Parents of underage children with a coronavirus vaccination appointment that takes place during working hours can take paid leave to accompany them.
The measure is an extension of a law passed in April this year stating that all people with an employment contract could take paid leave to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“From now on, a worker will also have the right to be absent from work to accompany a minor resident child to a Covid-19 vaccination centre,” Labour Minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne said on Friday.
The measure also applies to parents of an adopted child, a child placed in a foster family, or a child placed under the employee’s legal guardianship.
To take the time off, an employee will have to present the invitation for and confirmation of the child’s vaccination appointment to their employer.
In Belgium, all people over the age of 12 can be vaccinated, however, children aged 12 to 15 need parental consent – a parent must either accompany the child to the vaccination centre or give written consent for the vaccination – to receive a Covid-19 shot.
As the infection rate among pupils in schools in Belgium – especially in Flanders – is skyrocketing, the aim of this measure is to mobilise more young people to get vaccinated.
“By facilitating the vaccination of minors, we want to give new impetus to the ongoing campaign. By doing so, we want to intensify our efforts to prevent the spread of the virus.”
The measure could be extended until June 2022 if needed, according to Dermagne’s cabinet.