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    Minimum wage for working prisoners raised by government

    Credit: Belga

    Working prisoners will receive a higher minimum wage as of next year. They will earn at least €0.75 per hour, even if guards on strike prevent them from performing their tasks, De Tijd wrote on Thursday.

    In Belgium, prisoners provide about 6 million working hours a year. They mainly carry out manual work in sectors such as confectionery, bookbinding, packaging, metallurgy, carpentry or cheese making.

    The Court of Auditors, however, criticises this for being prison labour. The average paid wage for the same job varies considerably between different workplaces, and even within the same penitentiary establishment … with the risks of discrimination this entails.

    From 1 January 2020, working prisoners will earn between €0.75 and €4/ hour maximum, Justice Minister Koen Geens (CD&V) decided. The royal decree has already been published.

    The current wages are already higher than the minimum €0.62 and €0.69/ hour set in 2004. A minimum wage of €0.79 per hour is also applied to “qualified personnel”.

    The Brussels Times