Housekeeping in Flanders to cost more next year

Housekeeping in Flanders to cost more next year
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Cleaning companies in Flanders are raising the rates for housekeeping services to combat increasingly slim profit margins.

“People have to understand that the service cheques serve to pay the wages of our domestic workers,” Renate Nelis of Het Poetsbureau told De Standaard.

“But there are also many direct and indirect costs associated with our operations. These costs have been rising steadily in recent years while the service cheques have remained stable all this time.”

Het Poetsbureau, which represents around 9,000 household cleaners throughout Flanders, is adding a €5 monthly service charge for administrative costs beginning in January to help make up for this. Trixxo will add one of €8 per month.

“We have no choice, because of the margin erosion,” said Jeroen Poesen, CEO of Trixxo Group. “Our margins have become smaller and smaller due to rising costs, which are not compensated by the service cheque. It is a matter of survival. I dare to put money on it: the companies that do not generate additional income will go out of business soon.”

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Nelis of Het Poetsbureau said that the increase had been “postponed as long as possible. But rising wage costs and no government support forces us to follow the others.”

Service cheque system

Residents of Belgium who employ housekeepers often do it through service cheques that are subsidised by the government in order to ensure a living wage and fair working conditions for cleaning staff.

Flemish Minister of Employment Hilde Crevits (CD&V) announced that these subsidies will increase by €0.13 per service cheque. This constitutes an investment of €16 million intended to ease the financial burden that operating companies are struggling with. The indexation will also be adjusted.

“The service cheque sector is not having an easy time of it,” said Minister Crevits.

“Many companies have limited margins. I am working with the sector on a framework to prevent the costs from skyrocketing. In addition, I expect the sector itself to come to a social agreement as soon as possible for the domestic workers of thousands of families in Flanders.”

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