Corona - FAQ for our household helps

11 augustus, 2020

To stop the coronavirus, there are different rules.
These rules are important for everyone's health. Therefore, always apply them carefully.

Taking care of each other

Update 28/7: Are you going to visit the office? Then think of your mouth mask! When visiting your office, wearing a mouth mask is currently mandatory!

Update 7/5: Taking good care of each other will remain extremely important in the coming weeks and months.
In order to guarantee a safe restart of our services for you and your customers, we as an employer provide a safety package including:

  • 10 mouth masks
    • Plenty of disposable masks are available. Are your copies gone? Then you can get extra in your office.
    • From the end of May we also provide 3 washable mouth masks for you. Reusable cotton mouth masks will also remain available in your office.
  • 6 pairs of disposable gloves + 2 pairs of reusable household gloves. 
    • Disposable gloves short? Then you can get extra in your office.
    • Have you already collected your safety package? Also for you, from May 11, 2 pairs of reusable household gloves are available.
    • What is the difference between disposable gloves and reusable household gloves?
      Household gloves are standard intended for frequent use as opposed to disposable gloves. A household glove can be used 30 to 50 times if it is properly washed and disinfected after use.
    • How do you wash the reusable household gloves? In the same way as your hands:

​​1. Water: open the tap and let the water flow.​
2. Soap: take enough soap and soap your hands (palms together).
3. Palms of hands: soap the back of the hand with spread fingers. Rub the palms together and the fingers between them. Hold the back of the fingers against the palm of the hand and then hook the fingers together.
4. Fingertips: Rub the fingertips into the palm of the hand rotating. Do not forget the sides of the hands.
5. Thumbs: take the left thumb into the right palm and make a rotating movement. Repeat on the other side.
6. Rinse: rinse your hands thoroughly with clean water.
7. Drying: dry your hands with a clean or disposable towel.

  • 1 disinfection spray
    • This is only for your own use and to disinfect your hands and your household gloves.
    • The customer must provide a spray for disinfecting the touch points.
  • 20 paper towels
    • These were ordered separately. Need extra? Additional copies are available in your office.
  • 1 safety guide with instructions on how to use these materials
    • We will adapt the safety guide and the instruction video as soon as possible in function of the new guidelines.
      The updated versions can be found on this page. There are also additional guidelines on best practices. We recommend that you also read these guidelines thoroughly.
    • (Re) use these materials carefully as described in the safety guide and best practices.
You can collect your safety package from them in consultation with your office.
When collecting, it is and remains extremely important to respect the safety measures.
  • Only come to the office if you are healthy.
  • Only come to the office, leave your family at home.
  • Although we miss you, unfortunately there is no time for an extensive chat, we have to keep the contact moment as short as possible.
  • On the door of your office there will also be some guidelines that you should follow on the spot.
  • Stay inside and wait behind the line on the ground.

If you are sick yourself
In the first place we hope you get well soon.
Don't bring your medical certificate to the office in person, but mail it, send it by post or have it deposited in your office mailbox.

Next steps
We posted an instructional video on the website about the use of the safety materials. This is a supplement to the safety guide.

  • After watching the video and reading the safety guide, you can also test yourself online via our corona test.
  • Not a test to see if you are infected with the virus, but a test to check if you have mastered all the guidelines.
  • Do you still have questions after taking the test? Or do you not feel safe in a certain work situation? Call our corona emergency number +32 (0)2 267 35 78.
  • This emergency number is available from Monday 27 April during office hours (from 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.) and is only for employees of Het Poetsbureau who have questions about safety and prevention.
  • We can only win the battle against the virus if we all adhere to the guidelines, so go through them thoroughly and follow them closely.

Temporary unemployment benefit
As an employer, we have today, via our social secretariat, provided the competent authorities with the information regarding temporary unemployment. This is 1 week earlier than normal. We hope that the authorities will be able to pay your benefit  quickly. In order to receive a temporary unemployment benefit, you had to submit a simplified application form to your payment institution (Hulpkas voor Werkloosheidsuitkering, ABVV, ACV or ACLVB). Once this has been done, you do not have to repeat it.

Have you not done this yet? Then you must submit this simplified application form (by e-mail or post) to your payment institution (HVW, ABVV, ACV or ACLVB).
You can also submit your form online via a digital application to the Unemployment Benefits Fund. You must fill in the form on the very first day of the month.

Since the period of temporary unemployment has been running for some time, we assume that the conditions for this are known, as well as the combination possibilities with other benefits and professional activities. If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact us via the office mailbox.

How do we stay in touch with you?

Because we are a warm family, Jo & Elly insist on keeping you personally informed. That's why they regularly record a video message for you.
Keep an eye on this page! The recorded video messages can be found here.

Frequently asked questions

What should you do if you come back from a red or orange zone?
Update 15/7: Since recently, we are allowed to go on holiday in Belgium and abroad again, with the exception of the areas designated as red zones, the list of which is published on the website of the Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs. This list is updated daily by the Federal Government. There is therefore a chance that you will suddenly find yourself in a red or orange zone during your holiday.

What do you do when you come back from an orange zone?

  • In the first instance, you have to follow the measures taken by the government:
    • Orange zone: quarantine and test upon return will be requested. Your 'civic sense' is therefore invoked.
    • Marc Van Ranst puts it into words as follows: "Whoever returns from an Orange Zone must look into his own soul. Did you take a risk there? Did you have risk contacts there? If so, you'd better get tested and go into quarantine. If you've been alone in your tent and haven't seen a cat, that may not be necessary."
    • If you have been at risk, we ask you to act in accordance with the guidelines for returning from a red zone.

What should you do if you come back from a red zone?

  • In the first instance, you should follow the measures taken by the government:
    • Red zone: Mandatory quarantine and test upon return. (Unchanged)
  • Are you from a red zone? Then notify your local service cheque office
    • You are NOT allowed to work as long as you are in quarantine and as long as you do not have a negative coronary test.
    • Immediately provide your office with a certificate of quarantine so that you can invoke EW force majeure during your absence.

The FPS Foreign Affairs advises travellers to always check the travel advice on the website

Update 04/08: From 1 August, all persons returning to Belgium from abroad or traveling to Belgium and staying here for more than 48 hours must complete an identification form (Passenger Locator Form). You can find this form on the website of Foreign Affairs. You must also complete this form when you return from a green zone.

Pay attention! The government forbids traveling to areas designated as red zones at the time of your departure. If you do go to such an area, the government states that you are not entitled to temporary unemployment due to force majeure during the mandatory quarantine upon return. That is why we insist that you inform your local service check office of your holiday destination so that we can prepare your schedule correctly upon your return, taking into account any quarantine. The NEO will carry out checks on this. It is therefore important that you strictly respect the government guidelines and the ban on travel to red areas.

Update 15/5: Can I currently clean toilets at my customers?

Cleaning toilets can still be done in the usual hygienic manner. It is only when faeces are present in the toilet bowl and flushed that virus particles can possibly be spread in the air. Therefore it is best to close the lid of the toilet before flushing so that no "cloud of potentially contaminated air" can escape but remains in the toilet bowl. It is also advisable to ventilate the room well and to always apply good hand hygiene.
Update 09/07: Can I change beds again?
Yes. Changing sheets at the customer is allowed again. Emptying bins and doing laundry from customers is still prohibited.

I would like to receive my holiday allowance 2020 earlier. Is that possible?
Due to the health crisis caused by Covid-19, people from the cleaning sector, the service voucher sector, the catering sector, the interim sector and companies for adapted work will exceptionally receive their holiday pay 2020 in the month of May. For the other sectors, the holiday pay will be deposited as usual during the months of May and June. To find out the payment date, log on to the online service

I have a car or bicycle from Het Poetsbureau. What should I do?
You can continue to use your car or bike during the months of March and April, when there is temporary unemployment. Of course, the agreements concerning the Sterrenwagen and included in the car policy continue to apply, including the net contributions provided for.

In March, the normal net contribution was deducted from your salary. In April you did not provide any services and therefore this contribution could not be deducted. Therefore :

  • The contribution of the month of April will be divided over the months of May and June.
  • You will receive an email about this from HR
  • If you experience a problem with this arrangement, you can contact us about it and, if necessary, agree another arrangement.

For the Sterrenfiets you do not pay any contribution anyway and the agreements made remain applicable.

Can I return to work from 4 May as before (before the corona crisis)?
As you know, you will be contacted by your office and a schedule will be agreed with you individually, depending on which customers require household help again. You will keep your contractual hours as much as before. Only in consultation with yourself will there be deviations in terms of hours or days. The days on which we have no clients for you, you will get temporary unemployment. Temporary unemployment cannot be granted for half-days. We count on some flexibility from both you and the client.

Will I be earning the same salary as before from May?
Since we are restarting from May onwards and not all clients may want a household help again, it's possible your roster will include fewer hours to perform in an initial phase. The non-performing hours will be reimbursed by the RVA by means of a temporary unemployment benefit. Until the end of May, we can continue to make use of force majeure unemployment, this in combination with working. For the days of unemployment, the increased benefit of 70 percent of your gross monthly salary will remain in force.

Can I be obliged to do replacements and go and clean for customers I do not know yet?
Since we understand your fear of hygiene in the case of strangers, we will not oblige you to make replacements in these uncertain circumstances. We will offer them, but you can refuse them if you are concerned about the risk of infection. Please be aware that your schedule may have to be adjusted as a result. We will also ask for some flexibility on your part at that time.

What about my holidays scheduled in the next few months?
Those holidays will remain in the planning. If you wish to cancel your holiday, you must always do so in consultation with the office. The planning made for you by the office for the coming months will take these holidays into account. If you want to take additional holidays, you can simply request them as before.

What about my meal vouchers?
You will receive meal vouchers for days worked. For days on which you have been placed in temporary unemployment due to force majeure, you will not receive them. This is because luncheon vouchers are only granted in the event of effective performance (and not, for example, in the event of leave or illness).

What about my pension rights, holiday entitlement and holiday pay? And what about my end-of-year bonus?
The periods of temporary unemployment are equal periods for your pension calculation.
In other words, you accrue pension rights during a period of temporary unemployment.
The same also applies to your holiday entitlement and holiday pay for next year. However, for the calculation of the end-of-year bonus, the rules are different. The days of unemployment due to force majeure are not included in the calculation.

Will there be special rules in the future in case I fall ill?
Just like before, when there was no corona, you have to follow certain rules when you get sick. These rules are included in the employment regulations and state, among other things, that you must inform the office of your illness by telephone at the latest before the start of your working day. In addition, you still have to provide your doctor's certificate within 48 hours. It is still possible for a control doctor to check your incapacity for work. However, these checks will be done digitally. Therefore, following our guidelines in case of illness remains important for receiving your guaranteed salary during your period of illness.

What if I restart and after a while I have to stay at home because of a possible infection or as a precaution?
In this case, we speak of quarantine. Your doctor will write you a certificate specifically stating that you are in quarantine. You will go into temporary unemployment for the prescribed period due to force majeure and will receive a benefit.

Is the validity date of the service cheques extended?
Service cheques remain valid for 3 months longer. Service cheques that expire during the crisis months will remain valid for 3 months longer. They will therefore be valid for 15 months instead of one year.

Service cheques can always be exchanged or refunded free of charge. If you exchange them, the validity is immediately extended by 12 months. As an electronic service cheque user, you can easily do the exchange or refund in the secure area. As a paper service cheque user, you can find the request form on the Sodexo page.

Any further questions?
If you have any further questions, you can contact your office via e-mail. Take good care of yourself and your loved ones.
#StaySafe #TogetherCorona

Update 28/7: Are you going to visit the office? Then think of your mouth mask! When visiting your office, wearing a mouth mask is currently mandatory!