Jo Brouns advocates for increasing wages of cleaning assistants by raising the cost of service vouchers

The precarious state of Flemish cleaners: the struggle for fair wages and a sustainable industry

The Flemish government has been working on ways to improve the cleaning assistance sector for years. However, recent actions by unions and staff have led to the end of collective labor agreements and no end-of-year bonuses for cleaners. This has put the sector in a precarious position, with companies making little or no profit and cleaners earning low wages.

To address this issue, Minister of Labor Jo Brouns (CD&V) has proposed an increase in the price of service vouchers and the scrapping of the tax deduction. With these changes, families who use them can contribute an additional 1.8 euros per check in tax, bringing the total cost per hour to 7.2 euros.

Brouns has previously advocated for more expensive service vouchers and believes that they should be made even more expensive by abolishing the tax advantage. He also wants to make checks more expensive by scrapping the tax deduction, which currently accounts for 200 million of the total 1.6 billion euros that the Flemish government puts into the system. However, he does not specify how much more expensive it should be.

His party colleague Robrecht Bothuyne stated that with an additional 1 euro per check, wages could be increased by 7 euros per employee. Unfortunately, no changes are expected before the elections and N-VA and Open VLD do not support these proposals. Despite this, there is a good chance that the next Flemish government will make these changes in its coalition agreement as it examines ways to make the system more feasible for everyone involved.

The cleaning assistance sector is still facing significant challenges despite these efforts to improve conditions for workers and companies alike.

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