"'White cash registers' are paying off with more jobs"

The number of long-term jobs in the hospitality industry saw a 2.2 percent rise on the year in the first 3 months of 2016. The number of so-called flexi-jobs is also on the up, while more people are starting a business. The government claims that this is thanks to the introduction of the so-called 'white cash registers' in combination with the creation of jobs on special terms to soften the pain for the businesses concerned.

"We suspect that a lot of black cash and illegal jobs have been turned into white cash and legal jobs", explains the State Secretary for the Battle against Fraud Philippe De Backer (Flemish liberal). In order to battle black cash in the sector, the white cash register was introduced, obliging employers to report every penny that's coming in to the taxman.

In order to meet the hospitality industry half-way, the government introduced flexi-jobs. These allow people with a regular job and working at least 80 percent during the week to earn some extra money in the hospitality sector, enjoying a significant reduction of labour and other taxes and of red tape. This was meant as an incentive to stop people from taking on those jobs without the taxman knowing.

According to official figures, the first 3 months of the year saw 126,004 people working in the hospitality industry, compared to 123,334 last year and only 120,902 the year before. Critics say it's hard to prove whether these new jobs are actually the result of the latest anti-fraud measures, and whether moonlighting has actually gone down significantly.