FAQ for household helpers: temporary unemployment due to force majeure

31 maart, 2020

Dear Poetsbureauke

The National Security Council has extended the lockdown by 2 weeks. Therefore, we will not restart until April 19th.

Since you are already in the system of unemployment due to force majeure, the government will pay you a replacement income according to the performance of your contract. This will continue during this extension. 

It suffices to submit a simplified application form for the entire period.

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

​We hope that you will remain safe and healthy in the coming weeks.
We will continue to do our best to keep you as well informed as possible through this FAQ.

Stay safe!


How do we keep in touch with you?

Since we are a warm family, Jo & Elly insist on keeping you personally informed. That is why they regularly record a video message for you.
Keep an eye on this page! You can find the recorded video messages here. (The video messages are recorded in dutch)

What does this suspension actually mean to you?

  • Temporarily no services via service checks
    Your contract is temporarily and completely suspended. Of course you remain an employee of our warm family. From 19/03/2020, you may no longer perform services via service checks. This includes brushing, grocery shopping, ironing and cooking.  Due to the extension of the lockdown, this suspension will remain in force until the 19th of April.
  • What replacement income do I receive?
    The measure does not mean that you no longer receive wages. From 19.03.2020 you will enter the unemployment system due to force majeure . 
    The government pays you a replacement income according to the performance of your contract. 
    • Due to the coronavirus, this has increased from 65 to 70 percent of your average gross monthly wages. A fixed percentage of 26.75 percentage withholding tax is applicable to this payment. 
    • The employee who is temporarily unemployed due to force majeure (reason "coronavirus") receives a supplement of 5.63 euros per day on top of the unemployment benefit, to be paid by the RVA. 
    • Payment is made in the month after the anticipated services. 

If you become temporarily unemployed due to force majeure, you do not have to be a beneficiary to receive benefits. In this case, you do not have to meet the conditions that normally apply to receive benefits. 
This applies, for the period from 01/02/2020 to 30/06/2020, also for the employee who is temporarily unemployed for economic reasons. 

In order to receive benefits effectively, you must also meet reimbursement conditions. This means that, for the days on which you claim benefits, you must, for example, be fit for work, be without wages, receive no replacement income, do not carry out any other activity ... For the period from 01/02/2020 to 30/06 / 2020, however, a number of different regulations apply to the temporary unemployed:  

  • You can carry out a voluntary activity for a private individual or for an organization without a declaration;
  • It is permitted to carry out activities as a voluntary firefighter and as a volunteer for civil protection without formalities; the fees received for this may be cumulated;
  • You can continue to carry on an ancillary activity that you already performed before you were temporarily unemployed during your unemployment; this activity should not be declared and the income from it should not affect unemployment benefits;
  • If you receive a pension, you do not have to declare it and this has no influence on the unemployment benefit.

In specific terms: 

  • Can I continue my secondary profession during a period of temporary unemployment?
    In principle, this is possible under normal circumstances, provided a number of conditions are met:
    ​the secondary profession:
    • is already exercised for more than 3 months;
    • has been declared to the RVA;
    • is not exercised between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.

      ​Until 30 June 2020, a relaxation of these conditions will apply to secondary occupations that have already been exercised:
      the secondary profession:
    • does not have to be declared to the RVA;
    • may be performed between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Can I take up a flexi-job during my period of temporary unemployment? 
    The temporary unemployed person may carry out a flexi-job during a period of temporary unemployment. However, he must declare this to his payment institution as soon as possible.
    The income from this employment cannot be cumulated with the unemployment benefit.
  • Am I allowed to work as a volunteer while retaining benefits?
    The temporary unemployed person may normally volunteer with retention of benefits if he declares this to the RVA and does not exceed a certain income limit.
    However, until 30 June 2020, no declaration needs to be made to the RVA.
  • Can I volunteer as a fire fighter or as a civil protection volunteer with retention of benefits?
    In the context of the corona crisis and this until 30 June 2020, the temporary unemployed person may perform these activities with retention of benefits.
    All allowances from these activities may be cumulated with unemployment benefits. No formalities have to be complied with.

Note: Next eligibility conditions continue to apply: 

  • If you are incapacitated for work (for example due to the coronavirus), you cannot claim unemployment benefits. You must then contact the health insurance fund.
  • You may exercise or start an employment with an employer other than the one by whom you are temporarily unemployed, for example as a temporary worker or flexible worker. The income from this employment cannot be cumulated with the unemployment benefit. You must communicate this employment to your payment institution so that benefits are not wrongly paid. If necessary, a refund will be made of the excess benefits paid.

If you are unsure whether you meet the reimbursement conditions, please contact your union or payment institution.
The paying agencies have also confirmed that no specific documents must be submitted for foreign employees in order to receive a benefit (eg residence permit).
These measures apply (provisionally) until June 2020.

  • How should you apply for unemployment benefits due to force majeure?
    The payment institutions (Unemployment Benefits Fund (HVW), ABVV, ACV and ACLVB) h
    ave worked out a simplified procedure with the RVA with a simplified application form for the benefits related to temporary unemployment. 
    We have informed you that you are temporarily unemployed (due to force majeure or for economic reasons). The obligation to use a control card (form C3.2A) was dropped during the corona crisis, so you don't need a control card (form C3.2A) for the months March, April and May and you don't have to pick it up from your union, but you do have to submit a simplified application form.

Does everyone have to complete and submit a simplified application form? 
No, this depends on your situation. Continue reading below whether you should submit one or not.    

  • Have you been temporarily unemployed at Het Poetsbureau in the past 3 years Then you shouldn't do anything. 
    The Poetsbureau provides all payment agencies with the necessary forms electronically.   
  • If you can place yourself in one of the categories below , you will have to fill in a simplified application form, sign it and deliver it to your payment institution.   
  1. * Have you not been economically unemployed at Het Poetsbureau in the past 3 years?
  2. * Have there been recent changes in your personal data (address or bank account number);
  3. * Is this the first time ever that you are economically unemployed or the first time that you are economically unemployed at Het Poetsbureau;
  4. * Have you recently had a change in contract hours (for example due to time credit or a contract increase and / or decrease);
  5. * Are you economically unemployed for the first time after your 65th birthday;
  6. * Or are you unsure about one of the above options;

-> Do not forget to fill in your email address and mobile number on the application form so that your payment institution can contact you quickly for additional information.
-> The payment authorities calculate the payment on the basis of the data that the employer automatically sends to the payment authorities via the electronic crossroads bank after the salary processing. 
-> Depending on your payout institution, there are specific guidelines for submitting the application form, so be sure to check the website of your payout institution first! 

  • Which payment institution is responsible for processing my claim for benefits?
    • Are you affiliated with a union (ABVV, ACV of ACLVB)? Then send your completed and signed form to your union.
    • Are you not affiliated with a union? Then submit your completed and signed form to the Unemployment Benefits Fund (HVW).
  • Where can you find a simplified application form? 
    You can find an application form on the website of your payment institution. But you can also download it here. 
    * Dutch: click here for the document in Pdf - click here for the document in Word 
    * French: Cliquez ici pour le document and Pdf - Cliquez ici pour le document and Word 
  • How can you send the simplified application form to your payment institution? 
    • By e-mail (the e-mail address can be found on the website of your payment institution). 
    • By post (the address can be found on the website of your payment institution). 
    • Deposit it in the mailbox of your local office of the payout agency. So not in the letterbox of your Cleaning Office!
    • At the Unemployment Benefits Fund (HVW) you can also submit your form online via the digital application.
  • The form asks for the very first day of EW (economic unemployment)? How do you count this?
    The form asks for the very first day of EW. You do not have to distinguish between the economic unemployment that you may already have had before the termination and temporary unemployment due to force majeure from 19/03/2020, but you really have to fill in the very first day of the EW of the month (regardless of whether this was economic unemployment or temporary unemployment due to force majeure).  
  • What if you don't have a printer and can't sign the form?
    Then you can fill it in electronically and send it to your payment institution by email. You must then clearly state in the email that you ask your payment institution to sign the form in your place.
  • What should I do with my control form C3.2A? (this is the color form with the orange number right at the top on which you normally have to color your working days) 
    As you can read above, you should not fill in your check form C3.2A during this corona crisis and bring it in to your payout agency. A simplified procedure has been developed. 
  • Can you already complete the simplified C3.2 employee corona document for the entire month and bring it in to your payout agency?
    Yes, you may already complete the C3.2 employee corona document for the entire month and deliver it to your payout agency.
  • What if I entered the wrong date on the C3.2 employee corona form?
    • If you have entered a date that was earlier than the first day of your temporary unemployment (eg March 15 instead of March 17), you do not have to do anything.
    • If you have entered a date that is later (eg March 19 instead of March 17), send an e-mail with the correct date to the payment institution.
    • IMPORTANT : enter the following information in the subject of your e-mail: REGION NUMBER - NAME - CHANGE DATE REQUEST TEMPORARY UNEMPLOYMENT
  • Illness in combination with EW. What am I supposed to do?
    If you were ill before or during this period of EW, it is important that you contact your mutual health service as soon as possible.
    ​After all, all sick days from 19/03/2020 onwards will be reimbursed by the health insurance company. In order to put your file in order, it is therefore important that you contact your mutual health service as soon as possible to report your illness.
    • You can report your illness with a form called 'declaration of incapacity for work', also called 'confidential'. Fill in the upper part of the form yourself and let your doctor fill it in at the bottom.
    • You can request this form from your mutual health service or download it from their website.
    • It is important that you submit this form to your mutual health insurance company in time, you have 14 working days (after the start of your illness) to do so. However, if you fall ill during a period of temporary unemployment, you only have 48 hours to deliver your certificate to the mutual health insurance company.
    • By default, you must send the declaration form to your mutual health service by post, although some mutual health services exceptionally allow this to be done electronically during the corona crisis. You can find more information about this on the website of your health insurance company.
    • Click here for some examples to explain further.
  • What about the paper service checks?
    You can put service checks that you have received from your customer in your office in a closed envelope with your name on it. We take care of the payment of these services. The office is closed, so you cannot enter.
  • What if I can't bring in my checks because I live too far from the office and don't have a car?

    Check the validity date of the checks. If it runs until July, there is no problem and you can bring it in later. If this expires faster, please send a message to the general e-mail address of your office so that we can follow this up per region.

  • How long does this situation last?
    We ourselves do not know how long this situation will last. As soon as the measure ends, we will notify you immediately.
  • What about the energy bill that the government pays?
    The government pays the energy bill for all employees who are in temporary unemployment due to force majeure. The government compensation consists of paying an extra flat-rate contribution together with your unemployment benefit, which must cover the costs of the energy bill. This for an amount of 202.68 euros.

    You still have to pay the invoices that come to you, it is not the case that the government directly takes care of that cost.
    Even if you are not a direct customer of an energy company yourself, if you have a budget meter or, for example, have a group account with a separate meter (in an apartment building), you will be paid the premium. The amount is also paid per employee who is temporarily unemployed. So if both you and your partner are temporarily unemployed due to force majeure, you will both receive the premium of 202.68 euros on top of the benefit.
    More information: https://www.vlaanderen.be/corona-tegemoetkoming-water-en-energiefactuur-voor-wie-tijdelijk-werkloos-werd

    It is about a one-off premium. Anyone who has received temporary unemployment due to force majeure will receive the premium, regardless of the number of days you have been unemployed and regardless of the number of hours you work.
  • Force majeure and holidays: what's going on?
    Holidays always take precedence over temporary unemployment. This means that all holidays already applied for must remain.
    If you wish to cancel your holiday due to exceptional circumstances, it is best to send an e-mail to the general e-mail address of your office to discuss this.
    If you are temporarily unemployed due to corona, you will continue to accrue holidays before 2021. 
  • I have a car or bicycle from Het Poetsbureau. What should I do?
    For March, everything will remain the same as before.
    You may continue to use the car or bike. Of course, the agreements included in the car policy continue to apply, including the planned net contributions.
    If the government extends the measures after April 5th, we will post an update here for the next month.
  • ​Will I still get meal vouchers?
    For the days worked in March, you will of course still receive meal vouchers.
    For the days on which you are placed in temporary unemployment due to force majeure, you will no longer receive them.
    This is because meal vouchers are only granted in the event of actual performance (and not, for example, in the event of leave or illness).
  • What about my pension rights, holiday entitlement and holiday pay?

    The periods of temporary unemployment are assimilated 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.

  • Will I be paid the public holiday of April 13th (Easter Monday)?
    Since the public holiday falls outside the first fortnight of the requested temporary unemployment due to force majeure, it is not paid by the employer.
    The public holiday is borne by the RVA. You will receive a benefit for that day.

  • Is the validity date of the service checks extended?
    Service checks remain valid for 3 months longer. Service vouchers that expire during the crisis months will remain valid for 3 months longer. So they will 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 period of validity is immediately extended by 12 months.
    As an electronic service cheque user, you can easily do the exchange or refund in the secure zone. As a paper service cheque user, you can find the request form on the Sodexo page.

Any questions?
If you have any questions, you can reach your office by mail at the office mail address. We do everything we can to answer you as soon as possible.
Take care of yourself and your loved ones.