Work inspectors warn of understaffing to check mandatory shift to telework
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Work inspectors warn of understaffing to check mandatory shift to telework

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Federal work officials have warned that there are not enough inspectors to carry out checks on whether companies are respecting the mandatory shift to teleworking.

“In recent months, inspections showed that more than six out of ten companies are not in compliance,” Gaby Colenbunders, an MP with the labour PDVA party said.

In a letter to the latter, Paul Tousseyn of the Federal Public Service for Work (FPS Employment) wrote that the 136 inspectors they had were not enough to ensure all companies in the country complied with the regulation.

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Tousseny, head of the Wellbeing at Work section of the FPS Employment, called from support from the federal employment (ONEM/RVA), the social security (ONSS) offices and other regulators.

“If external prevention services were also to report violations, we could immediately start an investigation and take appropriate measures,” Tousseyn wrote.

He also backed Colenbunders’ statements saying that through recent inspections it had been established that “coronavirus measures were not being observed everywhere,” adding that the violations “gave the virus free rein again.”

The labour party has collected several testimonials from workers in the automobile and construction sectors who say their employers require them to keep working even if they should be in self-isolation, De Standaard reports.

In an attachment to his letter, Tousseyn also listed fourteen instances of serious offences to the regulations.

Telework became mandatory on Monday following the latest tightening of the coronavirus measures by the federal government on Friday. Previously, it had only been highly recommended.

The rule applies to all members of personnel except those for whom it is “impossible due to the nature of their function, services or activities or on the [impact] on the continuity of the company’s work.”

On Monday, The FPS Employment also issued a revised version of its guide for teleworking.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times