Covid-19: consequences on employment relationships

Last June 23th YouthProAktiv participated in the online event organized by the Spanish Chamber of Commerce on COVID19 consequences on employment relationships. The event counted with the view of Valérie tSerstevens (Legal Consultant at SD Worx), who gave a wide vision on the changes introduced to labor law due to the pandemic.

The first pillar of the event addressed the issue of telework, which currently is highly recommended by the Belgian government. There are 2 types of telework, structural (which involves mandatory rules to observe) and occasional (which is more flexible), and regardless of the type it is advisable to make a specific policy about telework. Regarding the work schedule, the employee must respect the known limits of working hours in the sector/company, but it is free to adjust it to its domestic life.

The second pillar dealt with the temporary unemployment (force majeure), which basically presents a simplified procedure with increased unemployment benefits. On the one hand, the employer needs to record a force majeure code in the salary calculation and can pay a supplement in addition to the unemployment benefit, limited to the employee net salary before unemployment.  On the other hand, the employee must complete the form C3.2-TR-CORONA and hand it to its union.

The third pillar aimed to clarify what can be done regarding holidays. The general answer resides in the mutual agreement between the employer and employee, as long as they are taken before 31/12. In addition, those employees who were temporarily unemployed in 2020 will have right to full vacation in 2021.

To continue with, Valérie spoke about the corona parental leave, since it is extremely difficult to work ant to take care of young children. In this sense, the corona parental leave offers more flexible possibilities and lowers the seniority requirement from 12 to 1 month. All employees are eligible, but their children must be maximum 12 years old (if they are disabled, the eligibility raises up to 21 years old). Moreover, the allowance is 25% higher than “regular parental leave” and can be assimilated for pension. To apply, the employee must inform the employer at least 3 days in advance and in writing and must receive the employer’s agreement within a maximum period of 6 days or before the start of the parental leave.

Afterwards, instructions on dismissal rules were given since from 22/06, unemployment force majeure suspends the notice period for those contracts dismissed by the 1st of March.

To conclude with, a few notes on international employment were given. Employers must adapt the contract of their employers if they were working in several territories before Covid-19. According to EU rules, social security of the country of residence is applicable when the employee works at least 25% in his country of residence. Currently, some countries like Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and France confirm that no A1 form should be requested if an employee has to work in another country in which he is not subject to social security, but confirmation from the competent authorities in other European countries is needed. Finally, as for the impact of taxation, normal rules will apply since the employee will be taxed in his country of work or telework.