1.25 million people on temporary unemployment benefit

1.25 million people across Belgium have now had to sign on for temporary unemployment benefit due to the corona crisis. The figure from the federal employment ministry reveals that one in three workers is now on unemployment benefit in the temporary unemployment system.

Many are the Belgian businesses that have shut down temporarily as a result of government measures to combat the crisis or have reduced staff numbers at work.  The system allows employers to take workers off their payroll for a limited period of time without having to sack them. Employees receive benefit from the state employment agency.

There’s been a steep rise in applications to benefit from this system in recent weeks.  At the beginning of March 1,700 employees were receiving temporary benefit.  By mid-March the figure had surged to 31,000.  Two weeks ago the figure reached a million.

Ten percent of workers on his benefit are seeing their wages topped up by their employer.  80% of blue collar workers are getting an extra 5 to 20 euros gross per day from their employer.  Among white collar workers six out of ten employees are receiving a similar top up.

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