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Belgium Introducing Four-Day Work Week

Credit: Unsplash

This morning, Belgium’s government unveiled significant labor reforms aimed at fostering sustainability in businesses and alleviating stress among Belgian workers. The main highlights of the reforms include reducing the national workweek from five days to four and granting employees the right to decline work-related communications outside of regular working hours.

“We have faced two challenging years. With this agreement, we are paving the way for a more innovative, sustainable, and digital economy. The objective is to empower both individuals and businesses,” stated Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo during a press briefing.

However, the transition to a four-day work week will not be automatic for all. Instead, employees must formally request a four-day schedule and provide a rationale for the change. If approved, individuals opting for the shortened workweek will need to extend their hours on the remaining four days. This arrangement will last for six months, after which employees can choose to continue with the four-day week or revert to a five-day schedule. No consequences will ensue based on their decision.

Additionally, the right to disconnect from after-hours work communications, known as the “right to disconnect,” will be granted to all Belgian employees across both public and private sectors. Workers will be entitled to disregard any messages from supervisors or managers once their official work hours have ended for the day.

“The blurring line between work and personal life poses risks to the well-being of employees. These constant demands can negatively impact the physical and mental health of workers,” highlighted Belgian Labor Minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne.

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