Suspension of notice period in the event of temporary unemployment due to coronavirus
Until today the notice period continues to run during periods of temporary unemployment due to force majeure.
Recently, the Parliament has adopted a new legislative proposal to suspend the notice period in case of dismissal given by the employer before or during the periods of temporary unemployment caused by the coronavirus.
The notice period will be suspended during the period of temporary unemployment as from the date of publication of the law. In addition, the legislative proposal provides that the notice period would even continue to run if it had already started before 1 March 2020.
The measures taken can be explained by the following 4 situations:
- Situation 1: The employer dismisses one of its employees after the date of publication of the law. In this case, the notice period will be suspended during temporary unemployment.
- Situation 2: If the employer dismissed one of its employees before March 1st, 2020 the notice period will not get suspended due to temporary unemployment.
- Situation 3: The employer dismissed one of its employees as from March 1st, 2020. In this case, the notice period will be suspended from the date of the publication of the law due to temporary unemployment.
- Situation 4: The employment contract including the notice period fully ends before the date of publication of the law. In this case, nothing changes: the notice period continues to run.
It may also be noted that any dismissal with immediate effect which takes place before the publication of the law will lead to the payment of an indemnity in lieu of notice. The indemnity must correspond to the balance of the remaining notice period since notice periods prior to the publication of the law will not be suspended.
In addition, in accordance with the Royal Decree of 4 June 2020, periods of temporary unemployment due to force majeure linked to the coronavirus are assimilated to actual work in the annual holiday regime for the period from 1 February 2020 to 30 June 2020 included. Consequently, these periods of suspension will have to be taken into account for the calculation of holiday pay.
Kris De SchutterPartner Attorney at law
Kris De Schutter is partner in and chairman of the Employment & Benefits practice group in Belgium. He has over 18 years all-round experience in collective and individual employment law, with a particular focus on transformation, especially from a holistic view linked to alternative (flexible) remuneration, restructurings and change processes.T: +32 2 700 10 13 E: [email protected]