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Labour inspectors to step up checks on homeworking

Belgian labour inspectors intend to increase checks on compliance with the instruction that everybody who can work from home, should do so. “There are indications, like road congestion and mobile phone data on mobility, which show that fewer people are working from home” says Geert De Poorter of the federal employment ministry.

Since 19 October homeworking is mandatory.  Employees on the workshop floor require a Covid certificate.  Employers have to be able to motivate why a certificate has been issued.

The government has asked inspectors to step up checks.  “We’re checking which strategies businesses employ to ensure people who can work from home do so.  We won’t be visiting people at home.  That’s not permitted.  We will intervene when complaints are filed and will carry out random checks to see which jobs can be done from home” says Geert De Poorter.

A million of the country’s 3.5 million employees are currently working from home.  Flemish economy minister Hilde Crevits (Christian democrat) believes more people should be able to do so. 

“Many employers believe their employees can’t work from home while it’s perfectly feasible” says Ms Crevits, who wants businesspeople to seek advice on how homeworking can be introduced at their firm.

Since 13 March the labour inspection has checked 20,000 businesses employing over 130,000 employees.

“At half of all businesses infringements are encountered” says Geert De Poorter. “Often small violations like a lack of signs or instructions, but sometimes we have to close businesses to allow them to put their house in order.”

“Keeping distance is often a challenge.  When that’s not possible other measures like masking are required”.

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