The latest version of the Ministerial Decree (MD) of 28 October 2020, as amended by MD of 26 March 2021, maintains mandatory teleworking, except for essential sectors or when the nature of the function or the continuity of management prevents it (with a certificate from the employer). The MD also maintains the prohibition of non-essential travels, and reinforces the measures to fight COVID with:
- the obligation for employers to register (art. 2,§1) :
- at the latest on the 6 of each month and taking into account the situationon the first working day of each month ;
- electronically (via the NSSO application) ;
- for each establishment ;
- the total number of workers and the number of workers performing a function that cannot be performed by teleworking;
The NSSO provides the following details (which are not reflected in the MD):
- "worker " means any person with a contract of employment, apprenticeship, flexi-contract or statutory contract including the long-term sicks, time-credits and itinerant workers (couriers, inspectors) but also self-employed workers, temporary workers and staff seconded from other employers on a "structural" basis;
- "establishments" are those defined under the crossroads bank;
- the following should NOT be counted among the functions incompatible with telework: management, line management (workshop or team leaders) or people who are exceptionally present in the company (to collect material, print documents or for an assessment interview);
- the closure of contact professions (except for essential sectors) (art.8, §3);
- the prohibition for companies and associations offering goods or services to consumers to continue their sales/service activities other than via an order or collection system, delivery or by appointment, and this according to very strict requirements, including (art. 8bis):
- for the collection of goods: advance orders, outdoor collection and organized queues;
- for appointments: compliance with the general rules of distancing (generic code), obligation to have a time slot confirmation and only during this slot, max 50 people at the same time in the premises, only for activities related to direct sales.
This does not apply to service companies in the essential sector and food stores, including night stores, hygiene and care products stores, specialized baby stores, pet food stores, pharmacies, newsagents and bookstores, gas stations and fuel suppliers, telecommunication stores (except those selling only accessories), medical device stores, do-it-yourself stores, garden centers and nurseries, flower and plant stores, wholesale stores for professionals only, specialty retail stores selling clothing fabrics, specialty retail stores selling knitting yarns and haberdashery, stationery stores.
Please do not hesitate to consult us on these measures, in particular on the registration requirement.
NEWS : In short proceedings the tribunal of first instance of Brussels has ruled that the MD seems unlawful and its measures have to be annulled within 30 days. The ruling dd 31-3-2021 is challenged in appeal and in the meantime a draft COVID law is being discussed (heavily criticized) in the Parliament.
Following the decision of the Belgian government of April 24, 2020 to proceed to a progressive deconfinement in three phases, the ministerial decree (MD) of March 23, 2020 is modified by a MD of May 8, 2020 implementing the phase 1.b as from May 11. The changes can be summarized as follows (see also in the appendix an informal coordination highlighting the changes):By Christophe Delmarcelle