Factsheet for case BE-2020-14/844 – Updated – measures in Belgium
|Country||Belgium , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 01 April 2020 – 30 June 2020|
|Type||Legislations or other statutory regulations|
Income protection beyond short-time work
– Income support for unemployed
|Author||Dries Van Herreweghe (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) and Eurofound|
|Case created||13 May 2020 (updated 29 October 2020)|
Generally the replacement rate of unemployment benefits decreases over time for the unemployed. The reasoning behind this is to provide a financial incentive for the unemployed to find a job faster. Because of the crisis unemployed do not have the possibility to look and apply for jobs. If their unemployment benefit would be reduced, this would punish them for reasons they do not have any control over. It is against this background, that this measure was taken by the government and made binding through royal decree.
The replacement rate and hence unemployment benefit gradually decreases with time according to the duration of unemployment and the career of the wage earner. This is called the degressivity of unemployment benefits. The measure suspends this degressive element of unemployment benefits for all unemployed in Belgium.
More specifically, the phase or sub-phase of the compensation period in which the person concerned finds himself on 1 April 2020 will be extended by three months.
This also applies to persons applying for benefits during the months April to June 2020. The phase in which the unemployed person starts will be extended by the period of that phase during the months of April to June 2020.
The exact number is not yet known but the amount of (temporary) unemployed increased drastically because of the Corona crisis. For March alone it is estimated that approximately 900,000 people will have made use of the temporary unemployment scheme. In addition to that there are also the people that were unemployed before the crisis.
||Does not apply to businesses||Does not apply to citizens|
Social partners' role in designing the measure and form of involvement:
|Trade unions||Employers' organisations|
|Form||Not applicable||Not applicable|
Social partners' role in the implementation, monitoring and assessment phase:
The trade unions are strong proponents of the measure as it is very difficult to find (new) work in these times and unemployed should not be the victim of this externality.
Again, the extent of their involvement is unclear. But is to be expected that they were at least informed of the measure, especially given the fact that the trade unions play an important role in the distribution of the unemployment benefits.
Eurofound (2020), Suspension of the degressivity of unemployment benefits during the crisis, case BE-2020-14/844 (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.