4 days a week employment introduced in Belgium


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Employees in Belgium can now choose to work 4 days a week instead of 5, but this does not mean that the weekly working hours will decrease. The regulation, which was drafted by the government in February, came into force on Monday. Belgium was the first country in the European Union to offer the option of 4 days work, and ranks third in the world after Iceland and New Zealand. The four-day study is being tested in different countries and companies.

But in these trials, workers generally continue to receive the same pay despite working less. Anyone who prefers to work 4 days in Belgium must enter 5 working hours.
The implementation in Belgium will be different from most trials, such as in the United States or England.

All employees who work in the public or private sector in a Western European country can choose between working 38 hours a week in 5 or 4 days.

In a way, this means completing the same weekly shift, long or short.

When announcing the new plan in February, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo said he hoped the new practice would make Belgium’s labor market, known for its rigidity, a bit more flexible.

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Emphasizing that they have had two difficult years due to Covid-19, De Croo stated that with this agreement they wanted to shed the first light on the transition to a more innovative, sustainable and digital economy.

The Prime Minister said those who work on short term or temporary contracts are not forgotten, the Prime Minister said these people are too “enhanced legal protectionHe added that those who have permanent jobs can “work flexible hours” if they ask.
Thanks to the new labor reform, the difference in work order between those who work in the private sector and those who work in the public sector will also disappear.

Labor Minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne stated that the requirement to work four days a week must come from the worker, saying: “The employer will have to give very strong reasons to reject the application” he said.

After the request of the employees to reduce the 5-day working week to four days, the normal working week of 38 hours is divided into four instead of five. To alleviate the fatigue caused by the extended working hours, the employee is given an extra day of leave. Employees can also change the start and end times every six months.