To help the workers who have to look after their children while schools are closed following the containment measures, the government has provided for the possibility to take a “Corona parental leave” (Royal Decree of 13 May 2020).
The main features of this parental leave are as follows:
- Workers can take a 1/5 time or 1/2 time Corona parental leave. No total interruption of working time for this reason is foreseen.
- The parental leave can be taken by a full-time worker but also as a reduction of working time to a 1/2 time by a part-time worker employed in a regime of at least ¾ of a full-time occupation when the parental leave takes place.
- This leave is available to parents who have been employed for at least one month and who have at least one dependent child who has not reached the age of 12 (or 21 if the child is disabled).
- Corona parental leave must be taken during the period from 1 May to 30 June 2020
- This leave may be taken for an uninterrupted period until the end date of the measure, or in consecutive or non-consecutive months or weeks.
- Corona parental leave will not be deducted from the regular parental leave credit. It is an additional parental leave.
- This Corona parental leave can only be taken with the employer’s agreement. However, the request procedure is shorter than that for ordinary parental leave. The employee must notify his/her employer3 working days in advance in writing (registered letter, e-mail with acknowledgement of receipt, or a letter with a duplicate signed by the employer). The employer must respond in the same way within maximum 3 working days. Shorter deadlines may be agreed upon by the parties.
- Employees who reduce their working time under this scheme will receive a higher allowance from the National Office for Employment (ONEM/RVA) than that granted for ordinary parental leave, up to an additional 25%. The allowance must be requested in writing no later than 2 months after the start of the Corona parental leave.
- Workers who currently benefit from ordinary parental leave (or a career break) can also convert their current leave into Corona parental leave (e.g. ½ ordinary time into ½ corona time) or temporarily suspend their ordinary parental leave and apply for Corona parental leave (e.g. full-time ordinary into ½ corona time).