The Mathys act – a gesture of solidarity between colleagues

As a result of the Mathys law, TOIL days are no longer just holidays, but also collective gestures between colleagues. The law means that colleagues can transfer their accrued TOIL leave to another colleague who needs to spend time with their sick child.


Although this law is designed to create a sense of solidarity between colleagues as well as reinforcing the values ​​of our society, the law itself has been quite controversial and has provoked a lot of debate and has even been retracted.


More than a simple gesture of solidarity

The law came into effect in 2004 in honour of a young cancer sufferer, Mathys, and his father who took care of his child during his illness.


The colleagues of Mathys’ father took the unanimous decision to offer him their 170 days accrued leave, outside of any existing legal framework. The Mathys law was thereafter enshrined to ensure that a parent of a gravely ill child could take leave from work during the child’s illness.


To qualify as a donor, the employee must still have at least 24 days of compulsory paid leave left over, as stated under municipal law, before donating the specified number of days he or she wishes to allocate to the parent.


The beneficiary parent must provide the detailed medical certificate of the sick child under 20 years of age. The employer may then authorize the parent to appeal to the generosity of his or her colleagues.


Application in the public sector

The Decree of the 29th of May 2015 amended the Mathys law, which had been heretofore limited to the private sector and extended it to the public sector.


For both sectors, the donation is anonymous in order to protect the donor employee.


However, it should be noted that the law applies only to employees and not to the self-employed.


An effective but divisive law

During the vote to enshrine the law into the constitution, several senators and MPs abstained or refused to vote in favor of the Mathys Act.


These politicians stated that they considered the act, although of noble principle, to be superfluous as they believed that the leave afforded to the families of sick children should be the responsibility of the state and not the responsibility of individuals within a company.