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Belgium in Brief: The Monday Blues

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Belgium is considering banning the compulsory sick note from a doctor for those who are absent from work due to illness for only a few days, but employers’ organisations are not so keen on the idea.

Even though the majority of employees do act responsibly, employers fear that some people will abuse the system and will exploit the system to their own advantage – for instance, pretending to be sick in order to prolong the weekend a little bit.

“There is a minority [of employees] that cuts corners,” said Danny Van Assche of employers’ organisation Unizo. “Abolishing the compulsory sick note for the first few days of illness opens the door wide to ‘Monday morning sickness’.”

The Neutral Syndicate for the Self-Employed (NSZ) stressed that those who are really ill “deserve all the support they can get, but not those who want to recuperate from a night out or just take a few days off under the pretext of illness.”

“This will open the door to all sorts of excesses,” they fear.

But for Lode Godderis, professor of occupational medicine at KU Leuven, abuse will be limited.

“In companies that have already chosen to abolish the compulsory note, you see that short-term absence is just decreasing,” he told Het Laatste Nieuws.

Regardless, the Federal Government will not make a final decision about the sick notes until next weekend at the earliest, as it is one of a number of other labour market reforms which are currently being negotiated.

What do you think? Would you stay in bed a little longer if you didn’t need a doctor’s note for your work?

Let @johnstonjules know (or @maithechini, as she wrote it today) 

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