Belgian Government announces 'Jobs Deal' labour reform

Belgian Government announces 'Jobs Deal' labour reform
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, Vice-prime minister and Minister for Economy and Employment Pierre-Yves Dermagne and Minister for Agriculture and SME's David Clarinval. Credit: Belga.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, the Minister of Economy and Employment Pierre-Yves Dermagne and the Minister of the Self-Employed David Clarnival have announced the details of the Federal Government's latest labour reform.

At a press conference on Friday afternoon, both ministers and the PM gave the rundown on the government's long-planned labour reform, the so-called 'Jobs Deal'.

This reform has a double objective: adapting the Belgian working world to the realities of the 21st century as well as achieving an employment rate of 80% by 2030. Here are the reform's main aspects.

Better balance the private and professional lives of workers

Workers will now have the option of taking an extra day off by working four 10-hour days instead of five. With the added goal of making separated parents' work schedules more flexible based on their custody arrangement. In any event, it will only be at the employee's request.

Furthermore, private-sector workers will be granted the ability to disconnect outside of work hours, which was previously granted to public-sector workers in February.

Better protection for the most vulnerable workers

The government has prioritised the supervision and protection of different categories of workers that they consider to be the most precarious.

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Among these are gig workers, with Dermagne stating that "workers who are tied a particular platform are clearly employees of a platform. In this case, the platform must play its role of employer, with all the obligations that ensue."

In addition, gig workers will now be able to receive coverage against work accidents, including if they are self-employed, at the expense of the platform with whom they have a work arrangement.

Better career evolution

For the government, the current working world necessitates that all employees, regardless of age, gender, or initial vocation, to be able to receive additional training.

As a result, the government proposes an individual entitlement to 5 days (in hours, with an average of 8 hours per working day) of training.

A recently unemployed worker will also be offered a temporary position at another company to improve his employability.

To this end, this employee will also be able to receive training, do a skills assessment, acquire abilities that will be valuable in a future employment, etc.

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