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Belgium is the latest country to introduce a four-day working week

Fridays off are now enshrined in law

Sophie Dickinson
Written by
Sophie Dickinson

The five-day working week is officially over. Well, in Belgium at least. Following the news that dozens of UK companies are trialling a four-day working week, and with the Welsh government now considering introducing it in the public sector, the northern European country has decided to adopt it as standard practice. 

A reform bill passed through the Belgian parliament this week which means workers will have the choice of working fewer days, as well as the option of ignoring work-related messages if they aren’t sent in official hours. It’s great news for people who feel guilty every time their boss emails them at 9pm and they ‘forget’ to reply. 

The four-day working week has been gaining traction worldwide, with companies like Unilever and Morrisons in the UK already trialling the scheme. In Belgium, employees will be able to ask to work the same number of hours over four days, with no pay cut, for six months. If it’s successful, workers can then choose to make the move permanently or move back to five days with no consequences. 

The new Belgian laws also give gig workers stronger legal protections, meaning companies like Uber, Deliveroo and Just Eat can no longer claim their riders are ‘self-employed’ – unless that’s something the drivers specifically request. Plus, full-time employees will be able to work more flexible hours, meaning you won’t be chained to the nine to five. Us next, please?

Live in the UK and want to get involved? Find out how to get your company to sign up for a four-day working week trial

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