Friday, December 9, 2011

Free advice for the FOREM

I'm still waiting on the papers that should have followed my "you're being let go" letter, but I figured 2 weeks was long enough to wait and so yesterday I made a few calls; one to the FOREM (the government administrators of job-status,) and the other to FGTB, a syndicat (union.)

Did you know... that even though an employer is normally supposed to furnish the C4 and whatever other papers that should follow the "rupture of contract" letter within days of the rupture of contract, that a person in Belgium can (and should) still visit the FOREM within 8 days of being let go, even if they don't have those papers?  I didn't.  Lots of other people (both immigrants and native Wallonians,) don't know this too, judging by the number of confused people in online advice forums regarding work here in Belgium.

Did you know as well ... that *nowhere* on the FOREM website, nor the FGTB (at least that I could find,) is there a section or mention of "what to do and when to do it after being fired / laid off".  I'm thinking there should be a general list of things to do and the order in which they should be done, given that I've now seen horrible things online now about employers not producing the C4 for MONTHS after the firing, and former employees waiting for their C4, (thinking it's what they need this document before they can visit the FOREM and register in the system as a "job seeker".)  Those people have effectively fallen through the cracks of the system due to a lack of information.

So, if anyone out there in the readership of this blog happens to be in any sort of governmental advisory capacity - I'm just putting this out there as a free recommendation: please do create a "so, you've lost your job, what to do next?" section on the FOREM site, and given that the FOREM is a site people tend to visit after being let go, or when looking for work-information... place the link to that section fairly prominently.  From my experience of trying to figure out what I'm supposed to do, when I should expect my C4, and so on I can tell you there are definitely enough people out there who don't know the procedure of what to do after rupture of contract, and who don't know they can go directly to the FOREM as soon as they've got their letter of dismissal.  Some have been waiting for months, calling their employers and asking when the C4 will come, all the while unsure of their status in 'the system', unsure of if they are authorized to look for work since they don't have "job seeker" status, and all the while they're worrying about how to pay for groceries while they wait.  And it's simply because they don't know that they don't have to wait!

I tried (professionally and politely,) to contact my employer twice during these past two weeks regarding my C4, and was ignored completely by them.  Now I'm thinking it's almost a good thing they didn't respond to my queries by telling me "yeah, it's coming soon," because I probably would have kept waiting if they had!  I'm also grateful I'm not as patient as some of those people I ran into in the online forums, as it's my lack of patience in this situation that drove me to make the calls I did yesterday.  Today I'm off to my FOREM office to start (hopefully) putting things right.

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