Employers furious about Belgium’s abolition of one-day sick notes
Share article:
Share article:

Employers furious about Belgium’s abolition of one-day sick notes

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Belgium’s decision to get rid of the sick notes for a one-day absence, effectively making it possible for employees to take a sick day without a doctor’s note, is absolutely not a good idea, says employers’ organisation VBO.

To make sure that employees do not cut corners, the Federal Government also decided that this will not apply to those who are absent for longer than one day or for one day more than three times a year.

But for VBO’s Managing Director Pieter Timmermans is furious about the new measures, saying that this sends the message that someone can be absent for three days a year without informing their employer.

“I find this an incomprehensible decision,” he told VRT. “This is a measure that stands on its own and is inspired by what used to exist in the government.”

These what he calls ‘off days’ should simply be transferred to the private sector. “The measure will not affect absenteeism whatsoever,” said Timmermans. “On the contrary, employees who are on the job will be punished for those who cut corners.”

Additionally, he dismisses the examples from abroad that show that absenteeism due to illness fell, once the one-day sick note was abolished, saying that he “would like to see that here,” but also said that the measure will likely have a positive effect on those companies “where things are going well.”

Related News:

 

Employers’ organisation Voka is of a similar opinion, with Managing Director Hans Maertens being concerned about the measure. “A lot of companies will not agree to this. They fear a kind of abuse of the regulation, whereby employees can have a kind of recovery day, a day off, three times a year,” he said. “Perhaps some are really ill, but others will abuse it anyway.”

Meanwhile, Danny Van Assche of employers’ organisation Unizo, was more positive, but only because SMEs are exempt from the measure.

“That does provide some relief,” Van Assche said, referring to his earlier fears of the so-called ‘Monday morning sickless’ where people will pretend to be sick to prolong the weekend a little bit.

“[The government] cannot decide something like for everyone. There will always be some who cut corners. We think it is up to the company itself to deal with that,” he said.

“A company with a good atmosphere and where everyone trusts each other can then decide for itself what to do,” Van Assche added.

For professor of occupational medicine Lode Godderis (KU Leuven), it is a good thing that a start is being made on abolishing sick notes.

“What I do regret is that it has been limited to one day. I would have preferred three or even five days, when it would be better for people to report sick directly to their superiors, as in Norway,” he said.

Godderis added that most conditions for which people need a sick note pass spontaneously after three days. “So that seemed more logical to me.”

“My main concern is that the conversation between employee and supervisor is made possible, because that is a basis for trust and to ensure a return to work,” he added.

Latest news

Mayor wants to close two Brussels bars where alleged sexual assaults took place
Ixelles' Mayor Christos Doulkeridis (Ecolo) said that he’d like to close the two bars that employed a man accused of raping multiple patrons, ...
‘Untenable’: Mayor says situation at Brussels North station is out of control
The situation at Brussels North Station is no longer tenable, Schaerbeek's mayor Cécile Jodogne (Défi) says. Drug dealing, homelessness, ...
Suicide second-leading cause of death among European youth
Suicide is the number two killer among young people living in Europe, a recent Unicef report on the state of their mental health found. The ...
‘Too little, too late’: Brussels mayors criticise CST implementation
After a two week delay, the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will become mandatory in several situations in Brussels from today (Friday). Some mayors blame a ...
Sciensano expert warns of rising Covid-19 cases this winter
The return of colder weather and the relaxing of health measures are giving rise to new Covid-19 contaminations and hospitalisations around Belgium, ...
Hospital food is making you sick, Belgian study shows
Eating hospital meals results in a measurable decline in health, according to a report from the Flemish television network VTM, which paints a ...
Belgium in Brief: Supply Issues
There are few things more jarring than walking into a store and finding that the shelves are empty, be that partially or otherwise. One thing ...
Stolen Magritte painting on display for first time in ten years
Surrealist painter René Magritte's work "Olympia", which made headlines across the world when it was stolen from a museum in Belgium in 2009, will be ...
Brussels airport pilots ’15 minute’ PCR test
Brussels Airport has announced that it will soon begin a trial of an ultra-fast PCR test able to detect Covid-19 in 15 minutes, a far faster ...
Over 1,000 demonstrators march in Brussels following sexual assault allegations
Around 1,300 people gathered in Ixelles on Thursday night to march against sexual violence, according to reporting from Bruzz. The march was ...
Covid Safe Ticket mandatory in Brussels, but no fines yet
The Brussels-Capital Region will expand the use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) from today (Friday), but it will take a few days before rule-breakers ...
Belgium hosts ‘farewell party’ for Merkel today
Angela Merkel will be in Belgium on Friday for an official visit as a symbolic "farewell" before leaving her position as German Chancellor after 16 ...