meet these conditions, will no longer be able to benefit from the simplified corona temporary unemployment scheme. However, in certain circumstances, these employers will be able to benefit from a temporarily relaxed corona scheme until 31 December 2020 on the basis of economic reasons.
For blue-collar workers, it is possible to apply for a full suspension scheme for 8 weeks (instead of 4 weeks) and a large suspension scheme for 18 weeks (instead of 3 months). A large suspension means that there are less than 3 working days per week, or less than 1 working week out of 2 weeks. If the maximum duration of the suspension has been reached, a full working week must follow before the employer can request a new suspension scheme.
It is more difficult for employers to apply for temporary unemployment for economic reasons for white-collar workers. The employer must:
- either prove that he meets the preconditions of the normal system;
- or make use of the transitional measures provided for in Royal Decree No 46 of 26 June 2020, for the period from 1 September 2020 to 31 December 2020.
In order to benefit from the transitional system, the undertaking must:
- prove a 10% reduction in turnover or production during the quarter preceding the introduction of the system of temporary unemployment, compared to the same quarter of 2019;
- offer 2 days of training per month to those white-collar workers who are temporarily unemployed;
- be bound by a collective agreement or a business plan concluded for the period from 1 September 2020 to 31 December 2020. This collective agreement or business plan, must contain the commitment to offer 2 training days per month to those white-collar workers who are temporarily unemployed.
The employer must send the form “C106A-CORONA-OVERGANGSSTELSEL” by registered post to the Temporary Unemployment Department of the competent local NEO, at the latest 14 days before the first notification to the employees of the ‘suspension of white-collar workers due to lack of work’. In addition, this same notification must be made 7 days before the actual suspension. The employer must therefore act quickly.
In the transitional system, a system of full suspension can be requested for 24 weeks (instead of 16 weeks) and a system of part-time work for 34 weeks (instead of 26 weeks).
It is important to note, that all control obligations for the normal system of temporary unemployment for economic reasons will apply.
Van Olmen & Wynant attorneys are available to assist you with these and other workplace issues. For more information, visit https://www.vow.be/.
For more information please contact Joseph Granato, Communications Manager at L&E Global at firstname.lastname@example.org.