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Belgium Set to Enforce Reduced Work Week

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Belgium Set to Enforce Reduced Work Week

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This morning saw the unveiling of far-reaching labor adjustments by the Belgian government, geared towards fostering sustainability in businesses and alleviating stress on the Belgian labor force. Key highlights of the reforms include the reduction of the national workweek from five days to four, and the stipulation that employees can decline work-related communications post-work hours.

“These past two years have been challenging. Through this accord, we aim to illuminate a path towards a more innovative, sustainable, and digital economy. The goal is to fortify individuals and businesses,” articulated Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo during a press briefing.

The adoption of a four-day work week, however, will not be uniform. Instead, employees must actively request a transition to a four-day work schedule and present a rationale for their preference. Should an employee opt for the shortened work week, they will need to compensate by working additional hours over the remaining four days. The employee will adhere to the four-day work week for six months before having the opportunity to reaffirm their choice or revert to a five-day work schedule – without facing any repercussions.

Regarding the right to refuse after-hours communications, also known as the right to disconnect, all Belgian workers across public and private sectors will possess the unrestricted freedom to disregard any messages from superiors after the official conclusion of the workday.

“The line between work and personal life is increasingly blurred. The relentless demands can have adverse effects on the physical and mental well-being of employees,” commented Belgian Labor Minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne.

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