Belgium makes teleworking ‘where possible’ mandatory again

From Monday 19 October, Belgium will make teleworking where possible mandatory again, instead of strongly recommended, as part of the new measures to combat the rising coronavirus figures.

“Teleworking will become the rule, for functions where that is possible,” announced Prime Minister Alexander De Croo during a press conference on Friday evening. This is one step up from the previous announcement, when teleworking was still “highly recommended.”

“For jobs where teleworking is not possible, every effort must be made to ensure that those people who have to go work at their workplace can do so in the safest possible way,” he added.

However, the companies’ continuity of service must not be endangered, meaning that the employer should also be able to organise moments of return, according to De Croo.

“It is normal that it is sometimes difficult to continue to work as usual when people do not come to the company for four weeks at a time, so we give employers this flexibility,” he said.

“But the message to all employers is very clear: telework,” De Croo added. “Over the past few months, I think we have discovered that it is possible to telework for certain jobs we first thought it impossible.”

Businesses must be able to continue to run, stressed Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke, adding that everything must be done to ensure that, including occasional return moments, if necessary.

“Additionally, the measures to make teleworking the rule is not because it is unsafe in factories or offices, but to have less traffic,” Vandenbroucke said, referring to people coming and going, using public transport, for example.

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Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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