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COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

Eurofound's COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the crisis, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for case BE-2020-10/1210 – measures in Belgium

Time credit for employees of companies in difficulty and/or restructuring due to COVID-19

Corona Tijdskrediet

Country Belgium , applies nationwide
Time period Temporary, 01 March 2020 – 31 December 2020
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Employment protection and retention
– Working time and working time flexibility
Author Dries Van Herreweghe (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) and Eurofound
Case created 01 October 2020 (updated 06 October 2020)

Background information

Time credit is a specific system that already existed before the Corona crisis. It was originally meant as a way for employees to take a form of leave to either follow a specific education/training or provide care for someone (under certain circumstances other reasons are allowed as well). The employee in question receives a benefit from the federal unemployment services instead of a wage during this period of absence.

In the context of the COVID-19 crisis another variant was implemented. The principle is similar to the existing time credit system, however the conditions to apply are entirely different.

Content of measure

The first important condition is the fact that the company of the employee has to be formally recognised as being in difficulty and/or restructuring. In contrast to the classic form of time credit it has nothing to do with the employee following training/education or providing care. Whereas the classic time credit is mostly formulated from the viewpoint of the employee, it is that they apply and require leave for a training or care. In case of the Corona time credit it is mostly a way for employers to reduce their labour costs, while employees have the benefit of maintaining a certain level of income as well as their job. The Corona time credit can take the form of a reduction in work performance by up to half or a reduction in work performance by one fifth.

The duration of the corona time credit is a minimum of one month and a maximum of six months. The corona time credit can be renewed without the need for the new period to be immediately equal to the previous period. However, each individual period must be at least one month and the total duration cannot exceed six months.

The corona time credit can start from 1 July 2020 at the earliest.

The full duration of the corona time credit must be during the period of recognition of the business as a firm in difficulty or undergoing restructuring

Use of measure

There are no data available yet on uptake on the specific form of time credit.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Other businesses
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
National government
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Unknown Unknown
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: N/A

Involvement

Their involvement in the design was unclear.

Views and reactions

There are currently no public statements available of either of the social partners on the specific form of time-credit.

Sources

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Time credit for employees of companies in difficulty and/or restructuring due to COVID-19, case BE-2020-10/1210 (measures in Belgium), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.