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Belgian civil servants win 'right to disconnect'

09:54 05/01/2022

Belgium's 65,000 federal civil servants will be granted the "right to disconnect" and not answer phone calls or messages outside normal working hours.

From 1 February, managers within all of the country's federal public services should not call employees after 17.00 on weekdays.

An exception applies "in the event of exceptional and unforeseen circumstances which involve action which cannot wait until the next working day".

The new circular is "part of the fight against excessive professional stress and burnout", said Petra De Sutter, the federal minister responsible for the civil service.

While a civil servant might choose to check their messages after 17.00 or at weekends, the rules make it clear that no employee can "suffer any disadvantage for not answering the telephone or reading a message outside normal working hours".

Written by The Bulletin