- 23 Jul 2015
As part of the plan to keep older employees at work, the Government initially substantially modified the scheme commonly called “unemployment with company allowance”, by requiring unemployed scheme participants to be actively available for the labour market (see our Newsletter of 19 January 2015 ).
After being hotly contested and following the agreement of The Group of Ten, the Government decided to make changes to the recent legislation in this respect. The Royal Decrees introducing these changes are now published and provide, with effect from 1 January 2015, the following:
- unemployed individuals who enjoy the benefit of the unemployment with company allowance scheme (hereafter ‘UCA scheme’) are not required to be physically able to work;
- an unemployed individual benefiting from the UCA scheme who reached the age of 60, must not be in possession of a controlling document (in French: “carte de contrôle”/ in Dutch: “controlekaart”);
- an unemployed individual who benefits from the UCA scheme and who is aged under 65 should be suitably available to the labour market. In practice this means that the individual concerned must register and remain registered as a job seeker. In addition, he/she must take part in a “personal guidance plan”. He/she should not, however, actively seek work.
In certain cases, the unemployed individual who benefits from the UCA scheme may be exempt from the obligation to be “suitably available”. In addition, unemployed individuals with company allowance who were dismissed before 1 January 2015 or who have applied for UCA regime for the first time before 1 January 2015. The same goes for the unemployed individual who benefits from the UCA scheme and dismissed by a company recognized as being in difficulty or undergoing restructuring, upon condition that the starting date of the period of recognition fell before 9 October 2014, and depending on the age and career of the individual concerned. Moreover, the unemployed individual who benefits from the UCA scheme may carry out, for his/her own account and without the aim to make profit, any activity concerning his/her own property;
- the unemployed individual who benefits from the UCA scheme can remain exempt from the obligation to reside in Belgium starting from the month during which he/she turns 60 ifhe/she had requested UCA unemployment benefits before 1 January 2015, or was dismissed prior to such date in order to be able to benefit of the UCA scheme, or if he/she was dismissed in order to benefit from the UCA scheme by a company recognised as being in difficulty or undergoing restructuring for which the starting date of the period of recognition fell before 9 October 2014. The individual concerned is, however, obliged to maintain his/her principal residence in Belgium;
- unemployed individuals who benefit from the UCA scheme and who were dismissed in the framework of a collective dismissal before 1 January 2015 or as part of a collective dismissal that was announced before 9 October 2014 remain exempted from the obligation to participate in an employment cell that must be created by their employer. This exemption only applies provided that the individual concerned is either 58 years old, or has a career of 38-years as an employee at the end of the notice period or the period covered by the severance pay.
> Action point
Make workers whose employment contract has already been terminated in order to access the UCA scheme aware of these new transitional measures.