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What’s new from 1 September?

Neighbour relations. © Gieren Menighen via Unsplash

The beginning of September marks a watershed in the year, with the return of holiday-makers, and kids going back to school.

Here are some of the changes coming into force on 1 September.

Mental health: People requiring psychological services need no longer go through their GP first, but can now address a psychologist directly, and receive up to 20 sessions of therapy reimbursed, with a co-pay of only €11 a session. However according to press reports, for the time being, it remains difficult to find therapists who are willing to take part in the scheme.

Military patrols: After six years of constant presence following the attacks at Charlie Hebdo in Paris followed by attacks at Brussels Airport and Brussels metro, the military will disappear from the Brussels streetscape. At the time of the attacks at Maalbeek station and Zaventem, there were 1,800 soldiers on duty. Since then the number has been progressively reduced to 250 at the start of this year. From January 2015 to May 2020 the cost of the operation was €200 million.

Training leave: Workers in the private sector in Flanders are now entitled to 250 hours of paid leave to study or attend training, up from 125 hours until now. The allowance only applies, however, if the training is offered by the employer. For other courses, the employee is limited to 125 hours, but that can also be combined with 125 employer training.

Care leave: Carers looking after a sick relative see their right to care leave extended to three months per person cared for. The term may be divided up into periods of one month. In the case of carers with a full-time job who request a division, the total period will last 12 months, in periods of two months each.

Charging posts: Anyone who installs a recharging post for an electric car at home will be eligible for a tax rebate of 45% per post per person, to a limit of €1,500. The allowance applies to both owners and tenants. The rebate will change to 30% on 1 January 2023 and 15% a year after that.

Argenta bank: Argenta Bank will no longer offer current accounts to Belgian clients resident outside of the Single European Payment Area (EU27 plus Andorra, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, United Kingdom, Vatican City State, Mayotte, Saint-Pierre-et Miquelon, Guernsey, Jersey and Isle of Man). The 700 or so clients concerned have been contacted.

Neighbour relations: The rules on private property change slightly, allowing you to retrieve a football or a runaway puppy from a neighbour’s garden, although permission should always be requested.

Eco-cheques: The range of products that can be paid for with eco-cheques is extended to include light bulbs using the new EU ABCD rating system. The allowance is also extended until 28 February 2023 to light bulbs using the old A+ or A++ system. The new system has classifications running from A to G, from best to worst energy performance.

Prescription medication: On 15 September, it will no longer be necessary to go back to the doctor to request a repeat prescription for regular medications. From that date, all prescriptions will be registered on a central database to which pharmacists have access, and which they can consult to find details of dosage and when the medication was last delivered, based alone on the patient’s identity card.

The start of the new month also brings with it a number of changes to Belgium’s coronavirus rules. An overview of what is different from today can be found here.