New in April: higher minimum wage, working parents get childcare priority

The Belgian and Flemish governments are introducing several measures on 1 April to encourage people to work . The minimum wage will rise to over 2,000 euros gross for the first time, working people will be given priority when applying for subsidised childcare, and a new "back to work" fund will help people who have lost their jobs for medical reasons to find a new job.

The minimum wage will exceed 2,000 euros gross for the first time, to 2,029.88 euros per month. According to the Christian trade union ACV, 80,000 people will see their pay rise this year. In addition, workers will keep 50 euros more per month after tax thanks to an increase in the tax allowance.

Controversial childcare rule

Another change in April is that working parents in Flanders will be given priority for subsidised childcare. To make that happen, childcare providers will only be able to reserve a maximum of 10 per cent of their places for children from vulnerable families, down from the current 20 per cent.

Organisations inside and outside the childcare sector are critical of the new rules, fearing they will increase inequality and exclude disadvantaged parents. Some 20 organisations said they would lodge a complaint with the Constitutional Court.

'Back to work' fund

The Belgian government wants to encourage people who have stopped working for medical reasons with a "back to work" fund, which will enable them to find a new job through career guidance and personal coaching.

The fund is set up by RIZIV, the National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance. Employers who terminate the contract of a person with a disability for medical reasons must pay 1,800 euros into the fund, and the person can then receive a voucher for the same amount.

"Through career guidance and personalised coaching, they will be given new prospects to return to the labour market within the limits of their capabilities," said RIZIV. From 1 April 2025, people who have been incapacitated for more than a year will also be able to call on the fund, whether they are self-employed, employees or jobseekers.

Employee training

Finally, there will be a federal learning account, an online tool that will display all the training offered to an employee by their employer. The idea of the tool is that training and lifelong learning should be encouraged as they become increasingly important in the rapidly changing labour market.

After a trial period, employees will have access to the application in autumn 2024. It will be introduced at federal level, with the regions to follow soon, according to Work minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne. Employer organisations are not in favour of the plans, calling the tool an "unworkable administrative obligation for entrepreneurs".


#FlandersNewsService | © BELGA PHOTO ERIC LALMAND

Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels