Belgium Has Approved A Four-Day Work Week – And Employees Have The Right To Ignore Their Bosses After Work

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Belgium has decided to adopt new labor market reforms announced on Tuesday. According to the reforms, workers in Belgium will soon be able to choose a four-day week of work. The reform package agreed by the country’s multi-party coalition government will also give workers the right to turn off work devices and ignore work-related messages after hours without the fear of retaliation.

According to the Belgian prime minister, Alexander de Croo, “We have experienced two difficult years. With this agreement, we set a beacon for an economy that is more innovative, sustainable, and digital. The aim is to be able to make people and businesses stronger” He has mentioned the same in a press conference announcing the reform package.

Stronger legal protection will also be received by the workers in the gig economy, while full-time employees will be able to work flexible schedules on demand. Belgium’s new labor reforms impact the work-life balance of employees in both the public and private sectors.

The reform package agreed by the country’s federal government will definitely allow the employees to request a four-day week. Accordingly, Belgian Labor minister, Pierre-Yves Dermagne told the Press Conference, “This has to be done at the request of the employee, with the employer giving solid reasons for any refusal.”

Moreover, according to the government’s spokesperson, employees would be able to ask for a four-day workweek for a period of six months. After that, they could opt to continue with the same or return to a five-day week with no negative consequences. He confirmed this to Euronews next. “The period of six months was chosen so that an employee would not be stuck for too long in case of a wrong choice,” they said.

Workers are also given the chance that they can be able to request variable work schedules. The minimum notice period for shifts is also changing, with companies now required to provide schedules at least seven days in advance. “This would benefit those who wish to spend more time with their children,” Dermagne said in a statement.

Moreover, Dermagne also mentioned that all the Belgian workers, including those in the private sector, will receive the same right as was given to the civil servants allowing them to turn off their devices and ignore the messages after hours without reprisals from bosses.

“The boundary between work and private life is becoming increasingly porous. These incessant demands can harm the physical and mental health of the worker,” he said.

In Belgium, platform workers fulfilling three out of eight possible criteria including those whose work performance is monitored, who are unable to refuse jobs, or whose pay is decided by the company, will now be considered employees with rights to sick leave and paid time off.

Social affairs minister, Frank Vandenbroucke said, “If someone wants to work as a self-employed person, they can do so and will have more autonomy.”

More about the same can be accessed from here.

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