Flemish government abolishes permanent positions from 1 June

Tenure in the Flemish government will largely be a thing of the past from 1 June, with staff only being employed on a contractual basis. Only people with a position of authority will still have a chance of a permanent position.

Those working in the public sector can be appointed with an ordinary employment contract, as in the private sector, or can be given a permanent appointment through tenure. Today, about 70 per cent of Flanders' 29,000 civil servants are permanently appointed. The other 30 per cent work on fixed-term or open-ended contracts, which is far less advantageous.

Compared to their permanently appointed colleagues, their salaries do not rise as quickly, they can be fired more easily, their pensions are lower and if they are sick they fall back to 60 per cent of their salary after one month. A new reform seeks to close that gap.

For new recruits to the Flemish government, contractual status will be the norm from 1 June. Permanent appointments will be phased out. The contractual status, meanwhile, will be strengthened, including in the areas of health insurance and pensions. For certain positions of authority - for people who have to make decisions independently on the fundamental rights of individuals - a permanent position remains possible. 

The reform is part of the modernisation of the Flemish personnel policy. For years, the end of the permanent position had been one of the notable elements of the "five-track policy" of former minister of Administration Bart Somers, of liberals Open VLD. The reform was the subject of long and difficult negotiations with the unions.


#FlandersNewsService | The minister president's offices in Brussels © BELGA PHOTO HATIM KAGHAT

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