Belgium Approves Four Day Work Week

Four day work week
Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Following a number of labor market reforms announced on Tuesday, Belgian workers will soon have the option of working a four-day week.

Workers would be able to turn off work gadgets and ignore work-related messages after hours without fear of retaliation under the reform package adopted by the country’s multi-party coalition administration.

“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.”

Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister, Belgium

Under the new guidelines, gig economy workers will have more legal protections, while full-time employees will be permitted to work flexible schedules on demand.

However, enacting the measures could take months because the draft legislation must go through many readings by federal MPs before becoming law.

The work-life balance of employees in both the public and private sectors is impacted by a substantial percentage of Belgium’s new labor reforms.

Employees will be able to seek a four-day week under the draft reform package agreed upon by the country’s federal government.

“This has to be done at the request of the employee, with the employer giving solid reasons for any refusal.”

Pierre-Yves Dermagne, Labor Minister, Belgium

Employees in Belgium would be allowed to reduce the present five-day workweek to four days under the Belgian system. In practise, this entails sticking to a 38-hour work week, with an extra day off to make up for longer work days.

Workers will also have the option of requesting a flexible work schedule. Companies must now provide schedules at least seven days in advance, changing the minimum notice period for shifts.

According to Dermagne, this would benefit those who wish to spend more time with their children. He said in a statement while also adding that the proposals would be especially helpful for divorced or separated parents who share custody of their children.

Last year, Kaduna, Nigeria too adopted a four day work week. Many other companies are also leaning towards a shorter work week to help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance.

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