Corona parental leave
On May 2, 2020, the Council of Ministers approved the introduction of a special type of parental leave, also referred to as the corona parental leave. This temporary type of leave needs to allow parents to ensure a better combination of work and the care for children in the months of May and June. Given the fact that the Ministerial decision will most probably only be published in the Belgian State Gazette by May 12, the present newsletter is based on information published by the Belgian unemployment office (RVA/ONEM) and what has been communicated in the press by the Minister of Work.
Provided that they have the preliminary approval of their employer, employees can decrease their working time in the months of May and June 2020 to take care of a child younger than 12. The corona parental leave is in other words not a right for the employee.
The corona parental leave can be taken as follows:
- Full-time employees can reduce their working time by half or by 20%
- Employees working minimum 75% of a full-time working schedule can ask for a half-time reduction of their working time
The employee will be able to ask corona parental leave for the whole period at once or, alternatively, per month or per week.
Employees who are currently already benefitting from parental leave in the normal regime will be able to change their current leave to corona leave or to suspend their current parental leave to apply for corona leave instead. The use of corona parental leave does not have an impact on the period during which an employee can benefit from the normal parental leave. It comes in other words on top of the existing parental leave.
- The employee must have been working for the current employer for at least one month.
- The leave can be taken by all parents (including foster parents) who have at least one child younger than 12 at the moment of the application (younger than 21 years in case of a child with a handicap).
- The corona parental leave needs to be taken between May 1 and June 30, 2020.
The employee needs to apply in writing for the corona parental leave with the employer at the latest 3 working days preceding the intended starting date of the leave. There are no formalities linked to the document so an application by e-mail is acceptable. Within 6 working days and in any case before the intended starting date of the leave, the employer needs to inform the employee of the decision taken regarding the corona parental leave.
Following the approval of the employer, the employee can file his or her application (online) with the Unemployment Office.
! Given the fact that the legislation regarding the corona parental leave has not been published yet, it is not possible at this moment to file the application with the Unemployment Office.
According to the Minister of Work, employer and employee can however already come to an agreement regarding the modalities of the corona parental leave and can already start applying the leave, as the legislation would have retroactive effect as from May 1, 2020 onwards.