About one in four Belgians with a job worked less than usual, or even not at all, in March, when the coronavirus crisis broke out, according to figures from Statbel, the Belgian statistical office.
For the first time, Statbel published figures about the job market because of the coronavirus crisis, from the Survey for Labour Forces.
“As expected, the coronavirus crisis has an impact on working hours,” said Statbel. In March, for example, workers performed an average of 32.8 hours in a full-time job, and 19.4 hours in a part-time job which they consider to be their main job.
In March of the year before, it was 37.5 hours and 22 hours, respectively. In February 2020, the average was 37.3 hours and 21.6 hours.
“Nearly one in four people in employment report having worked fewer hours than usual, or not having worked at all,” said Statbel.
They estimate that this concerns about 1.15 million people, 737,000 of whom have not worked any hours, and 415,000 have worked fewer hours than usual. This is the average for the whole month of March, including the weeks before and after lockdown imposed on 13 March.
Illness is the main reason for the absence, but the biggest increase was seen in people not working for technical or economic reasons.