Belgium misses deadline to implement EU social rights directives

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Belgium missed the deadline to transpose two EU directives aimed at strengthening social rights into national law. The implementation process is already underway and will resume in September, the spokesperson for Belgium's Employment minister explains.

The start of this month marked the deadline for EU countries to apply two directives aimed at improving employees' social rights. Member States had to transpose a directive on transparent and predictable working conditions into national law by Monday. On Tuesday, EU-wide rules to improve work-life balance for parents and carers entered into force.

The social directives include minimum standards for paternity, parental and carers' leave, and rules on giving greater clarity to workers in precarious forms of employment, among other things. One of the aims of the work-life balance directive is to increase the participation of women in the labour market.

Both directives have not yet been transposed into national law in Belgium. "The draft laws for these directives are before parliament at the moment and have been approved at first reading in the Social Affairs Committee. The parliamentary work will resume in September," says Laurens Teerlinck, spokesperson for Employment minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne (PS, French-speaking socialists). The Belgian Federal Parliament is currently in summer recess until September.

Belgium is a habitual lagger when it comes to implementing EU laws. At the end of 2021, the country's total number of open infringement cases for late transposition stood at 42. This puts Belgium in the lead along with Cyprus, Czechia and Spain, which have an identical number of open cases. The country's complex state structure partly explains these lags: EU directives often have to be implemented by both federal and regional authorities.

(KOR)

 

Vice-prime minister and minister of Economy and Employment Pierre-Yves Dermagne © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

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