More than six out of ten Flemish SMEs are in favour of making vaccination against the coronavirus mandatory for employees, while in Wallonia and Brussels, employers are less likely to impose this measure.
While 64% of companies with fewer than 250 employees in Flanders are in favour, less than half of those in Brussels (45.7%) and Wallonia (45.9%) support introducing compulsory vaccination, according to a survey of more than 800 companies commissioned by HR services provider SD Worx.
"Employers are concerned about the safety and wellbeing of their employees and want to get back to normal life as quickly as possible, including at work. In that sense, this is reflected in the mood of Flemish SMEs," said Annelies Rottiers, SD Worx strategic consultant for SMEs.
In Brussels and Wallonia, one in five companies is against making vaccination mandatory for employees, while in Flanders, this is just one in ten.
In Belgium, employers do not have the right to oblige their personnel to be vaccinated, as there is currently no legal basis for it. They also do not have the permission to request information on the vaccination status of their employees.
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However, employers with at least 50 employees can now ask an internal or external occupational physician to gather information about the overall vaccination coverage of their employees, but this data cannot include information about individual employees.
At the end of August, the GEMS expert group advising the government on the pandemic recommended making vaccination mandatory for a number of professions, including teachers, waiters and hairdressers, after it was announced by the Consultative Committee that vaccination would become obligatory for healthcare workers.
Virologists and infectious disease experts including Steven Van Gucht, Marc Van Ranst and Erika Vlieghe, urged the authorities to also "consider mandatory vaccination for professions with high occupational (individual) risk."
Since the recommendation, the government has not made any more announcements regarding making vaccination mandatory in any sector other than the healthcare sector.
Majority against introducing CST
When it comes to introducing the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) for customers, businesses in all three regions are on the same page, as the majority does not use it and wants to keep it that way.
In places where customers do not yet have to show a CST before entering an establishment or using a service, one in three SMEs with physical customer contact would like to use the Covid Safe Ticket, while around half want to continue working without it.
Across Belgium, the CST can only be used by clubs and mass events, however, from 15 October at the latest, this will be temporarily extended to certain sectors, including the hospitality industry, sports and fitness centres, trade fairs and congresses, and residential care centres.