This means that they work an average of 17 minutes and 40 seconds a day for free, which is almost 1.5 hours a week.
The reason given by 74% of those not taking their full lunchbreak entitlement is that they have too much work. 15% of those not taking their full lunchbreak say they do so because they can go home earlier. 15% also said that they don’t think their break is important so they either don’t bother taking it or only take it in part.
71% of those either not taking a meal break or only taking it in part eat their lunch at their desk while they are working.
The figures reveal differences between Francophone and Dutch-speaking employees. Francophones are put under more pressure to not take a lunchbreak than Flemings. 28% of Francophone respondents said that they felt under pressure to carry on working through lunch, while just 13% of the Flemings questioned said the same.
Stepstone calculated that over a career of 45 years an average Belgian an average Belgian loses out on more than 44,000 euro gross income as a result of failing to take 17 minutes and 40 seconds of their lunchbreak every working day.