An employee with an employment contract that is dismissed during the period of part-time parental leave is entitled to a severance pay calculated on the basis of the full-time employment. This is what the European Court of Justice judged in a decision dated 22 October 2009. The Court was responding to a prejudicial question posed by the Supreme Court.
The Court bases its decision on a European framework agreement on parental leave in which it is stipulated that the objective of parental leave is the equality of men and women and therefore cannot be interpreted restrictively. The rights acquired or in the process of being acquired during the period of the parental leave must be maintained as they stand until the end of parental leave.
Moreover the Court argued that full-time employees that take parental leave in Belgium also continue to build up their seniority as if their employment wasn’t reduced and that the National Social Security Office is considered to compensate the remuneration reduction in case of part-time parental leave.
This decision only concerns parental leave. For employees who enjoy working time reduction/time credit the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court judged that the notice period should be calculated on the basis of the full-time remuneration, but that the severance pay has to be calculated based on the real (and therefore part-time) remuneration.