The Belgian government passed a new law enabling employees to take a paid leave to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus during their working hours. The new leave is limited to the time necessary for the vaccination and may vary by employee.
The new measure entered into effect on 9 April 2021. It is expected to expire on 31 December 2021, but may be extended by the government until 30 June 2022.
As the vaccination campaign is accelerating, employers’ organizations and the national Labour Council have agreed to parameters for paid COVID-19 vaccination leave to encourage as many people as possible to be vaccinated.
The vaccination leave applies to all employers and all employees for each required injection until employees are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 virus. This short leave includes travel time to and from the location where the vaccination takes place as well as the actual vaccination time. Employees who suffer a bad reaction as a result of the vaccination would be required to take ordinary sick leave as the vaccination leave doesn’t cover such circumstances.
Employees will be required to inform their employer in advance of their appointment time to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Employers may request evidence of the vaccination appointment from their employees. Since the vaccination evidence is considered sensitive data (health data) in accordance with the GDPR, employers are required to treat it carefully. Employers may not record the reason of the leave but may register the absence and the time of the appointment. The evidence of the vaccination appointment may not be copied and should only be collected to ensure proper payroll administration.
In addition, to ensure the progress of the national vaccination program, employers are not allowed to ask their employees to reschedule their appointment.