From 13 March 2020 and for the duration of the measures imposed by the public authorities, the National Employment Office (NEO) accepts a flexible application of the concept of "force majeure" (Act of God). All situations of temporary unemployment related to the Coronavirus are considered as temporary unemployment for force majeure (even if, for example, it is still possible to work on certain days).
This situation is exceptional and temporary. In any case, the lack of work or the impossibility of fulfilling the employment contract, justifying the recourse to temporary unemployment, must be directly linked to the health crisis we are currently facing. For concrete examples of cases in which the simplified temporary unemployment regime for force majeure is admitted by the NEO, we refer you to the following links: Info sheet E1 and FAQ of the NEO (version of 24/03/2020).
For the application of this simplified scheme, it is not required that the company be totally closed (NEO link - info sheet E1).
In practice, this means, on the one hand, that only certain workers can be made temporarily unemployed and, on the other hand, that workers can alternate days of unemployment and days of work.
Simplified formalities for the employer and the employee
From 13 March 2020, and for the duration of the restrictive measures decided by the authorities (for the time being, until 5 April 2020), the formalities to be carried out by the employer are greatly simplified.
The employer only has to introduce, as soon as possible, a "DSR scenario 5" for temporarily unemployed workers. The employer must indicate "force majeure" as the reason for temporary unemployment, and mention the code "nature of the day" 5.4 and "coronavirus" as the reason.
The employer should not wait until the end of the month to introduce this DSR Scenario 5, but should do so in the course of the month, as soon as all data up to the end of the month is known.
For more information about this declaration, we refer you to the dedicated page of the FPS Social Security website: link.
For formalities that no longer have to be completed by the employer, we refer you to the following NEO page: link.
In order to apply for benefits from the paying body, the worker can use a simplified form (Link: form C3.2 - CORONA WORKER). For the period from 1 March 2020 to 30 June 2020, the worker must no longer be in possession of a C3.2A control card, regardless of the reason for temporary unemployment.
Financial situation of the worker placed in temporary unemployment
A temporarily unemployed worker shall not receive his remuneration from his employer.
He is entitled to unemployment benefits corresponding to 70% (until 30 June 2020) of his average monthly remuneration capped at EUR 2.754,76 gross.
The gross allowance is subject to a withholding tax of 26,75%. However, no social security deductions are made.
A worker who is temporarily unemployed for reasons of force majeure ("coronavirus") receives, in addition to the unemployment benefit, a supplement of EUR 5,63 per day payable by the NEO.
The employer is not obliged to pay a supplement. However, he may grant it voluntarily.
According to the NEO, the payment of a supplement by the employer is compatible with the receipt of temporary unemployment benefit, provided that the total of the two does not exceed the net salary that the worker would have received if he had normally worked.
According to the NSSO, the supplement to temporary unemployment benefits is not subject to social security contributions. In fact, it is a complementary benefit to one of the branches of the social security.