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Working between 20:00 and midnight will no longer be prohibited in Belgium. After months of negotiating about night work, the government has reached an agreement. It seems that Belgian ecommerce can finally start catching up.
Belgium is behind
In February, the government had already announced that it was considering labor market reform measures. The reforms would enable ecommerce businesses to work between 20:00 and midnight. This would give ecommerce in Belgium the opportunity to catch up with other countries, where night work is already allowed.
‘Belgium is missing out on €1 billion a year.’
Belgium is currently missing out on 1 billion euros and 6,000 jobs a year, according to research by the employer’s organization Federation of Belgian Enterprises. Due to the strict rules, online retailers do not get enough chances to grow into large ecommerce businesses. This is why there are currently no national players competing with giants such as Bol.com and Amazon.
1 in 3 online orders fulfilled abroad
For the next year and a half, night work will be allowed in Belgium. After that, labor unions and the government will evaluate the new rules and create adjusted wage and employment conditions.
’20,000 jobs have been created in distribution centers across the border.’
This change is needed, according to Comeos, the trade and services federation. “We have calculated that in recent years, 20,000 jobs have been created in distribution centers just across the border. One in three ecommerce orders come from abroad, we need to turn this around”, said Dominique Michel, CEO Comeos.
‘A step in the right direction’
“It’s a step in the right direction, but it will still be a challenge to grow ecommerce in Belgium. Flexibility in the organization of work is much more than just night work, it is also about the organization of work during the day. Additional measures will be necessary to further develop Belgian ecommerce and create jobs in our country.”
This article “Night work no longer prohibited in Belgium” was first published here.
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