Parents can appeal for temporary unemployment during extended autumn holiday
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Parents can appeal for temporary unemployment during extended autumn holiday

Credit: Belga

Parents who cannot find care for their children in view of the extended autumn holidays can appeal for temporary unemployment due to ‘force majeure’ (an event out of one’s control), Belgium’s National Employment Office (ONEM) confirmed on Tuesday.

After the French-speaking community decided on 15 October to extend the upcoming All Saints holiday until 11 November in the wake of increasing coronavirus infections among staff, Flanders announced on Sunday that it would do the same.

This extension can pose problems for parents as they have to combine family life and professional obligations.

“The extension of the All Saints holiday is seen as a measure to combat coronavirus,” the Onem pointed out, indicating that a new law, which is yet to be published, provides for the possibility to request temporary unemployment.

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Such a request was already possible since 1 October for parents whose children’s school had to close after an infection and a quarantine was required. The measure, known as quarantine leave, will apply until 31 December, though it can be extended, l’Echo reports.

Only contractual employees, as opposed to statutory civil servants, are eligible for temporary unemployment due to force majeure.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times