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Service cheque ban for those flouting corona rules

The Flemish Employment Minister Hilde Crevits (Christian democrat) has said that she intends to take action against people that fail to respect the measures designed to curb the spread of coronavirus while a cleaner is working in their home. Ms Crevits intends to sanction those that breach the measures by suspending their right to be able to purchase and use so-called “Service Cheques”. The Service Cheque system offers an affordable way for Flemings (and people elsewhere in Belgium) to enlist the services of, for example, a cleaner. 

The cheques pay for 1 hours’ work. Each household in Flanders can purchase up to 500 service cheques per calendar year. The first 400 cost 9 euro each, Cheque 401 to 500 costs 10 euro. The first 170 service cheques are tax deductible to the tune of 1.8 euro/cheque in Flanders.  In Brussels, 1.35 euro per cheque is deducted from your tax bill on the first 163 cheques bought each calendar year.

The system makes employing someone to carry out domestic cleaning duties affordable to people on average incomes and provides work for many thousands of people that would otherwise be unemployed of working in the black economy.

In order to ensure that the women and men that go and clean in people’s homes are protected as much as possible from coronavirus the rules stipulate that face coverings must be worn at all times while the cleaner is present. Now Mr Crevits intends ban those flouting the rule from buying or using service cheques for up to 1 year.

Cleaners and other service cheque workers need to be able to work in safety, Ms Crevits told VRT News. She added that all too often the measures are flouted.

First offenders can expect to be deprived of services cheques for a year with a ban of up to 5 years for repeat offenders. The measure has already received the backing of the Flemish Government and will now be put before the Flemish Parliament.

Ms Crevits also intends to make funding available so that companies that employ people through the service cheque system will be able to rent locations where they can offer staff training (Dutch lessons, first aid,..) in a corona-safe environment. Funding will also be provided for the purchase of face coverings and disinfectants.



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