Belgium announces a 4-day workweek, employees allowed to ignore bosses after working hours

Belgium announces a 4-day workweek, employees allowed to ignore bosses after working hours

Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo at a past public address. [Image:Courtesy]

Belgium's government has granted its workers the right to a four-day workweek as the government seeks to boost flexibility in the workplace amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Belgians will now be able to work 4 days a week and have a three-day weekend without a loss of salary under economic reforms agreed within the governing coalition on Tuesday.

The overhaul of the country’s labor laws will also give workers the right to ignore their bosses and work emails after working hours.

Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, during a news conference Tuesday, said that the aim of the labour market reforms was to create a more dynamic and productive economy.

“If you compare our country with others, you’ll often see we’re far less dynamic. After two difficult years, the labour market has evolved. With this agreement, we are setting the benchmarks for a good economy,” he said.

Belgium is the latest country to announce its labour overhaul after Iceland’s four-day workweek trial between 2015 and 2019 was announced a success. Now 86% of the country’s workforce is working a shortened workweek.

Spain, Scotland and Japan too have announced plans to try four-day workweeks.

Similarly, Kenyan presidential aspirant Prof. George Wajackoyah promised to adopt a similar 4-day work week, which he claims will help to harmonize family relations, create a 24-hour economy, and allow Muslims enough time to worship on Friday.

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