The corona parental leave scheme ceased to apply on 1 October 2020. Now that the second wave of the corona virus threatens to cause many schools and institutions to (partially) close down, many parents are worried about how they can find the means to keep an eye on their children. However, the new De Croo government had already provided a solution and proposed its first social measure in the coalition agreement. A legal proposal, proposed by the majority parties, which provides for a right to access the scheme for corona temporary unemployment for workers when the school, day care or centre for people with disabilities must close because of corona, was approved by the Chamber of Deputies on 8 October 2020. This act will enter into force retroactively on 1 October 2020. In the meantime, the National Employment Office (NEO) has already drawn up guidelines for this.
The employee has the right to be absent from work, without retention of salary, when:
- an underage child living with him/her cannot attend his/her nursery or school because the nursery, class or school closes due to the coronavirus;
- he/she has a dependent disabled child, irrespective of that child's age, and that child cannot go to a centre for the care of persons with disabilities, because that centre is closed due to the coronavirus.
The worker must immediately inform his employer by submitting a certificate received from the school, nursery or institution. The template can be found on the website of NEO. This certificate must state the period of closure (which may not be that simple).
The employee may not be entitled to a salary, but he/she will receive temporary unemployment benefits for reasons of force majeure (corona) and the supplement of 5.63 euro per unemployment day. It is the employer who must submit the application for this benefit to the NEO. The specific obligations of the employee and the employer are detailed on the website of the NEO. The procedure differs depending on whether or not the employer is recognised as an exceptionally hard-hit company (or belongs to an exceptionally hard-hit sector).
Published by Van Olmen & Wynant