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.