Share article:
Share article:

Coronavirus: Belgium will not reduce unemployment benefits

© Belga

Belgium will move to ensure that unemployed people do not see a reduction in their benefits amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Federal Work Minister Nathalie Muylle told lawmakers on Wednesday that the degressive principle applied to unemployment benefits would be suspended for a period of three months from 1 April.

The measure was pushed for by members of the green party coalition Ecolo-Groen, citing lower opportunities for recruitment as the pandemic brought Belgium’s workforces and its economy to a standstill.

Related News:


“Now that chances of recruitment are very low, it is not acceptable to further decrease the income of people who cannot find work, this means you push people directly into poverty,” the party wrote in an online statement.

Muylle said that those active in the artistic, amusement or events sectors, which has been hit hard by social-distancing guidelines, could also apply to prevent their payments from being cut back.

Organisers of events that have not taken place yet, such as summer festivals, are also allowed to put their employees on temporary unemployment provided contracts were signed “before the start of the pandemic.”

Unemployment benefits in Belgium start at €1,790 and can drop to €572 per month, depending on a range of criteria including a recipient’s family situation and work history, according to the latest figures from March.

The payments are subject to a reduction which authorities begin to apply from the fourth month of unemployment, and which can see the payments of some recipients cut by up to 50% of the starting amount.

Muylle said that around 900,000 people were expected to receive temporary unemployment benefits for March as a result of the coronavirus crisis, for an estimated additional expenditure of €960.8 million, De Standaard reports.

The federal minister said that the measure would, which will be made official through a royal decree, would be evaluated after the three months if an extension is needed.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Experts call for more widespread use of masks as figures rise
As coronavirus figures continue to rise, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo has suggested that people return to wearing masks when indoors with ...
Belgium wants to recover €420 million in wrongfully paid out coronavirus aid
The Belgian State intends to recover €420 million of unduly paid Covid-19 aid, La Libre Belgique reported on Thursday. The electronic Council of ...
Why the fight for transgender rights is polarising Europe 
Year after year, Samuel De Schepper would ask Santa Claus to bring him a penis for Christmas. Born female and attending an all girl’s Catholic ...
New offshore wind farm officially opened
Despite being operational since the end of 2020, the SeaMade offshore wind farm was officially inaugurated on Wednesday by Prime Minister Alexander ...
Contact tracers have no time for calls, only texts, amid rising cases
Contract tracers will no longer make phone calls to the high-risk contacts of people who test positive for the coronavirus beginning from Wednesday, ...
Belgium holds on to top spot in FIFA rankings despite recent losses
Once again, Belgium's Red Devils have held onto their position at the top of the world football rankings, according to an update released by the ...
Proximus pushes for high-speed internet in Brussels and Wallonia
Fifteen municipalities in Wallonia should soon have access to high-speed internet through the rollout of fibre optics in the region, telecoms giant ...
World’s largest chocolate warehouse opens in Flanders
On Thursday, Barry Callebaut – the largest global chocolate processor and manufacturer – opened the world's largest chocolate warehouse in Lokeren, ...
Belgium in Brief: Equal Opportunity To Dance
There's a phrase where I'm from, more often said in jest nowadays, but it came to my mind this morning: "Ye dancin'?" (Are you dancing?), one ...
Farmer discovers cocaine in banana boxes bought in Brussels
A Flemish farmer who purchased boxes of bananas at the market in Brussels on Tuesday came home to discover large amounts of cocaine packed among the ...
Changes to speed cameras increase likelihood of a ticket
Changes to the way speed cameras work in Flanders and Wallonia will increase the likelihood of receiving a ticket when cars pass them above the ...
Why Belgium is regulating sex work
After decades of confusing rules and hypocritical policy, Belgium is finally regulating sex work by removing prostitution from the criminal law. ...