COVID-19 –Termination notice at unemployment rate: the end of a system

The law of 3 July 1978 on employment contracts states that in the event of a dismissal by the employer, the period of notice is interrupted during most suspensions of the employment contract, notably during holidays, sick-leave or economic unemployment. However, such was not provided for in the event of a temporary suspension of the employment contract due to force majeure, even though the government has largely supported that mechanism during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some employers have seized the opportunity to have the social security system pay for their employees’ severance pay…
In order to put an end to these potential abuses, a bill formalizing the interruption of the period of notice in the event of a temporary suspension of employment contract due to force majeure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic has been approved by parliament on 11 June 2020. The period of notice shall henceforth be interrupted as long as the worker is under unemployment benefits.
This new law – which has not yet been officially published – will not have a retroactive effect. Therefore the period of notice will continue running its course provided that it had already started before 1 March 2020, whereas if the employee was given notice after 1 March 2020, the period of notice will be interrupted as of the date of publication of this law in the Belgian Official Journal.

For more information on that subject, feel free to contact Carl VANDER ESPT esq. (

Best regards,
The Cairn Legal team