Flanders aims to guide 10.000 long-term sick towards work next year

Guiding 10.000 long-term sick people back to work next year: this is the goal Flemish employment service VDAB has agreed upon with the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (Riziv) and the health insurance funds. To this end, they signed a framework agreement on Wednesday with Flemish minister of Work Jo Brouns and federal Health minister Frank Vandenbroucke.

VDAB, Riziv and the health insurance funds have been working together since 2009 to guide disabled people to work. With the new agreement, the organisations want to step up their efforts. The aim is to guide 10.000 people to work next year and 12.000 people by 2024. For reference: so far this year, 4.139 people on sickness benefits have already registered with VDAB for guidance to work.

The guidance is intended for people who have been recognised as unfit for work and want to take voluntary steps towards obtaining a job. As a whole, Belgium has around 500.000 long-term sick people on sickness benefits. The federal government has been trying to tackle the issue through minister Vandenbroucke's 'Back to Work Plan'. "As far as we are concerned, we are moving to phase 2.0 of the policy," Vandenbroucke said on Wednesday.

In turn, Flemish Work minister Jo Brouns stressed that work can be a fundamental part of recovery in the case of (long-term) illness. "After all, work can mean structure, meaning and social contact. We focus on what can still be done. VDAB and its partners are ready to support anyone who needs it."



#FlandersNewsService | Flemish minister of Employment Jo Brouns © BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM

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