European Foundation
for the Improvement of
Living and Working Conditions

The tripartite EU agency providing knowledge to assist
in the development of better social, employment and
work-related policies

COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch

Database of national-level responses

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

Factsheet for case BE-2020-11/853 Updated – measures in Belgium

Regional measures to help businesses stay afloat

Regionale maatregelen om ondernemingen te doen overleven

Country Belgium , applies regionally
Time period Open ended, started on 13 March 2020
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Supporting businesses to stay afloat
– Access to finance
Author Dries Van Herreweghe (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) and Eurofound
Case created 14 May 2020 (updated 08 September 2020)

Background information

Across the country there has been an important focus on keeping businesses afloat and try to support them during the months of economic inactivity or reduced activity. These vary from financial compensations, additional subsidies to trainings that are provided in order for businesses to adapt to the changing situations. Aside from the federal measures, the different regions also have their own support measures and regulations to aid companies and sectors that need it.

Content of measure

Wallonia:

  1. Walloon shopkeepers have the possibility of free online training on how to use social networks and e-commerce in order to maintain economic activity in these times of lockdown, through the e-Learning platform: "Digital Commerce".

  2. Exceptional aid of €75 million granted to the health and social sectors. Hospitals, rest homes, night shelters, reception centres for the disabled, social relays, etc. will benefit from this financial aid. Funding will continue to be available for sectors that have come to a standstill. This exceptional aid will be used to finance, among other things, a flat-rate allowance of €5,000 to be granted to social and health structures facing a loss of income due to the Coronavirus: family support services, mental health services, addiction care and assistance services, health promotion services, day care centres for the elderly or disabled, etc.

Brussels:

  1. Accelerated (and early) processing, commitment and payment of economic expansion direct aid (subsidies) in the following sectors: hospitality, tourism, events and culture.

  2. Strengthening support mechanisms for businesses in difficulty by increasing the funding of the Centre for Companies in Difficulty (CED).

Flanders:

  1. Companies that are faced with a serious decrease in turnover in August and September 2020 as a result of operating restrictions. In order to support these companies financially, the Flemish protection mechanism is being set up. The premium amounts to 7.5% of the turnover during the reference period (i.e. August-September of last year for most companies) but is limited to a maximum amount of €15,000. The subsidy is halved for self-employed workers in secondary employment who have a professional income in 2019 of between €6,996.89 and €13,993.78 and are not employed as a salaried worker of 80% or more.

Updates

The following updates to this measure have been made after it came into effect.

17 August 2020

Implementation of the Flemish protection mechanism for businesses.

Use of measure

For the exceptional support measure around 1,200 structures will be supported within the Walloon region.

Target groups

Workers Businesses Citizens
Does not apply to workers Sector specific set of companies
Does not apply to citizens

Actors and funding

Actors Funding
Local / regional government
Regional funds

Social partners

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

Trade unions Employers' organisations
Role No involvement No involvement
Form Not applicable Not applicable

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

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown

Involvement

The involvement of the social partners is not clear.

Views and reactions

The extent of their involvement is unclear.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      G - Wholesale And Retail Trade; Repair Of Motor Vehicles And Motorcycles G45 Wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles
      G46 Wholesale trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles
      G47 Retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles
      Q - Human Health And Social Work Activities Q86 Human health activities
      Q87 Residential care activities
      Q88 Social work activities without accommodation

This case is not occupation-specific.

Sources

  • 16 March 2020: Coronavirus: the Brussels government on the side of businesses (www.beci.be)
  • 20 April 2020: Support measures for the care sector, social sector and employment (www.attentia.be)

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Regional measures to help businesses stay afloat, case BE-2020-11/853 (measures in Belgium), COVID-19 EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, http://eurofound.link/covid19eupolicywatch

Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process. All information is preliminary and subject to change.