The Federal Social Affairs Minister Maggie De Block (Flemish liberal) says that the slowing down in the grow in the number of those on long term sick leave is a result of measures taken by the government to get people back to work more quickly.
Each year the number of those on long-term sick leave in Belgium rises. Currently there are just under 370,000 people of working ages that have been on sick leave for more than a year. However, there number is now growing less quickly than it was.
“It is good that the abnormal growth in the number of long-term sick that was apparent for over 10 years is now levelling out”, Ms De Block told journalists.
The Federal Government’s back to work policy that came into force last year. The measures help people that are still able to work find a job that is suited to any limitations they might have as a result of their illness. These are often part-time jobs.
According to a survey carried out by the Flemish Patients’ Forum, 4 out of 5 people on long term sick leave want to work. Helping them to do so will also eventually save the mutual health insurance providers a lot of money.