SMEs welcome exemption from one-day medical-certificate waiver

SMEs welcome exemption from one-day medical-certificate waiver
Credit: Belga

The Union of Middle Classes, UCM, on Saturday hailed the exemption of small and medium-sized companies, SMEs, from a governmental ruling that waives the need for medical certificates for brief absences from work, Belga News Agency reports.

The exemption, announced on Friday by the Federal Government, only applies to companies with more than 50 employees.

“SMEs are thus sheltered from a provision that paves the way for abuses,” UCM, which represents SMEs and independent professionals, commented in a statement issued on Saturday.

“All work deserves salaries, so all salaries deserve work; illness is an exception since the first month of absence is borne by the employer,” said UCM’s Thierry Evens. “In return, a medical certificate needs to be presented. It’s normal for someone who feels so ill that he cannot work to consult a doctor.”

The employers’ organisation also welcomed an agreement reached on transport allowances, which “urges” but “does not oblige” employers to increase them. “That’s an intelligent way to use the 30-million-euro envelope aimed at cushioning increased gas and diesel prices for wage earners,” UCM said.

On the other hand, UCM said it found it “incomprehensible’ to prohibit layoffs for nine months for people with long-term illnesses.

“In a number of cases, it’s clear from the start of sick leave that going back to work will not be possible, so it’s useless to keep imposing charges, even reduced ones, on the private employers of the workers, who often need to replace them,” the organisation noted.

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