Temporary unemployment due to force majeure (Coronavirus)

Reinhardt Haverans
27 March 2020

What does the measure entail

Employers temporarily unable to employ their staff due to the coronavirus, can request increased NEO-benefits until 30 June 2020.

The measure can be invoked, for instance, by quarantined employees or by companies debilitated by the coronavirus (delivery problems causing production to halt...).

Who qualifies

Employers temporarily unable to employ their staff due to the coronavirus. The measure is available for:

  • Administrative workers, service industry workers (bedienden*) and industrial workers (arbeiders*);
  • Temporary workers, if they are employed with the same company after the force majeure ends;
  • Pupils in a work-learning programme;

*The terms ’bediende’ and ‘arbeider’ are the official Dutch-language terms used in legislation. The official statuses of ‘bediende’ and ‘arbeider’ are not fully represented by ‘administrative workers’, ‘service industry workers’ and ‘industrial workers’. Ask your social security office for more information.

Contents of the support measure

This measure can be invoked in different cases of force majeure. You can find a definition of ‘force majeure’ in Dutch, French or German in the info pages of the NEO. When in doubt, ask your social security office for assistance.

The coronavirus can in some cases of temporary unemployment be considered force majeure.

When the force majeure is coronavirus, the NEO-benefits will be increased to 70% of employees’ average wages, with a maximum of €2,754.76 per month, from 26.75% corporate tax will be deducted. The increase is in effect until 30 June 2020.

Companies applying for temporary unemployment for administrative workers and service industry workers due to economic reasons that have yet to go through the procedure, can use the benefits connected to temporary unemployment due to force majeure until 30 June 2020.

Application procedure

The employer must submit an electronic request at the unemployment office of their corporate address. This request will inform the NEO of the following:

  • the date of the event
  • an explanation pertaining to the event identified as force majeure
  • the prospective duration of unemployment (maximum number of months, can be extended)
  • the identity of employees involved
  • the force majeure identified as ‘coronavirus’

The NEO’s decision will be communicated to the employer within 3 working days. A written application must also be submitted requesting recognition of the force majeure as such, along with proof to support the claim.


National Employment Office (NEO)

Keizerslaan 7

1000 Brussels


T 02 515 41 11



This text is a literal translation of a Dutch-language text provided by Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship. By translating it to English, we aim to help even more entrepreneurs in this time of crisis.




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