Covid and telework in Brussels

Posted the 27 September 2021
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Thanks to a record vaccination rate of 70%, Belgium has eased its health restrictions as of 1st September 2021. Allowing the return to the office and face-to-face meetings. Indeed the telework – that was no longer mandatory since 27 June...

Thanks to a record vaccination rate of 70%, Belgium has eased its health restrictions as of 1st September 2021. Allowing the return to the office and face-to-face meetings.

Indeed the telework – that was no longer mandatory since 27 June 2021 – is not even recommended anymore since 1 September 2021 by the Ministerial Decree of 28th October 2020 related to the emergency measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. The latter now only recommends the establishment of "appropriate preventive measures" within companies, associations and services.

However, as far as the Brussels-Capital area is concerned, the consultation committee of 20th August 2021 has nevertheless suspended these new measures whose entry into force will depend on the regional vaccination coverage, which is currently insufficient.

In the meantime, teleworking therefore remains in Brussels "highly recommended" in all companies, associations and services, regardless of their size, for all staff members whose function lends itself to it. It is organised in accordance with the collective labour agreements or existing agreements. In addition, physical returns and face-to-face meetings are possible but remain subject to the compliance with the appropriate preventive measures for the work environment and necessary social distancing[1].

These appropriate preventive measures are established by companies, associations or services in accordance with the "Generic guide for combating the spread of COVID-19 at work", which is available on the website of the Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue. These measures are implemented in consultation with the Prevention and Protection at Work Services and with the assistance of the social inspectors of the Directorate General for the Supervision of Welfare at Work of the Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue. They may be supplemented by measures adopted at sectoral or company level.

The situation remains unchanged with the latest consultation committee of 17 September 2021 as - although not yet implemented in the Ministerial Decree (see our next version of the formal coordination to be published) – its latest decisions to further ease health restrictions by allowing not to wear masks in companies, shops and restaurants, reopening discotheques, easing mass events will likewise not apply to Brussels.

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[1] Circular n° 685bis. - Guidelines in the context of the special measures COVID-19 for the staff members of the Federal Public Service in the field of work organization - Amendment of the circular n°685 of 1st September 2020.

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