The United Kingdom may still be a member of the European Union, but with the passing of March some things will be changing from 1 April. Weddings on Sundays and public holidays will no longer be allowed, unless local authorities give special consent. The reason: officials are not present at town halls on Sunday, and their presence costs money. In any case, proponents of the change said, there was little demand anyway.
Staff of cut-price airline Ryanair will now be covered by Belgian employment law after an agreement with the company. Staff were previously treated as Irish employees to benefit from looser social security laws there.
The fee paid to a general practitioner for the management of a patient’s global medical dossier (GMD) goes up by 2.57%, to 31.80 euros in general and to 58.30 euros in the case of a chronic patient aged between 45 and 75. The fee is entirely reimbursed by medical insurers.
Paper copies of certificates of birth, marriage and death are a thing of the past; all such documents will now be stored digitally, reducing the number of copies held in town halls and courts, and the risk of damage from damp, fire etc. The measure will also save seven million pages of paper a year, the equivalent of 852 trees.
Plants, flowers, bushes and trees bought from a reputable grower will now attract 6% VAT instead of 21%. The measure is intended to combat illicit sales of plants by sellers who pay no VAT at all.
In Flanders region, a new free insurance cover for volunteers comes into force, allowing anyone working in a voluntary capacity for associations and non-profits to be covered at no cost for personal injury.
Meanwhile in advance of 1 April, parents of children at a school in Aalst in East Flanders were shocked to receive a letter from the school informing them that, because of a wave of bullying, students would be expected to turn up on Monday wearing a new uniform: blue trousers, shorts or skirt and white T-shirt, blouse or shirt. Most saw through the prank; others had to be reassured it was all a bit of fun before doing a bit of emergency shopping. The school has apologised for any confusion.
And another school in Wevelgem in West Flanders said it was fed up with pupils stuffing whole rolls of toilet paper in the toilet, so was ordering them to come to school on Monday with their own roll, marked with the student’s name. Some parents failed to see through the joke. Any children who show up tomorrow with a toilet roll will be able to take it home again.