The Return Of Mandatory Remote Work In Belgium – Employment and HR – Belgium – Mondaq News Alerts

Belgium: The Return Of Mandatory Remote Work In Belgium

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From 20 November 2021, all workers (including employees, the
self-employed and contractors) must return to remote working in
Belgium unless the nature of their work makes it impossible. One
day of on-site work is permitted per person per week, on a
voluntary basis. From 13 December 2021, this increases to two days
per week.

On 17 November 2021, the Belgian federal and regional
governments decided to take additional measures in the fight
against the COVID-19 pandemic. One of these measures is the
reintroduction of mandatory remote working. The agreements have now
been laid down in a Royal Decree of 19 November 2021. Below, we
outline the most important aspects of this reintroduced mandatory
remote working regime.

As of 07:00 on Saturday 20 November 2021, remote working is
mandatory again in the private sector and in public
administrations, unless this is impossible due to the nature of the
job or for the continuity of the business, activities or services.
This obligation applies to all individuals employed, regardless of
the nature of the employment relationship (employees,
self-employed, etc.).

Working remotely takes place in accordance with CBA 85 (on
structural homeworking). If nothing is provided in that context at
the organisational level, the rules of CBA 149 apply (on remote
work due to the COVID-19 crisis).

Certificate requirement

Individuals who cannot work remotely must be in possession of a
certificate or other piece of evidence from their employer or
client confirming that their presence in the workplace is

Monthly registration

Organisations must also register the following information per
branch unit each month via the Belgian National Social Security
Office (NSSO)’s portal:

  • total number of individuals employed;
  • total number of individuals with a function that does not allow
    remote work.

The first declaration must be made by 30 November 2021 for the
period 22 November to 31 December 2021. Subsequent declarations
must be made on the sixth calendar day of each month.

A new monthly declaration only needs to be made if the situation
has changed compared to the previous month.

SMEs with fewer than five employees and a number of sectors
(health care, subsidised education, etc.) are exempted from this
remote work obligation.

Return times and attendance rate at the workplace

For remotely workable positions, one return day per person per
week is permitted until 12 December 2021. From 13 December 2021,
this will increase to two days per week. The following conditions
apply to these return days:

  • The return cannot be compulsory and must take place by mutual
    agreement with the employee.
  • The purpose of the return days is to promote psychosocial
    wellbeing and team spirit.
  • Workers who return must be instructed on safety measures in the
  • Workers who are ill, showing symptoms or who are in quarantine
    must not return.
  • Measures must be taken to avoid carpooling and public transport
    journeys at peak times.

Up to and including 12 December 2021, a maximum of 20% of
individuals with a function that allows remote working can be
present at any one time. From 13 December 2021, this is increased
to a maximum of 40%.

For SMEs that employ fewer than ten employees, a maximum of five
mandatorily remote working employees may be present in the
establishment unit at the same time.

Action point

As an organisation, you are well advised to strictly observe the
mandatory remote work regime and the formalities that come with it
once again. The social inspection services monitor compliance and
will take action in the event of violations, potentially imposing
criminal or administrative fines. Mandatory monthly registration
should definitely be at the top of your to-do list. This must be
done for the first time no later than by 30 November 2021.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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