The Flemish chamber of commerce Voka has called on the government to come forward in the next 24 hours with concrete plans for the resumption of normal working in certain sectors of the economy, in particular regarding child care.
According to the organisation, employees are more concerned about how their children will be looked after once they return to work, rather than being worried about the health and safety changes in the workplace.
When the rules are relaxed on May 4, many people will return to work who have until now been either in temporary unemployment or have been working from home. During that time, child care has not been a logistical problem.
However on a return to work, even one that is partial and combined with teleworking, arrangements will have to be made to have children looked after.
The problem is particularly acute for single mothers and couples who work different hours, such as shift workers. Many parents of small babies have no crèche, or have a crèche available only part-time. And where grandparents were previously available to fill in the gap, that is now discouraged.
“Last Friday, the National Security Council offered prospects for our companies. These decisions now urgently need to be set out in a royal decree, but we’re still waiting. We can’t wait any longer, and every further delay is irresponsible. Many entrepreneurs are tired of waiting and expect policymakers to act quickly to implement the restart of our companies,” said Hans Maertens, managing director of Voka.
As far as health and safety at work is concerned, Voka reports that more than eight out of ten companies polled said they have taken steps to ensure the possibility of social distancing in the workplace. A further one in ten cannot guarantee adequate distancing, but has made preparations to provide protective equipment.