People suffering severe flood damage entitled to temporary unemployment
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People suffering severe flood damage entitled to temporary unemployment

Pepinster. Credit: Francoise Peiffe/Belga

Workers who have suffered serious damage to their homes due to the floods are entitled to temporary unemployment because of force majeure, announced Federal Employment Minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne.

The affected workers will keep 70% of their salary and receive a supplement of about €5 a day, the federal government decided on Monday.

“It concerns those who have suffered serious damage and are unable to go to work because they have to give priority to finding a new home, cleaning or repairing it, settling their claims or finding alternative means of transport,” said Dermagne.

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Additionally, unemployed heads of households and people living alone who had to find temporary shelter elsewhere due to the storms also keep their status and unemployment benefits.

“They will not have to report this to the National Employment Office (NEO),” said Dermagne. “As a victim, you retain your rights, and even those who shelter people at home are not affected.”

Jobseekers and temporarily unemployed people who voluntarily offer help in the affected regions do not have to report this to the NEO either, according to him.

End of the federal phase

In the meantime, the federal phase of the storm crisis management has ended, announced the cabinet of Interior Affairs Minister Annelies Verlinden in a press release on Monday.

On 15 July, Verlinden announced the federal phase of crisis management, following the storms that hit parts of Belgium on 14 and 15 July, meaning that the strategic coordination was carried out by the National Crisis Centre.

By now, the situation has largely evolved into the recovery and reconstruction phase, which is why the federal phase is ending, according to Verlinden.

“I would like to thank the firefighters, police officers and others who have voluntarily come from all over the country to the affected areas to help,” she said.

However, while regional authorities, governors and local authorities are taking over the task of further clean-up and reconstruction, the federal government remains available for assistance as long as necessary, and where possible.

“I encourage everyone to continue to show this solidarity in the coming months,” Verlinden added. “Because the road to complete reconstruction is still long, the victims will need help for a long time to come.”