As Belgium lifts confinement measures - and implements others - one topic has remained absent from recent communications. Should people in Belgium still be working from home?
According to Sandy Deseure, spokesperson for the Federal Public Service for Employment, the advice is very much yes, unless an employer deems it necessary that staff perform their duties from their workplace.
"In earlier phases, teleworking as much as possible was an obligation by the government, but at this moment, it is a recommendation," she told The Brussels Times. "However, if the employer judges that presence at work is necessary, an employee can be obliged to go to work," Deseure added, adding that these kinds of decisions should always be taken in consultation between employee and employer.
- Belgium's Security Council tightens coronavirus measures again
- Belgian epidemiologist denounces lack of 'firm measures' from National Security Council
- Coronavirus flare-up now spreading into general population, expert warns
While deconfinement in Belgium may have moved to a point where certain freedoms are allowed, as far as authorities are concerned, nothing has changed regarding working from home.
"If you are able to work from home, you still should. The difference is just that it is no longer obliged by the government. But still, it remains a strong recommendation," Deseure said. "Of course, you never know. If the figures continue to rise, it could change back to an obligation," she added.
This, however, is not actually a new thing, according to Deseure. Belgium's National Security Council did not announce any new decisions with regard to work, meaning the previous measures remain in force.
On Thursday, the Belgian national health institute Sciensano warned that the local flare-ups of infection clusters are spreading into the general population, and urged people to stay at home as much as possible, and to avoid situations - such as on public transport - where a safe 1.5m social distance cannot be guaranteed.
Jules Johnston & Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times