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-2020-27/1205 – measures in Belgium
|Country||Belgium , applies nationwide|
|Time period||Temporary, 01 July 2020 – 31 December 2022|
|Type||Legislations or other statutory regulations|
Employment protection and retention
– Working time and working time flexibility
|Author||Dries Van Herreweghe (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven) and Eurofound|
|Measure added||01 October 2020 (updated 27 May 2021)|
The measure is intended for businesses that are officially recognised as being in difficulty or restructuring. This official recognition has some specific support measures in place to try and keep businesses afloat, this new measure being one of them. It allows employers to reduce a part of their labour costs by reducing the amount of working hours performed within the company.
A company can reduce working hours collectively and therefore respond to reduced production and/or turnover due to the COVID-19 crisis. The workers concerned receive a converted salary supplemented by a lump-sum wage compensation, which covers all or part of the wage loss and is financed by a temporary reduction in the employer's social security contribution.
The measure is reserved for companies that are formally recognised as being in difficulty or undergoing restructuring with an approval period starting between 1 March 2020 and 31 December 2020. Companies are able to make use of the measure for a period of up to 2 years after application. However only if they applied in time and remain 'in difficulty' for the entire duration of the measure.
This measure allows companies in difficulty or restructuring to reduce their wage costs as long as they suffer from reduced activity. The measure is very similar to one that was implemented during the 2009-2011 crisis.
No data available on uptake of the measure.
Employees in standard employment
||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:
It is unclear to what extent the social partners were involved in the design of the matter, as there is no public documentation about it available. The measure was regulated via royal decree and not via a collective agreement signed by the social partners.
No public statements available from either of the social partners about the measure.
Eurofound (2020), Collective working time reduction for companies in difficulties, measure BE-2020-27/1205 (measures in Belgium), EU PolicyWatch, Dublin, https://static.eurofound.europa.eu/covid19db/cases/BE-2020-27_1205.html
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Disclaimer: This information has not been subject to the full Eurofound evaluation, editorial and publication process.