Mandatory teleworking as of this Monday, with a possibility of a limited return to work

Belgium

The Government has just announced that teleworking will once again be compulsory for all companies, associations and services, whatever their size, for all staff members who perform a teleworkable function and regardless of their employment relationship. Obviously, this obligation does not apply when teleworking is impossible due to the nature of the function or the continuity of the management of the company, its activities or its services. In this case, companies must provide a certificate or any other evidence confirming the need for staff presence at the workplace. Companies must again use the electronic registration system and must register monthly (by 30 November for this month) the total number of persons employed and the number of persons who perform a non-teleworkable function.

The Government considers nonetheless that it is important for staff members who perform a teleworkable function to maintain a link with their work environment and that the continuity and competitiveness of companies’ activities are safeguarded. Therefore,  companies will be able to organise a return to work of:

  1. a maximum of one day per week per person until 12 December 2021 (with a daily maximum presence of 20% of staff members whose job is teleworkable and for whom telework is mandatory);

  2. a maximum of two days per week per person as of 13 December (with a daily maximum presence of 40% of staff members whose job is teleworkable and for whom telework is mandatory).

However, note that the following strict conditions apply to this return to work:

  1. the company and the staff member must agree to return to work (i.e. the staff member is entitled to refuse to return);

  2. the aim of the return is to promote the psychosocial well-being and team spirit of these staff members;

  3. the staff member must be informed that he/she may not return to the workplace under any circumstances if he/she feels ill, has symptoms of illness or is in quarantine;

  4. the company can not attach any consequences to this for its workers;

  5. travel by public transport at peak times and carpooling to and from the workplace should be avoided as much as possible; and

  6. the decision to organise a return to work must be taken in accordance with social consultation within the company, with all the conditions verified.

It is therefore recommended that the company ensure that all of these conditions are met in order to implement this return to work.

For more information, please contact Gaël Chuffart and Sophie Berg.