New rules on teleworking due to COVID-19: it's mandatory again!

5 November 2020

Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis in March 2020, the Belgian authorities have taken several urgent measures with regard to teleworking, in order to limit the spread of the virus. However, the scope and content of the rules have changed significantly over the past months. A new reinforcement took effect as of 2 November 2020 and teleworking became mandatory for all companies.

In March 2020, a large proportion of Belgian companies were unexpectedly confronted with the mandatory use of teleworking on a large scale. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, in so-called "non-essential businesses", it was mandatory to apply teleworking to the extent that the function made this possible, whereas for "essential businesses" it was recommended to apply teleworking as much as possible. As the rate of contamination reduced in May, the policy changed: teleworking became "highly recommended" for all companies. During the second wave in October, new restrictive measures were taken, and teleworking became "the rule" for all enterprises to the extent that the function of the employee and the continuity of the company made it possible. Now, as of 2 November 2020, teleworking is mandatory for all companies except when the function of the employee or the continuity of the company makes this impossible.

Although teleworking has been mandatory both in March-April and now, there are some important differences to emphasise between these two frameworks.

Teleworking during Covid-19 18 March – 3 May 2020 As of 2 November 2020
Mandatory? Yes, except for essential companies Yes
Derogations from mandatory teleworking? Yes, because of the function of the employee Yes, because of the function of the employee and the continuity of the business operations, activities or services
Is documentary evidence required? No Yes, a certificate or any other evidence confirming the need for presence at the workplace

Action points for the following days:

  • Provide a certificate for employees for whom teleworking is not possible.

  • In case of inspections, be able to prove that teleworking is not possible in your company for every non-teleworking employee.
  • Review the agreements made concerning corona teleworking in the light of the experiences of the past months. Document these agreements.

Do you want to know more about "corona teleworking" and how it compares with structural teleworking? Check our recent Legal Eubdate article