New formalities for the communication of temporary unemployment due to force majeure corona

As communicated in our newsletter of June 19, the special regime of temporary unemployment corona force majeure (hereinafter referred to as 'corona unemployment') will continue to exist until August 31, 2020. There is no news yet concerning a possible general extension.

However, a decision from the government has recently introduced new formalities concerning the information to be provided to employees about corona unemployment. These formalities are applicable as from July 13, 2020.


New formalities

As from July 13, 2020, the employer has to inform the employee individually, at the latest on the day before the start of the partial or complete corona unemployment (and in any event before the employee goes to work) 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.

Provided that every employee is clearly informed about the working regime applicable to him, this notification can also be done collectively, if the corona unemployment concerns multiple people.

The employer must also inform the employees about the formalities they have to complete in order to obtain an unemployment allowance.

If the employer has a works council, or in absence thereof, a trade union delegation, he must inform them about the decision concerning corona unemployment.

For employees who were already in the system of corona unemployment before July 13, no new notification has to be done. However, every time an employer increases the foreseen number of unemployment days, or when he goes from a regime of partial unemployment to a complete suspension of the employment contract, he must fulfil the above formalities.

If the employer wants the employee to work despite a notification of corona unemployment, the corona unemployment can be withdrawn or suspended.

The employer who does not comply with the notification formalities, is obliged to pay the employee his usual salary for the entire period preceding the fulfillment of these formalities. 


Prohibition employment of students or third parties to replace a temporarily unemployed person

If an employer applies corona unemployment for his employees, he cannot let third parties or students perform the usual work of the employee. There is one exception: namely when corona unemployment is invoked for an employee because he is placed in a mandatory quarantine. In that case the employer can let third parties or students perform the work instead.

Please note that a specific medical certificate can be issued for an employee who is placed in quarantine.

If the employer does not comply with this prohibition, he is obliged to pay the employee his usual salary for the days on which he has let third parties / students do the work of the employee.


Transitional measure from corona unemployment to economic unemployment

As the system of temporary unemployment corona as a rule ends on August 31, 2020 for most companies, the government has provided a transitional regime: companies will no longer be able to use temporary unemployment force majeure as from September, but they will be able to use a simplified form of economic unemployment instead.

We will inform you soon about this ‘transitional’ economic unemployment.

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