Employers fear ‘Monday morning sickness’ if Belgium bans sick notes

Employers fear ‘Monday morning sickness’ if Belgium bans sick notes
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

The Federal Government’s plans to abolish the compulsory sick note for those who are absent from work due to illness for only a few days were not well received by employers, who fear that it will open the door to abuse.

Along with other labour market reforms, the abolition of the sick note is said to be on the table of the Government, but employers have already stated that they are not in favour, according to the Belga News Agency.

“The majority of employees take their responsibility. The bosses do know that,” said employers’ organisation Unizo. “But there is a minority who cuts corners.”

“Abolishing the compulsory sick note for the first few days of illness opens the door wide to ‘Monday morning sickness’,” fears Unizo’s Danny Van Assche, pointing to people who will pretend to be sick in order to prolong the weekend a little bit.

The Neutral Syndicate for the Self-Employed (NSZ) also fears that the abolition of the sick note will be abused.

“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,” the NSZ stated. “This will open the door to all sorts of excesses.”

The Flemish employers’ organisation Voka is of the same opinion and stated that it particlarly insists on a solution for long-term absenteeism.

For the Federation of Belgian Enterprises (FEB), the proposal as a stand-alone measure is not acceptable, but must be framed in a broader narrative where employees (and doctors) are effectively encouraged to assume their personal responsibility.


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