Belgium set to introduce 4-day work week

In the past, Iceland, Spain, Scotland and Japan have tried a four-day work week model. The UAE became the first country to implement it last year

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The Belgium government has approved the draft bill for implementing a four-day work week in the country. Employees working in the government and private sector will get the right to choose a four-day work week. They will have the option to spread their 40-hour week over four days instead of five. In this arrangement, the idea is to increase the number of hours per day to 9.5 hours instead of eight so that the employees can spend one extra day with their families.

The employees can opt for a four-day a week work arrangement for upto six months, and the employers will have to have a solid reason to refuse. Apart from this, employees will also have the right to refuse any work calls or reply to any work emails post working hours without fearing any reppucussions from their employers.

Belgium Prime Minister Alexander De Croo stated in a press conference that these reforms in the labour laws are the result of COVID-19, which has compelled the government to focus on providing more flexibility to workers and employees.

The four-day week law is yet to be implemented. The bill draft will be first reviewed by the unions after which, the council of state will advise the government before parliament voting.

In 2021, Scotland launched a trial four-day work week and countries such as, Iceland, Spain and Japan also tested out this model. The UAE became the first to implement it in December 2021.

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