For various reasons, a quarter of servicemen did not undergo yearly, military physical tests – obligatory on paper – and run the risk of eventually being laid off by the Defence Department, figures provided by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and relayed on Tuesday by a military union indicated.
The situation could be said to be “problematic” for 3,907 military personnel (out of 25,853 or 17.56% of the personnel concerned) who have not undergone these PhEF (“Physical Evaluation Fitness”) tests or have not passed them, the permanent delegate of the president of the free public services trade union (SLFP), Dimitry Modaert, told the Belga news agency.
To this percentage may be added the 1,698 service personnel (7.63% of the total) with medical exemption from these tests and for whom no guarantee of continued employment exists, according to the SLFP.
The PhEF tests that replaced the TMAP (physical fitness and health test) aim to assess basic physical capabilities, by taking into account the age and sex of the candidate. They comprise a 2,400 m foot race and anaerobic testing as well as an assessment of core stability. The over-50s are exempt.
However, successive failures or repeated non-presentation can lead to expulsion under the law governing the status of service personnel that came into force on January 1 2014 (G1 in jargon).
The law effectively introduces a triple system of statutory ability: professional, medical and physical – along with the obligation to pass the PhEF. It also envisages temporary measures for those over 45 or servicemen or women with more than 25 years of service to their name.
According to Modaert, the figures provided by the Joint Chiefs of Staff also reveal an increase in the number of military personnel who have to go through with the tests compulsorily because of a lowering of the average age and therefore fewer exemptions due to reaching the age of 50.