Minister wants to extend flexi-jobs to retirees

Summary

The flexi-jobs system whereby part-time work in the hospitality industry is offered tax-free is so popular it should be extended, according to the secretary of state responsible for social fraud

Evaluation first, says CD&V

Philippe De Backer, the secretary of state responsible for social fraud, has announced a plan to extend the new flexi-job status to retirees who want to work part time in the hospitality industry.

Flexi-jobs, which started in late 2015, refer to part-time work done in addition to one’s regular job. The tax-free jobs are only available to those who work at least 80% of full time elsewhere and want to supplement that income with part-time work in the hospitality sector, which includes hotels, bars and restaurants.

The introduction of flexi-jobs was intended to attract more people to the hospitality and catering industries. De Backer’s plan would extend the status to retired people, to encourage them to remain in or return to work.

Last year, some 20,000 people of all ages took up flexi-jobs in the sector, working an average four hours a week at an hourly rate of €11.50 in addition to their regular jobs. By extending the option to the retired, De Backer (Open VLD) hopes to increase the number of such jobs in the sector while retaining the participation of experienced personnel.

Coalition government partner CD&V, however, said that the original governing accord stipulates that flexi-jobs are subject to certain conditions, including a thorough evaluation of any extension of the system. The forecast of 20,000 new jobs was not, according to CD&V MP Stefaan Verkamer, based on a thorough evaluation.

Industry federation Horeca Vlaanderen, however, backed De Backer’s plan. “These proposals should eliminate a number of gaps in the legislation,” said Horeca Vlaanderen managing director Danny Van Assche. “We are expecting the government to implement this as soon as possible.”

Photo: Kris Jacobs/VisitFlanders