Update COVID-19 and cross-border employment: agreement with the Netherlands extended

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In our newsflash of 28 August 2020 we announced the extension of the mutual agreement between Belgium and the Netherlands, which includes a “force majeure tolerance” for cross-border workers in relation to COVID-19 (travel) restrictions. The number of officially registered COVID-19 infections in Europe is still significant. Home working has become the new normal and is still mandatory for many employees. Moreover, it is clear that government measures will not be limited to calendar year 2020, but will continue to impact international business travel in the first quarter of 2021. Therefore, a further extension of the mutual agreement between Belgium and the Netherlands is now announced until 31 March 2021.

Note: the COVID-19 mutual agreements (between Belgium and France / Germany / the Netherlands / Luxembourg) allow for a fiction in relation to the employment income linked to the “home working days” solely due to the measures taken by the governments of the respective countries to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. If certain conditions are met, and the employee chooses to apply the fiction, these “forced home working days” are deemed to be spent by the employee in the state where the cross-border worker would have exercised the employment in case no such measures had been taken.

In our newsflash of 7 May 2020, we mentioned that the tolerance agreed between Belgium and the Netherlands applies retroactively as from 11 March until 31 May 2020 but that it could be extended if the competent authorities of both countries timely decide to do so. This mutual agreement was extended a first time until 30 June 2020 (see our newsflash of 2 June 2020), a second time until 31 August 2020 (see our newsflash of 24 June 2020) and once more until 31 December (see our newsflash of 28 August 2020). The competent Dutch and Belgian authorities have now agreed to extend the agreement until 31 March 2021. It remains to be seen whether any further extensions (after 31 March 2021) will be made applicable.

After the recent extension of the agreement with France (see our newsflash of 9 December 2020), the agreement with the Netherlands is the second of the COVID-19 mutual agreements between Belgium and its neighbouring countries which is made applicable beyond income year 2020. We anticipate that a similar extension could become applicable with regard to the agreements concluded between Belgium and Germany / Luxembourg.

We will follow-up on any further developments in this respect. 

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Sandrine Schaumont or Philip Maertens.

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