Employees advised by the online self-assessment tool to be tested for Covid-19 will now automatically receive a certificate of absence for their employer, public health minister Frank Vandenbroucke and labour minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne said on Sunday.
The measure aims to lighten the workload of general practitioners in this challenging period, and prevent infected employees from going to work, Belga News Agency reports.
Since 3 November, anyone with mild symptoms can carry out a self-assessment and, if necessary, immediately generate a code for a free screening test in a pharmacy or testing centre.
From now, employees will also no longer have to call on their GP to justify their absence from work while the test is being carried out. Thanks to the National Labour Council initiative, which approved a draft collective labour agreement to this effect on Friday, they will automatically receive a certificate of absence for their employer when they obtain a test code.
The certificate will indicate the day and time when the activation code was issued and is valid as a certificate of absence for the time necessary (maximum 36 hours) to be tested at a pharmacist or testing centre. The employee is obliged to inform the employer immediately, give them the certificate, and get tested as soon as possible, the two ministers emphasise.
Employees who can telework can be absent from work for the time needed to take the test. Afterwards, they will have to resume working remotely until the test result is known. They will then inform their employer whether they will return to work or continue their absence due to illness. To ensure privacy, however, employees are not required to disclose the result of the self-assessment or test to their employer.
If the test result is positive, the employee should isolate himself at home and contact the doctor who will follow up.
The CTC came into force on Friday and will expire on 28 February next. During this period, an employee will be able to use the possibility of being absent from work for a Covid test up to three times using the self-assessment tool.