The saga continues: stricter corona measures regarding labour law
1. Stricter checks on mandatory telework
In order to facilitate the check of telework, companies will have to register online, as of Saturday 27 March 2021, the number of employees who cannot telework (and are therefore present at the workplace).
Via the social security portal, the following data will have to be registered using a convenient tool:
- the total number of staff members per branch;
- the number of staff members carrying out a task for which teleworking is not possible.
As soon as the link to the tool is available, we will inform you further. Below is a screen shot of what the tool should look like.
Please note! Employees who are present at the workplace still need to have a certificate that justifies their presence.
2. “Corona-parental leave” 2.0?
The right of employees who are subject to the Belgian social security system to be absent from work when their child(ren) cannot attend school or childcare due to corona measures will now also be able to be used during the extended Easter holidays.
By making use of the temporary unemployment due to force majeure corona, the government wants to avoid that children and youngsters have to be taken care of by their grandparents during the Easter holidays. Every parent who is subject to Belgian social security is entitled to invoke this temporary unemployment.
3. Rapid tests at the workplace
The Consultation Committee of 19 March 2021 has already decided that in sectors where teleworking is impossible, the use of rapid tests will be possible.
The purpose of these rapid tests is the so-called ‘cluster management’, i.e. monitoring cluster infections in the working population. In practice, the prevention advisor/occupational doctor will test the employees at fixed times and for a fixed period of time. The test kits will be delivered directly to the occupational health services and not to the employer himself.
The need for a possible preventive screening is determined by the prevention advisor/occupational doctor. This decision must always be made in consultation with the employer and with due regard for social dialogue.
Please note! You may never conduct a test without the employee’s consent. It is therefore important to properly inform your employees about the purpose of the tests. Moreover, the test results may under no circumstances be shared with the employer by the occupational health services.
4. Vaccination leave
The employees who are invited for a COVID-19 vaccination have the possibility of taking circumstantial leave or leave of absence. Now, this bill granting a right to leave of absence for employees in order to receive a vaccine against the COVID-19 coronavirus has been approved by the Parliamentary Commission. It is now only a matter of time before it is published in the Belgian Official Gazette.
The bill confirms that the employee has the right to be absent from work, with retention of his normal salary, in order to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
In order to retain the right to his/her salary, the employee must:
- notify the employer in advance and as soon as possible once the time or time slot of the vaccination is known to him/her;
- use the leave for the purpose for which it is granted;
- present, at the employer’s request, the appointment confirmation to be present at a place where the vaccination will be administered at a specific time.
Please note! The employer is not allowed to take a copy of the appointment confirmation in any form whatsoever.
Belgium – Announced Social Inspections – Construction Sector (J.C.124) / Electrotechnical Sector (J.C.149) – May 2021
During the entire month of May 2021, the companies in the construction sector (J.C. 124) and the electrotechnical sector (J.C. 149) will be subjected to announced inspections, performed by the social inspection services.
UPDATE CORONA – Essential travel to Belgium to work remains permitted
Last Wednesday, 14 April, the Consultative Committee decided to amend a number of existing measures.