As many 20% of those temporarily unemployed could permanently lose their jobs

According to a survey carried out by EMRG, an economic study group lead by the National Bank of Belgium, one fifth of those currently claiming temporary unemployment benefit could end up losing their jobs permanently if the current COVID-19 crisis continues beyond June. This would add another 180,000 people to the ranks of Belgium’s unemployed. 

Companies in the hospitality industry, entertainment and culture have been particularly badly hit by the measures designed to curb the spread of COVID-19. More than in other areas of the economy companies in these sectors are under threat of bankruptcy with the loss of job that would go with it.

In the light of the survey’s findings the Belgian Employers’ Federation VBO is asking the government to take action. VBO is calling for the period during which those that have been laid-off are entitled to temporary unemployment benefit to be extended.

VBO’s Chairman Pieter Timmermans told VRT News that “This is a wake-up call we need to take extra measures in order to prevent this. We need to strengthen companies’ solvency and this means that due to force majeure we will have to prolong the duration of temporary unemployment”.  

"Maybe this should be limited to certain industries. Where the start-up has already begun we can say that things are moving a little in the right direction. However, in hospitality, events, tourism, aviation and elsewhere we are going to require support measures for longer”, Mr Timmermans said.