While employees in Belgium will soon be allowed to opt for a four-day working week under the new labour deal, this will not be the case for civil servants, said Federal Minister of Civil Service Petra De Sutter.
After the Federal Government agreed that employees would be allowed to work four days – with longer hours – instead of five in its new labour deal, De Sutter told Het Laatste Nieuws that the new arrangement would not be in force for those working for the state.
"The whole labour deal is about the statutes and working conditions in the private sector, so it does not apply to [civil servants]," said De Sutter. "But if there is also a demand among civil servants for such a four-day regime, in order to better balance work and private life, I am certainly willing to investigate what is possible."
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She stressed that any decision would be made in consultation with the chairmen of the public services and trade unions, and made it clear that she cannot make any promises yet.
"But the government has made a clear commitment to bring the three statuses – employees, civil servants and the self-employed – as close together as possible," De Sutter said.
Earlier this year, she already introduced the 'right to disconnect' after working hours for civil servants, an arrangement which the Government has now also extended to the private sector. "So if, in turn, civil servants also benefit from more flexibility, we can certainly look at that."
An in-depth breakdown of Belgium's new labour deal can be found here.