OVERVIEW. New on April 1: minimum wage rises above 2,000 euros gross, new priority rules in childcare | Domestic

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Minimum wage rises above 2,000 euros gross

On April 1, the minimum wage in our country will increase, exceeding 2,000 euros gross for the first time. According to the Christian trade union ACV, this is how we see it 80,000 employees their increase wages.

The increase was already agreed during the interprofessional negotiations for the period 2021-2022. A first increase took place on April 1, 2022, by 76.28 euros. A second increase is planned for April 1 this year. The minimum wage will be increased that day by 35.7 euros gross per month. “The new minimum wage will then be 2,029.88 euros per month”, explains the Christian trade union ACV.

Net employees have a little more left over: 50 euros. Also the tax work bonus is indeed being raised. On April 1, 2026 becomes the minimum wage raised againagain with 35.7 euros.

New priority rules in childcare

New priority rules will come into effect in subsidized childcare in Flanders from April 1. Becomes more priority given to working parents. The controversial measure will be challenged in the Constitutional Court.

According to the new rules, childcare operators will: only a maximum of 10 percent of their places can be reserved for children from vulnerable families. Until now, an obligation of 20 percent was in force. In this way, the Flemish government wants to give priority to parents who at least four-fifths work or are in training. “The basic rule is that as an organizer you give priority to families for whom childcare is necessary to work or to follow training with a view to work,” states an information document from Kind en Gezin.

Many organizations within and outside childcare are showing up critical. They fear that this will further strengthen inequality and, among other things, leave out parents in poverty. About twenty organizations announced on March 20 constitutional Court to file a complaint against the new priority rules.

Ann De Moor (60) from daycare center ‘De Ketjes’ is challenging the new priority rules in childcare. © ID/Hatim Kaghat

‘Back to Work’ fund guides people after dismissal due to medical force majeure

People who have been dismissed due to medical force majeure and are incapacitated for work can rely on it from April 1 ‘Back to Work’ fund. This should offer them the opportunity to find a new job through, for example, career guidance and personalized coaching.

The fund was set up by the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (Riziv). Employers who terminate the contract of an incapacitated employee due to medical force majeure must pay 1,800 euros into the fund. The people who were fired can contact the Riziv and can then receive a voucher get worth 1,800 euros. “They can use this to purchase specialized, tailor-made services from a recognized service provider,” according to the Riziv. “Through career guidance and personalized coaching, among other things, they gain new perspectives to return to the labor market, within their capabilities.”

From April 1, 2025 will employees and job seekers who incapacitated for work for more than one year can also appeal to the ‘Back to Work’ fund.

Despite resistance from employers, individual learning accounts are launched

The ‘federal learning account’, or individual learning account, will be launched from April 1. This is an online registration tool in which all training courses offered to each employee must be registered. The intention is to individual training right that every employee has, too to manage. Employer organizations are opposing the plans.

The federal education account is a offshoot of the so-called labor deal that the De Croo government agreed. This prescribes, among other things, that companies must provide a training plan and creates an individual training right of five days per year. A federal education bill will soon be added to this. This must provide employees with information about training and give them access to their individual learning account and to useful information about training courses taken. The underlying idea is that training and lifelong learning are becoming increasingly important in the rapidly changing labor market.

After a trial period, employees receive access to the application in autumn 2024. The application is being rolled out at the federal level. Minister of Economy and Work Pierre-Yves Dermagne (PS) is also working on a cooperation agreement with the federal states, which also have powers in the field of education and training, his spokesperson explains. “The design has already been approved at federal level and by the Walloon Region. The other states will follow soon,” it said.

However, employers are not in favor of the plans. “It balance between effort and results is completely lost“, employer organizations such as VBO, Unizo, Voka and Boerenbond previously said. They criticize, among other things, “the inadequate and incomplete preparation, the unanswered questions, unclarified ambiguities, the failure to respect the ‘only once’ principle, a not very successful pilot project and the minimal feedback to the social partners”. They also speak of a “unenforceable additional administrative obligation for entrepreneurs”.

More than 130 general practitioners will be switching to a new financing model on April 1. © Thinkstock

More than 130 general practitioners have opted for a new financing model

More than 130 general practitioners will be switching to a new financing model on April 1, in which they will receive a proportionate amount of money less income to fetch from consultations, but more from fixed financing per patient and premiums such as for the recruitment of nurses.

According to the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (Riziv), 122 general practitioners in group practices and 12 general practitioners in solo practices have registered for the new model, new deal called.

“GPs are doing a very good job today, but they sometimes have too little time to focus on prevention and proactive follow-up of their patients,” said Federal Minister of Health Frank Vandenbroucke (Vooruit) earlier. “The current performance financing model (with compensation per patient contact, ed.) does not give them enough room to do this.” The new model must meet this need. ‘New deal’ GPs will receive a lower amount per consultation or home visit, but they will receive a higher fixed payment per patient for whom they are the regular GP. In this way, work outside direct patient contact is better rewarded.

On average, the total income will not change, but the fixed compensation makes the income more stable, says Vandenbroucke. That must provide space for example, to follow up patients in the interim and make time for more complex patient problems, to collaborate with other healthcare providers and to provide support to employees in the practice.

The new model also provides additional premiums for affiliated general practices, including if they recruit a nurse for the practice. And there is a premium to manage the practice. “It is expected that the increased focus on prevention and proactive follow-up of patients will reduce the number of acute problems,” says Vandenbroucke. “That is good for the health of the population, but also allows a general practitioner to monitor more patients and to focus on what he is really trained for; and this in collaboration with other healthcare providers.”

The classic heating oil 50S will disappear from the market from April 1.
The classic heating oil 50S will disappear from the market from April 1. © Photo News

End of conventional fuel oil 50S

The classic heating oil 50S will disappear from the market from April 1. One will take its place more environmentally friendly, but slightly more expensive, variant with less sulfur.

The 50S refers to the maximum permitted sulfur content: 50 ppm (parts per million) or 0.005 percent. It will be replaced by fuel oil 10S, or domestic heating oil with a maximum of 0.001 percent sulfur. The less sulphur, the better for the environment. The reduction of the sulfur content has been going on for years. In practice, consumers will not notice anything about the new fuel standard. Many fuel dealers already offered the new type. After all, stocks of the old 50S variant became exhausted.

However, domestic heating oil with less sulfur will be slightly more expensive: around 36 euros for an order of 2,000 liters.

Leurkaart will be abolished

The peddling card, which is mandatory for door-to-door salespeople and sellers at markets, will be abolished in Flanders from April 1. The abolition is part of a Flemish decree that the rules regarding street trading and fair activities updates.

The decree should, among other things, give local authorities additional levers to respond to new consumer trends and new commercial opportunities in the field of markets and fairs. According to Minister of Work Jo Brouns (CD&V), the intervention also fits in with administrative simplification.

The peddling card was mandatory for door-to-door salespeople, among other things. “However, through correct registration in the KBO (Crossroads Bank for Enterprises, ed.), a check by the KBO is sufficient to know whether that entrepreneur can carry out itinerant or fair activities,” is the explanation in the decree.

We are once again happier with our wages. 3 Flemish people testify: “This easy extra earns me 1,000 euros per year” (+)

Director Ann goes to the highest court to challenge priority rules in daycare centers: “Measure has an impact on children from vulnerable families” (+)

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The article is in Dutch

Tags: OVERVIEW April minimum wage rises euros gross priority rules childcare Domestic

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