The recuperation hours can be used either for extra leave, allowing soldiers to spend more time with their families once they return home or saved up until the end of their careers, allowing them to stop work early ahead of retirement.
The unions that represent Belgium’s military personnel have long called for improved compensation measures for soldiers that carry out missions on the ground and have to spend nights away from home.
These include both soldiers sent on missions abroad and those that carry out patrol duties here in Belgium. The latter spend weeks away from home and sleep in army barracks.
Two hours a day
The soldiers will be granted two compensation hours for each day that they are unable to sleep at home. They will be able to be paid out for the extra hours, use them to get extra leave at the end of their mission or save them up until the end of their career and retire earlier that they would otherwise have been able to do so.
The idea behind the new measures is to make an army career more attractive.
The army union ACMP’s Yves Huwart told VRT News that "Both during their initial training and later once they have started their career there are a lot of people that leave the military. There is a necessity to make the profession more attractive".
"This is a step in the right direction. After a long absence people will be able to spend time with their family and with their children”.
The agreement still requires ratification by the Defence Minister, but it likely to come into effect before the end of the year.
Currently soldiers that are posted on missions abroad receive an extra payment. However, the new measures are an improvement on this.