Work minister tackles burn-out with new measures


Federal work minister Kris Peeters has a set of measures to discuss with employers’ organisations and unions in order to address the growing number of workers absent due to stress-related disorders

Busy all the time

Being permanently on call for your boss could become a thing of the past if federal work minister Kris Peeters can reach an agreement with employers’ organisations and unions on a new package of measures. Peeters is working to address the growing number of cases of burn-out among workers in Belgium.

The number of people absent from work due to illness grew by 80% between 2005 and 2016. Last year, 35% of absences were due to psychosocial or mental health problems while 30% involved musculoskeletal issues such as lower back pain or neck pain.

Preventive measures include ensuring a better work-life balance for employees, said Peeters. The proposed measures also urge companies to devise clear policies on dealing with burn-out, including re-integration once workers return.

“Tackling burn-out is one of the major challenges of this time,” Peeters said. “We are busy at home and at work. Finding the balance between work and private life is difficult. People do not know what to do first, they lose control and, thereby, their enthusiasm.”

Companies are also experiencing rising costs due to the number of absences. The estimated  cost of worker disability in 2017 is just short of €8 billion, meaning that for the first time in history, the cost will exceed unemployment benefits.

Photo: Ingimage