Temporary unemployment if school closes due to corona

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Parents of children who have to be quarantined because (part of) their school or manger closes due to corona, will from now on be able to appeal to temporary unemployment due to force majeure. On Monday, the Parliamentary Social Affairs Committee gave the green light article by article, on the proposal of the so-called Vivaldi parties (PS, sp.a, Open Vld, MR, Ecolo, Groen and CD&V). At the request of N-VA, there will be a second reading before the text can be moved to the plenary Chamber.

If a child is to be quarantined today after contact with an infected person, the parents can go to the employer with a certificate from the doctor, which could put them on temporary unemployment. What was not yet settled is the situation in which a child must be quarantined preventively because the entire school or manger – or part of it – is closed by corona. It is a situation that gives parents headaches, as they have to provide care from one day to the next.

The seven Vivaldi parties therefore submitted a proposal whereby parents could appeal to the system of temporary unemployment due to force majeure by Covid-19, and that with a certificate from the school or manger. According to the initiators, this system works faster, because it can be accepted immediately, and more flexible, because it can immediately apply to the period of the certificate. Moreover, the allowance is more favorable than in parental leave, because the employee can count on 70 percent of the salary, the daily allowance and any allowance from the employer.

The system is intended to take effect from 1 October, although the plenary vote cannot take place until later. The next government will also have the option to extend the measure beyond December 31.

Staying home alone

N-VA did not approve the measure. Björn Anseeuw wondered about the cost price, but also found it insufficiently fine-grained. Anseeuw points out that the measure is registered as “a right”, which means that it is also available for situations that are not a problem in themselves. He cited the example of a very healthy 16-year-old who could stay home alone without any problems, but whose parents would now also stay at home.

Nahima Lanjri (CD&V) disagreed. “I am convinced that not every parent will. After all, there is still a loss of wages. Common sense and trust also play a role ”, says Lanjri. Evita Willaert (Groen) also emphasized that the procedure offers a solution to a real problem for many parents.

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