Since the 1st of January, those looking for work have no longer been allowed an “exemption for social and family reasons” if they want to look after their child, Le Soir reported on Thursday. It was relaying information published in De Standaard, which had also appeared in Het Nieuwsblad. When one of their children, their partner or a family member is seriously ill, a worker can use time-credit, take catered holiday time, or opt for a career pause. Up until last year, a job seeker could also ask for an exemption. They just had to say they were temporarily unavailable if a job came up, but they still got their allowance, although it was lower.
The Dutch branch of the Women’s Council wants this measure, designed to save money, removed. The Employment minister Kris Peeters (Flemish Christian Democrats) says he is convinced that people who would have benefited from the exemption and remain unemployed can combine looking for a job with family responsibilities.