The number of pensioners working under the Belgian flexi-job system went from 1,830 in the third quarter of 2018 to 8,857 over the same period this year, minister Philippe De Backer, announced on Wednesday.
The flexi-job scheme was launched in 2015 in the horeca sector.
Such jobs allow workers already employed at least 4/5th of the time to take on further work on favourable terms.
At the beginning of 2018, the statute was extended to several other small commercial sectors, as well as to pensioners who are unrestricted work-wise.
For the latter, the formula has been a success and their numbers have grown rapidly to reach 8,857 pensioners taking advantage of the extended scheme in the third quarter of 2019.
They numbered less than half that figure (4,390) in the first quarter of this year.
“These flexi-jobs for pensioners are meeting their objective: responding to spikes in demand in the horeca and commercial sectors without increasing the tax burden on workers,” De Backer revealed.
“In the past, pensioners kept less than a third of the income they earned from supplementary work due to progressive tax rates. They were often disillusioned and many ceased working officially. They can now go on working quite legally, and the flexi-worker, his/her employer and the authorities are all equally content,” the minister explained.
De Backer is also putting attention in how the system encourages social contact, as well as facilitating and supporting pensioners who wish to remain in employment.
In total, nearly 67,000 persons resorted to a flexi-job in the third quarter of this year, essentially in Flanders.
The horeca sector provides 70% of such work. The majority of the workers concerned are aged between 25 and 39. More than 262 million euro have already been paid in flexi-job wages.
Open Vld, Flanders liberal party, wants to extend the system to the whole of the private sector.
Its detractors denounce the fact that flexi-jobs can deprive vulnerable job seekers of work and result in worse conditions in terms of working arrangements and wages.