Flemish Government will abolish permanent positions from 2024

Flemish Government will abolish permanent positions from 2024
Flemish Minister-President's offices in Brussels. Credit: Belga / Hatim Kaghat

New civil servants employed by the Flemish Government will no longer be given permanent positions from 2024, however, the new measure does exclude people working in education. The regional government claims this could prove work conditions for staff.

Those working in the public sector can either be employed with an ordinary employment contract, as happens in the private sector, or they can be permanently appointed through a tenure. Currently, around 70% of the around 29,000 Flemish civil servants are permanently appointed.

From 2024, the Flemish Government plans to stop permanently appointing staff in the civil service, meaning new staff can only be hired by contract from this point, VRT News reported on Monday morning. The regional government claims this means little will change for existing staff members.

This was decided last week when Administrative Affairs Minister Bart Somers agreed on the abolition of permanent appointments in the Flemish Government as part of the social agreement for 2022-2023 which was signed on Monday.

From next year, only people in positions of authority will still be given tenure. Nothing will change in the education sector, where a person can be permanently appointed, but only after they have accumulated some seniority.

What is the difference?

Contractual employees enjoy far fewer benefits, for example, their pay rises less quickly, they can be fired more easily, and their pension is lower, the Flemish Government claims.

A permanent appointee cannot negotiate their terms of employment, as these are laid out in a legal statute imposed by the government, but they get 100% of their pay during their pension and if an employer wants to fire a person with tenure, they have to go through a whole disciplinary or evaluation procedure.

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While this means current contractual employees within the Flemish Government will see their chances of a permanent appointment dwindle, their status and pay will improve substantially, Somers said. Discussions on a number of modalities with the Flemish Government unions are still scheduled to take place.

A press conference will take place on Monday afternoon in which more information about the practicalities will be given, Somers' cabinet confirmed to The Brussels Times.

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