Since 1 January 2020, the amended Act on Accidents at Work has been in force. Several changes were also made to the law in 2019. In the amended legislation, more clarity is created, primarily in the context of workplace learning for “kleine statuten”, and occasional and structural telework are also made equivalent. We will briefly outline the most important changes below.
1) Students and trainees are better protected
Starting from 1 January 2020, when students or trainees (“kleine statuten”) take a training course via workplace learning, they are also protected by the statutory Act on Accidents at Work. As a result, from now on the employer must conclude an occupational accident insurance policy for certain professional training programmes as well as submit a Dimona declaration.
In this case, the employer may be the company where the student is doing the internship, but this can also be the school or the governmental institution that is coordinating the traineeship, for example, the VDAB. This is always determined individually per training agreement by Fedris (the Federal Agency for Occupational Risks); also see http://fedris.be/nl/professional/privesector/wetgeving-rechtspraak .
Why this change? Before this, trainees were protected in a number of ways, because they were not always covered by insurance that was concluded by the employer. By including all “kleine statuten”, protection equal to that provided to employees is guaranteed.
2) Expansion of Act on Accidents at Work to include occasional telework
Since 27 January 2019, occasional telewerkers (= employees who occasionally perform their work away from the work station without a specific telework agreement) have had the same protections regarding occupational accidents as those employees who structurally perform telework (= employees who regularly, and not incidentally, work outside the company). Before that, only structural telework with a telework agreement was included in this coverage. The only condition is that the employee must be able to present an approval document for telework, stating the location and the time period of the telework.
Occupational road accidents involving those who structurally and occasionally perform telework are now also considered home-work travel accidents.