Phone charges, pay rises and rape sentences: What changes on 1 June?

Phone charges, pay rises and rape sentences: What changes on 1 June?
Credit: Belga/ Canva

Starting from Wednesday 1 June, various changes will be taking place in Belgium, from increased prices for phone contracts to stricter punishment for sexual violence.

Orange and Telenet increase prices

Mobile carrier Orange is set to raise the price of mobile subscriptions by between €1-3, however, the data packages will also increase from 0.5 to 10 GB extra.

The prices of Orange’s less popular or less used services are also set to rise, such as the rates for calls not included in tariff bundles, as well as for mobile roaming. Multimedia texts will also now become a paid service, costing €0.24.

Meanwhile, some customers such as those with multi sim cards and those on fixed internet subscription plans, will see their tariffs reduced slightly.

From 19 June, Telenet will increase the prices of its fixed, monthly subscription costs of internet, cable and digital television, mobile and fixed telephony by 4.7%.

Ukrainians can exchange Hryvnia for Euros

Ukrainian refugees will be able to exchange Hryvnia banknotes for Euros in Belgium from Wednesday onwards. Belgium is the second EU member state to offer this service, which allows Ukrainian refugees to freely exchange their national banknotes.

Ukrainians will be able to exchange a maximum of 10,000 Hryvnia (€316) per adult without charges or commission. They must already have an account with the bank in question and they will be asked for a proof of the refugee status.

Credit: National Bank of Ukraine Press Service

The service will be offered over the counter at the National Bank in Brussels or at private banks Belfius, Beobank, BNP Paribas Fortis, CBC, ING, KBC, and KBC Brussels.

Doubling sentences for rape

The newly reformed law for sexual crimes, which aim to better protect victims and punish perpetrators more severely, will come into force on Wednesday.

The maximum sentence for someone who has been found guilty of rape has been doubled from five to ten years, while those who drug their victims can get up to 15 years in prison. The definition of rape has also been modified to ensure penetration no longer has to be complete, but can also be partial.

Another important element of this reform is the concept of consent, which has now been put central to the sexual criminal law.

Pay rise for civil servants and doctors

Civil servants' salaries are going up by 2% for the third time this year as a result of high inflation, which causes the wage indexation to be exceeded faster than usual.

Public sector salaries also increased by 2% in April and in February to bring them in line with the cost of living. There may be a fourth wage indexation this year, as the Planning Bureau expects the pivot index to be exceeded again in October.

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The honorary wages of doctors will also be increased by 2% to take into account the rising costs of personnel, materials and energy.

Two-year guarantee for consumers

Consumers will be entitled to the full two-year guarantee from Wednesday, meaning that they can have goods repaired, replaced or reimbursed free of charge if they become defective within the first two years of purchase due to the fault of the seller or producer.

The new guarantee rules makes it easier for consumers to get their money back and reverses the burden of proof, meaning producers or sellers must be able to prove that the consumer is responsible if a purchased product turns out to be faulty, and that the defect was not present at the time of delivery.

Until now, the seller's or producer's burden of proof only applied to the first six months.

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