Temporary unemployment due to force majeure in the event of closure of school or day care due to the coronavirus
As of October 1, parents will no longer be able to use corona parental leave to take care of their children. As there are currently no plans to extend this type of leave, some parents find themselves in a difficult situation when their children have to stay home because the school or day care have been closed to prevent the further spreading of the coronavirus. These parents will be able to benefit from temporary unemployment due to force majeure, under certain conditions.
At the moment, a legislative proposal to this end has been approved in parliament, but the actual law has not yet been published in the Belgian Official Gazette. The law will have retroactive effect as from October 1, 2020 onwards.
If the employee has a (child) care issue, he or she will be able to benefit from temporary unemployment force majeure, when he or she is in one of the following situations:
- A minor he or she lives with cannot go to school or the nursery, because the school or nursery is closed in order to prevent the further spreading of the coronavirus;
- He/she has a dependent disabled child that, regardless of its age, cannot go to the care centre as this care centre is closed in order to limit the spreading of the coronavirus.
If the employee falls under the scope of one of these two cases, he/she can benefit from temporary unemployment due to force majeure during the period of closure of the nursery, school or care facility, based on a certificate “corona closure”. This certificate, that needs to be completed by the nursery, the school or the care facility, can be found on the website of the Unemployment Office (RVA/ONEM): Attest sluiting Corona
The employee benefitting from this right must immediately inform his or her employer. He/she has to ask the competent institution (nursery, school or care center) to complete the corona closure certificate, which, among others, includes the period of closure. He/she must complete his/her part of the certificate and sign it. He/she should give the completed and signed certificate to his/her employer as soon as possible.
The application procedure is similar to the procedure we discussed in our newsletter of August 6, 2020. A distinction must be made between companies that have been “severely impacted” by the coronacrisis, and the companies that are not considered as such.
We therefore refer to our newsletter of August 6, 2020, for the procedure for severely impacted companies: Temporary unemployment as from September 1. For this specific case, the employer must additionally keep the corona closure certificate at the disposal of the Unemployment Office, that might request this for inspection.
A company that is not considered to be “severely impacted”, has to apply the “classic” procedure of temporary unemployment force majeure. The following formalities should be complied with:
- Notify the force majeure via the electronic application www.socialsecurity.be mentioning as a reason “corona - opvang kind wegens sluiting” (Dutch) / « Corona – Garde d’enfant en raison de fermeture » (French);
- Send the corona closure certificate (via post or e-mail) to the department Temporary unemployment of the competent Unemployment Office;
- Deliver a C3.2A-form to the employee concerned;
- Introduce an electronic declaration ASR-scenario 2 and an ASR-scenario 5.
The employee has to introduce his/her own declaration with the payment institution of his/her choice in order to receive the allowances.
! As explained, this concerns a legislative proposal that has not yet been published. The Unemployment Office’s FAQ however, have already been updated to include these new rules, so we expect the law to be published soon.