The Federal Social Affairs Minister Maggie De Block (Flemish liberal, photo below) told the press agency Belga that "Never before were so many Belgians in work”. For the first time in 20 year the percentage of 20 to 64 year-olds in work has reached 70%.
Meanwhile, there are a record number of job vacancies with employers in some branch of the economy finding it difficult to find suitably qualified staff. Ms De Block expects the employment to population ratio to rise still further. This could be facilitated by the full role out of the so-called “work deal”.
One of the measures in the deal provides for job-seekers to be to use all (or some) of their severance pay to pay for retraining. Any severance pay used in this way would be exempt from tax and social security contributions.