From 1 September 2020, new rules on temporary unemployment will enter into force.
Companies and sectors that are substantially impacted by the Covid-19 crisis can continue to apply the current and simplified ‘Covid-19 force majeure’ temporary unemployment regime until 31 December 2020. The list of in-scope sectors is yet to be determined by the Minister of Work. Companies that are substantially impacted by the Covid-19 crisis are companies with a number of unemployment days based on economic reasons or based on “Covid-19 force majeure” in the second quarter of 2020 of at least 20% of the total number of working days declared to the NSSO.
However, to benefit from such continued use, these employers must send a new C106A-Corona-HGO/EPT form by e-mail to the National Employment Office (RVA/Onem) and await a positive decision from the latter. As it can take up to 2 weeks for the RVA/Onem to notify the employer of its positive decision, it is highly recommended to send this form asap (by 17 August 2020 at the latest) in order to continue to use the system as from 1 September 2020.
For sectors and companies that are not substantially impacted by the Covid-19 crisis, the current ‘Covid-19 force majeure’ regime can no longer be applied as of 1 September 2020. However, for these companies, the government has introduced a transitional unemployment regime based on economic reasons for the period of 1 September until 31 December 2020.
To benefit from this transitional regime for white-collar workers, the employer must be faced with a substantial decrease of at least 10% of its turnover or production. Moreover, the employer must offer 2 training days per month to its impacted white-collar workers.
Employers that would like to appeal to this transitional regime with extended maximum period during which the employer can rely on temporary unemployment should also start preparing now. Amongst other things, a new form C106A-Corona-transitional regime (Overgangsstelsel/Régime transitoire) must be sent to the RVA/Onem by registered letter and by e-mail 14 days in advance. Moreover, in the absence of any collective bargaining agreement, a company plan must be drafted.