Do employees still have death cover or an accrual of pension rights when temporarily unemployed because of coronavirus?


The corona crisis is having an impact on many aspects of everyday life. Currently, a lot of employees are temporarily unemployed due to force majeure. Consequently, their employment contracts are suspended during this period. 

Employers and employees should be aware that suspending the employment contract has an impact on the accrual of pension rights and on risk coverages included in their pension plan rules. Pension plan rules can stipulate that pension rights only accrue during a period of activity and therefore when the employee is actually working.

Under a Defined Contribution plan, this means that the employer no longer pays contributions while the employment contract is suspended.
Under a Defined Benefit plan, this means that the period of unemployment will not be taken into account when calculating pension rights when an employee retires.


Death cover is also suspended during unemployment, meaning that many employees are not entitled to death cover when temporarily unemployed . This seems very unfair on employees in these difficult times.


However, pension plan rules may stipulate that some periods of employee inactivity are considered equivalent to periods of activity. This could, for example, apply to maternity leave.

Therefore, it is important to check pension plan rules to see whether inability to work due to illness is also considered as equivalent to a period of activity. If an employee is diagnosed with coronavirus, they can invoke such a clause.

Temporary unemployment due to force majeure is unlikely to be included in pension plan rules as equivalent to a period of activity.

In some cases, employers have reinsured the payment of contributions and death cover. In this case, the insurance company will be able to provide more information.

Note also that if employees want to volunteer in the health sector, they can agree with their employer to take unpaid leave, which will mean suspending the employment contract. Once again, it is very important to check pension plan rules.


The Government is currently working on a solution to provide protection for those temporarily unemployed due to force majeure. Assuralia has already taken an initiative on this matter.

Meanwhile, we suggest either adjusting pension plan rules using an annex to the pension plan rules or waiting for the legislative proposal to be published.

We will provide an update as soon as more information is available.