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It’s the economy, stupid!

Thursday, 08 April 2021
This is an opinion article by an external contributor. The views belong to the writer.

A government should always keep the right balance between freedom, healthcare and economy. In Belgium there has been an imbalance since the day one of our health ministers admitted that Corona was more than just a flu.

While all health-related governmental bodies are working overtime, the others seem to feel sidelined. And one thing many politicians cannot stand, is not to be in the spotlight.

Last week our federal minister of work (name: Dermagne) came up with another initiative to help battle the corona crisis. From the 1 of April all Belgian companies are obliged to register on a day-to-day basis which employees are teleworking and which ones are working in the office. A registration tool has been created, instructions are sent to all employers, money well spent because companies should keep their employees locked up at home. No?

Frustrations in Belgium are reaching their boiling point. Employees (and employers) are struggling mentally. Working from home for 12 (!) months does that to you. The line between working and living is becoming thinner and thinner. Stress levels are rising. We are all doing everything to damn this virus but now and then we need to be in the office, if only to feel we are still part of a team, if only to be remembered that we are not alone in this world.

Our Prime Minister (and especially his father) is so proud of all the SMEs being the backbone of our Belgian economy. Well, let me speak for all of these companies: you are not doing us a favour with this non-legislation.

Being the owner of a small company, it’s challenging to run a business in COVID times. Possible but not easy. Adding administrative complexity, like this teleworking registration, frustrates employers because, after a difficult year 2020, everyone is focused on re-building their company and creating economic value.

So please, leave these useless measures behind.

A politician should maybe try to do nothing, rather than to create legislation that doesn’t serve the people. We don’t have the time to listen to nonsensical ideas.

Find ways to speed up the vaccination process, give out rapid testings to companies so that employees can be tested in the morning when they come into the office, … find ways that bring things back to normal instead of investing money in controlling and monitoring your population.