Belgium: COVID-19 Unemployment Scheme Extended

July 6, 2021
2 mins read
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Editor’s note: The existing COVID-19 unemployment scheme, set to end on September 30, 2021, has been extended to December 31, 2021.

What is the COVID-19 unemployment benefit?

If a company is facing a reduction in work, the closure of a store, and other such challenges because of the COVID-19 crisis, they are eligible to receive unemployment benefits. Employers can also apply for the benefit if one of their employees has to quarantine (but is not ill), an employee’s child’s school/day-care closes, or an employee has to stay home and take care of a quarantined child.

Please note: It is possible to suspend the employment contract fully (the employee does no longer work) or partially (the employee works one or more days per week). If the employee is partially unemployed, the employer determines how many days the employee can continue to work. Although an employee does not need to approve, they must be informed.

How to receive the benefit

Employers must take the following steps:

  • Inform all employees in writing about:
    • the period of COVID-19 unemployment
    • the number of days during which the employee will be temporarily unemployed and, in the event of partial corona unemployment, the number of days the employee is expected to work.
  • Inform your payroll provider which days your employees will work and which days they are unemployed.

Unemployment Allowance

An employee who is temporarily unemployed needs to contact their labor union -if they are a member- or the Auxiliary Office for Unemployment Allowances and open a file. Employees who already received subsidies earlier this year do not have to open a new file.

The unemployment allowance amounts to 70% of the gross monthly salary. The monthly salary is limited, however to 2,754.76 EUR. On top of that, the unemployment office pays 5.63 EUR per day of unemployment. In some industry sectors, there is an additional obligation to pay a supplement on top of this unemployment allowance.

Employees who are partially unemployed continue to receive their salary for the days they work.


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