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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-2020-18/852 Updated – measures in Belgium

Additional support for the service voucher sector

Bijkomende steun voor de dienstencheque sector

Country Belgium , applies regionally

    • – BE1 RÉGION DE BRUXELLES-CAPITALE/BRUSSELS HOOFDSTEDELIJK GEWEST
      – BE2 VLAAMS GEWEST
      – BE3 RÉGION WALLONNE
Time period Temporary, 01 May 2020 – 31 May 2020
Type Legislations or other statutory regulations
Category Employment protection and retention
– Income support for people in employment (e.g. short-time work)
Author Dries Van Herreweghe (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) and Eurofound
Case created 14 May 2020 (updated 17 July 2020)

Background information

Domestic personnel of private households can be employed and payed via so called service vouchers (dienstencheque), a form of payment that is partially subsidized by the government. The service voucher sector and its employees are particularly vulnerable to the consequences of the Corona crisis. The nature of their jobs makes it difficult to maintain distance from their clients (who are probably at home due to the quasi lockdown). The remuneration in the sector is fairly low in general. If employees have to make use of temporary unemployment, which is a percentage of their wage, this could lead to financial problems for the employees.

Content of measure

The Walloon government has planned to increase the hourly allowance from 1 to 31 May in certain cases. For hours without services provided: all companies can claim an aid of €18 per hour per worker not benefiting from temporary unemployment (all requests will be processed on the basis of €18 instead of €14).

For hours with services provided: only companies with a maximum of 250 workers under a service voucher contract (declared to Sodexo during the first quarter of 2020) will be able to benefit from the reimbursement amounting up to €27 instead of €23.86 . This reimbursement value applies for services which took place in the month of May.

Brussels has also implemented some additional support measures specifically for the service voucher sector.

The automatic granting of flat-rate aid in the form of a lump sum of €4,000 to recognised service voucher companies.

On condition that they submit an application: the possibility for service voucher companies to financially support their employees who were placed in temporary unemployment as a result of Covid-19 measures. In particular, an additional €2.50 gross per declared hour of temporary unemployment

Temporary increase of the amount of the regional intervention by €2 per service voucher offered at the issuing company for reimbursement.

Flanders: From 16 March to 19 April, the regional contribution will be increased by €8.64. This means €23 instead of €14.36 per voucher. This increase in payment for the service voucher companies has to make up for the additional costs they have to provide protective materials for their personnel.

Updates

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

07 June 2020

The Government of the Brussels-Capital Region is extending two measures intended to help approved service voucher companies in Brussels and their staff during the coronavirus crisis. The measures provide an increased regional intervention for approved service voucher companies as well as an hourly additional temporary unemployment allowance for their staff. The two aid measures were applicable for the period from 18 March to 30 April, 2020. But the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region extends this period until June 30, 2020 inclusive. Service voucher companies also have a longer period to submit their request for assistance.

Use of measure

For Wallonia the total amount is currently unknown, as the uptake is up the individual company and workers.

In Brussels three of the four measures are applied automatically by data is currently unavailable about the uptake. Uptake on the measure that requires application is unknown as well.

In Flanders the measure applies to all service voucher companies.

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 Informed Informed
Form Not applicable Not applicable

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

  • Unknown
  • Main level of involvement: Unknown

Involvement

Their degree of involvement is not clear, however it is to be expected that they were at least informed. As it is within their area of competence and expertise.

Views and reactions

Their degree of involvement is not clear, however it is to be expected that they were at least informed. As it is within their area of competence and expertise.

Sectors and occupations

    • Economic area Sector (NACE level 2)
      T - Activities Of Households As Employers; Undifferentiated Goods- And Services-Producing Activities Of Households For Own Use T97 Activities of households as employers of domestic personnel

This case is not occupation-specific.

Sources

Citation

Eurofound (2020), Additional support for the service voucher sector, case BE-2020-18/852 (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.