End of the waiting game - list of industries in difficulties for temporary unemployment is finally here

31 Aug 2020

In our newsletter of 9 July 2020, you could already read that the simplified system for temporary unemployment due to force majeure resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic will be applicable for all industries until 31 August 2020.

When we wrote that newsletter, it was also announced that some industries (notably industries in difficulties) would even be able to rely on this simplified system until 31 December 2020. Although, at that time, more information didn’t exist yet , Minister of Work Muylle has now communicated which industries made it to the short list in a press release of 26 August 2020 (NL/FR) and will therefore be able to continue to apply the simplified system for temporary unemployment due to force majeure resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

As already mentioned before, as from 1 September 2020, a modified system of temporary unemployment for economic reasons will exist next to this simplified system.

For the sake of completeness, we’ll navigate you through the temporary unemployment landscape as from 1 September 2020 below.

Recap: the different types of temporary unemployment as from 1 September 2020

If your company was impacted by the coronavirus counter-measures or by the economic crisis following the coronavirus, 2 types of temporary unemployment can be used, each containing 2 different subsystems: 

  • temporary unemployment due to force majeure:

    • simplified system of temporary unemployment due to force majeure resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic;

    • regular system of temporary unemployment due to force majeure (as we know it from before the COVID-19 outbreak).

  • temporary unemployment for economic reasons:

    • adjusted system of temporary unemployment for economic reasons;

    • regular system of temporary unemployment for economic reasons (as we know it from before the COVID-19 outbreak).

These can applied for the period from 1 September 2020 to 31 December 2020.

The new temporary unemployment landscape

Temporary unemployment due to force majeure Temporary unemployment for economic reasons
Simplified system - COVID-19

Regular system

Adjusted system - COVID-19 Regular system
Industries that are hit extremely hard by the COVID-19 crisis, as determined by the Minister of Work  (NL/FR).

All industries and companies.

 

(e.g. an employee who is required to go into quarantine and cannot work from home and for whom the company cannot rely on the simplified system)

 

Blue collar workers:

All industries and companies (also see below)

Blue collar workers:

This will become redundant for the period from 1 September 2020 to 31 December 2020.

 

Companies with at least 20% temporary unemployment (both for economic reasons as well as due to force majeure because of COVID-19) during the 2nd quarter of 2020.

White collar workers:

Companies with a decrease in turnover/production of at least 10% in the quarter preceding the request for temporary unemployment, compared to the same quarter of 2019 (e.g. Q3 of 2020 compared to Q3 of 2019)

New obligation: provide at least 2 training days per month.

 

White collar workers:

Companies with a decrease in turnover/production/orders of at least 10% or with a 10% temporary unemployment for blue collar workers in the quarter preceding the request for temporary unemployment or companies that are recognised as a company in difficulties.

No training days required.

The updated roadmap of the temporary unemployment procedures

Temporary unemployment due to force majeure

Companies who still qualify for the simplified system of temporary unemployment due to force majeure resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic (see above), will have to complete an extra document as from 1 September 2020. 

These companies must send document “C106A-corona-HGO/EPT” (NL/FR) to their local RVA/ONEM office via email. With this document, the company declares that it has been hit extremely hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Temporary unemployment for economic reasons

The procedure to apply for temporary unemployment for economic reasons for blue collar workers doesn’t change in the period of 1 September 2020 - 31 December 2020. However, the maximum duration of a full or partial temporary unemployment for blue collar worker changes: 

  • full temporary unemployment: maximum 8 weeks (instead of 4 weeks);

  • partial temporary unemployment: maximum 18 weeks (when less than 3 working days per week or less than 1 working week per 2 weeks - instead of maximum 3 months).

For white collar workers, there are changes to the temporary unemployment procedure:

  • If the company uses a company plan (and not an industry-level or company-level collective bargaining agreement), a copy of this plan must be sent to the FPS Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue. This instead of requiring their approval;

A new document - “C106A-corona-overgangsstelsel/régime transitoire” (NL/FR) - must be sent to the company’s local RVA/ONEM office at least 2 weeks before the start of the temporary unemployment.

Now that the list of industries that have been hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic is known, companies can finally determine which type of temporary unemployment is most appropriate for them.

Time is of the essence for companies and industries that are not ‘hit the hardest’ and still want to apply for temporary unemployment for economic reasons in September and that have not taken any steps. Indeed, the temporary unemployment (for white collar workers) can only start 2 weeks after the form C106A-corona-overgangsstelsel/régime transitoire has been sent.

If you have any questions about the above or about temporary unemployment in general, do not hesitate to contact us.

Contact us

Bart Elias

Bart Elias

Partner, PwC Legal BV/SRL

Tel: +32 473 91 06 02

Pascale Moreau

Pascale Moreau

Partner, PwC Legal BV/SRL

Tel: +32 479 90 02 76

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