Belgium: Corona Parental Leave
The current corona crisis has made it clear that combining work and the care for young children is far from easy. In order to tackle certain of the accompanying difficulties, the Council of Ministers reached an agreement on the so called “corona parental leave” on 2 May 2020.
What is it?
The corona parental leave is applicable to employees who are bound by an employment contract with their employer, since longer than one month. These employees can request to reduce their work performance if they have at least one child who has not yet reached the age of 12 years. For children with disabilities, the principle age limit is set at 21 years. This scheme also applies to adoptive and foster parents.
During which period can corona parental leave be taken?
The corona parental leave can be taken in the period between 1 May and 30 June of this year.
Corona parental leave comes on top of the regular parental leave and therefore has no impact on the remaining amount thereof.
Employees with a full-time employment contract can request an interruption in the form of a half-time or 1/5th leave. Employees who are at least 75% occupied can only apply for a half-time parental leave.
How to request corona parental leave?
It is important to note that the corona parental leave is a favour granted by the employer to the employee and can under no circumstances be seen as a right of the employee. Therefore, the leave can only be taken with the employer’s consent. Employees who are currently taking ordinary parental leave may either convert their current leave into corona parental leave, or temporarily suspend their current ordinary parental leave and request corona parental leave, if the employer agrees to this.
An employee who wishes to take special corona parental leave must inform his employer in writing, at least three working days in advance of the planned start day. The employee hereby indicates the intended start and termination date. The employer must approve or reject the request within 6 working days and in any case before the planned start date. If the employer approves the corona parental leave, he must submit an electronic application to the National Employment Office, which will pay the allowance.
The Royal Decree laying down the rules, still has to be published. As long as it is not published, the corona parental leave cannot be applied for at the National Employment Office, but the employee can already request permission from the employer.
During the corona parental leave, one is also entitled to an allowance (per month). These allowances are based on the allowances for the regular parental leave, which are increased by 25%. The amounts for half-time parental leave apply to a full-time employee. These are reduced pro rata for a part-time employee.
Van Olmen & Wynant attorneys are available to assist you with these and other workplace issues. For more information, visit https://www.vow.be/.
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