Flemish system of living wage not functional: only 1 in 5 working after a year

Only in five people receiving a living wage finds a job after a year. A low figure, while countless vacancies go unfilled. A trend which might have to do with the fact that only half of living wage recipients register with the Flemish employment service, VDAB.

At the end of 2022, 37,000 people in Flanders received a living wage, which functionions as a minimum wage for people who have too little income. The conditions are relatively simple: Belgians, recognised refugees or foreigners who have too little income and are willing to work are entitled to it. They receive 1,214 euros (single people) or 1,640 euros (people with someone dependent) per month.

Only it turns out that only 55 per cent of living wage earners register with the Flemish employment service, VDAB, which monitors if the person concerned is applying for jobs. Of those registered, 43 per cent have a job after one year. In other words, barely one in five living wage recipients finds work.

Yet the labour market is crying out for workers. Flemish MEP Tom Ongena calculated that there were 157,705 vacancies in Flanders at the end of last month. Moreover, the Flemish government is aiming for an 80 per cent employment rate, which is why it is increasingly targeting the inactive, such as living wage earners, in addition to the unemployed.




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