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EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level policy measures

Eurofound's EU PolicyWatch collates information on the responses of government and social partners to the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, as well as gathering examples of company practices aimed at mitigating the social and economic impacts.

Factsheet for measure BE-2020-11/1481 – measures in Belgium

University Hospital Antwerp: Change of work organisation and psychological support for staff


Country Belgium , applies regionally

Time period Open ended, started on 13 March 2020
Context COVID-19
Type Company practices
Category Protection of workers, adaptation of workplace
– Well-being of workers
Author Dries Van Herreweghe (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) and Eurofound
Measure added 27 November 2020 (updated 27 January 2021)

Background information

The University of Antwerp received their first COVID-19 patient on 2 March. The fast shift to make the hospital Coronaproof involved significant changes in the way in which work is organised within the entire hospital, not only for the medical staff but for supporting functions and administration as well.

Content of measure

To make the necessary changes and maintain continuous operation throughout the crisis, approximately 55% of all employees within the hospital have moved towards another function. Doctors moved to other departments and nurses from 'regular' departments to intensive care. Support personnel was also utilised to man the triage centres in front of the hospitals that were used for large scale testing. Administrative personnel was however also to a large extent obliged to continue working on site (in contrast to the general lockdown rules that apply to the majority of white collar workers). This to try to keep necessary operations going as fluently as possible.

Another example was the fact that the hospital psychologists were retrained to assist the care personnel instead of their regular clients (that were no longer allowed to enter the hospital). In additional specific stress coaches were appointed in order to deal with stress related issues among staff. Other initiatives were the implementation of fitness rooms for staff use as well as hairdresser services. According to HR managers within the hospital there has been no significant increase in the amount of burn-out cases, this in part due to the attention for mental wellbeing of all employees and the stress of sufficient rest and leave days.

Use of measure

All personnel of the hospital.


  • Health and safety
  • Work organisation

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Employees in standard employment
Does not apply to businesses Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Company / Companies
National funds

Social partners

Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role Unknown Unknown
Form Not applicable Not applicable

Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Company level


The involvement of the social partners was not specified, it is however probable that the trade unions were involved as they are part of the H&S committee.

Views and reactions

Not mentioned.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      Q - Human Health And Social Work Activities Q86 Human health activities

This case is not occupation-specific.



Eurofound (2020), University Hospital Antwerp: Change of work organisation and psychological support for staff, measure BE-2020-11/1481 (measures in Belgium), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin,

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