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The reintegration trajectory 2.0

Publications | Employment Law Team

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The reintegration trajectory was originally introduced by the legislator to enhance the reintegration of employees who have been incapacitated for a longer period (long-term illness). The main objective was to see if these employees could be phased back in gently, or if adjustments to their job or workstation were needed in this respect.

This reintegration trajectory has recently been updated, with effect as of 1 October 2022.

The major changes for employers are:

- The reintegration trajectory can be initiated by the employer after 3 months of uninterrupted work incapacity instead of 4 months;

- Certain deadlines within the reintegration trajectory were changed (such as the deadline for the employer to submit a reintegration plan).

- Regarding the reintegration plan, it is expressly stipulated that the employer must consider as much as possible the comments of the prevention advisor-occupational physician, the collective reintegration policy, and possibly also the right to reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities.

- The employer must also clarify the reintegration plan to the employee if necessary.

Furthermore, the legislator has dissociated the termination of an employment contract due to medical force majeure (article 34 Employment Contracts Act) from the completion of the reintegration trajectory.

On 28 November 2022 a new procedure for terminating an employment contract due to medical force majeure entered into force. The conditions for invoking medical force majeure in order to terminate the employment contract were also modified.

This procedure is now totally separated from the reintegration trajectory.

It can be initiated after at least nine months of (uninterrupted) work incapacity and only if no reintegration trajectory for the employee concerned is ongoing. This nine-month period is only considered to be interrupted by an actual work resumption if this is not followed by a new work incapacity within fourteen days.

Both the employer and the employer can initiate this procedure, which is intended to verify whether it is definitively impossible for the employee to perform the agreed work. In the framework of this procedure the employee is entitled to request that possibilities for adapted or other work be investigated, if it is determined that he can no longer perform the agreed work.

If medical force majeure is not established after this procedure, the reintegration trajectory remains possible to see if the employee can be phased back onto the work floor.

For more detailed information about this new procedure please contact our employment law team.