COVID-19: Belgian measures
The Federal Government has introduced several support measures for employers since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. With this newsletter, we would like to inform you about the measures that will be extended and about the measures that will come to an end.
Corona unemployment - extension
The existing corona unemployment scheme , which would normally expire on 30.06.2021, has been extended to 30.09.2021. More information about the conditions for employers who wish to make use of this type of temporary unemployment can be found in our newsletter of 09.11.2020: COVID-19: temporary unemployment.
We would like to remind you that, as an employer, you need to take the following steps if you wish to apply corona unemployment:
Inform your employees in writing prior to the start of corona unemployment about:
- the period of corona unemployment
- the number of days during which the employee will be temporarily unemployed and in the event of partial corona unemployment, the number of days the employee is expected to work.
Inform your Payroll Business Partner which days your employees will work and which days they are unemployed.
Pro-Pay takes care of the required electronic registration of these unemployment days, which allows the Unemployment Office (RVA/ONEM) to determine the unemployment allowance for the employee.
Assimilation corona unemployment for holidays
Employees accrue holiday rights based upon their performance in the preceding calendar year, also referred to as the holiday reference year. A number of absences are assimilated for the entitlement to holidays and are thus considered as days worked. The days of temporary unemployment in the context of COVID-19 that took place between 01.02.2020 and 31.12.2020 were already assimilated to days worked for the holiday entitlement in 2021. However, no further official decision has been taken yet that assimilates the days of corona unemployment for the entitlement to holidays in 2022.
Mandatory telework declaration - end
Over the past 3 months, we have informed you about the mandatory telework declaration. Via the mandatory electronic registration system of the government, employers had to declare the number of persons working in the company and the number of non-teleworkable functions.
As of 27.06.2021, teleworking is no longer mandatory, but it is still strongly recommended for all companies, associations and services, regardless of their size, and for all employees whose job function is suitable for telework. Consequently, from the month of July onwards, the teleworking declaration no longer has to be submitted.
For your information: from 27.06.2021 onwards, there is no longer an obligation to provide your employees with a certificate confirming the necessity of their presence in the company.
Temporary increase office costs – extension
As mentioned in our newsletter of 09/04/2021, you as an employer, have the possibility to grant your employees who work from home on a structural and regular basis a monthly lump sum indemnity of € 129.48 for office costs. This indemnity is exempt from taxes and social security contributions.
The federal government increased the monthly lump sum indemnity in the 2nd quarter of 2021, from € 129.48 to € 144.31. In a press release it was announced that this temporary increase will be extended to the 3rd quarter of 2021 (from 01.07.2021 to 30.09.2021). Please note that this measure has not yet been officially published.
Extension quota 475 hours for students in Q3 in 2021
In our previous newsletter on student work, we informed you that the hours worked by a student during the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2021 (so from 01.01.2021 to 30.06.2021) in the health care and education sector were not counted towards the annual quota of 475 hours.
In the meantime, a draft act has been published that brings more clarity about student work in the 3rd quarter of 2021 (so from 01.07.2021 to 30.09.2021). The hours a student will work during the 3rd quarter will not count towards the quota of 475 hours. This will allow students to work more than 475 hours with the lower solidarity contribution on a yearly basis. This measure will apply to all students in all sectors (so not only to sectors that were mandatory closed in the past months due to COVID-19). The purpose of this measure is to support the whole economy in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. Please note that it concerns a draft act. The official law has not yet been published.