Employers not required to pay salary of staff quarantined after trip abroad
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Employers not required to pay salary of staff quarantined after trip abroad

Employers in Belgium are not bound to paying the salary of employees who must quarantine after their return from an orange or a red colour-coded travel zone.

According to a labour lawyer’s analysis, an employer can rely on the national employment office, ONEM, to cover their quarantined employee’s salary.

“The employee will be covered by the ONEM for 70% of their salary up to a maximum amount of €2,754.76,” Carl Vander Espt, a lawyer specialised in labor laws, told La Libre.

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Vander Espt said that, until 31 August, the reasons for the quarantine would be considered a cas de force majeure and therefore be covered by ONEM.

In this case, employers are released from having to uphold a quarantined staff member’s salary as long as the quarantine is either recommended or imposed by the current travel regulations.

On paper, a worker who travels to a red colour-coded destination, to which the foreign affairs ministry has banned all non-essential travel, would not have a right to ONEM’s temporary unemployment scheme.

“But, in fact, unemployment for cas de force majeur is granted without verification until the end of August, Vander Espt said. “So even travellers who return from a non-essential high-risk trip would be covered during their quarantine period.”

An employee who travels to an orange zone who becomes red while they are still staying there should also have no problem having their salary paid by ONEM.

In case of a potentially high-risk return, Vander Espt said that the best course of action to follow, he added, would be for employers to favour teleworking.

The Brussels Times

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