BELGIUM: New legislation to assist workers with chronic work disabilities

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A Royal Order effective on 1 December provides for a customized reintegration path to assist workers with a chronic work disability convert to an adapted job or another job temporarily or permanently.

The legislation gives priority to possibilities for reinstating these employees with their own employer, “because they will generally be able to resume the agreed job eventually, possibly after a gradual resumption”, emphasizes the Ministry of Labour. Another advantage is that the employee “can be reinstated in an occupational context with which he is familiar, with colleagues and an employer that he knows and with whom he has a link, and this increases the chances of successful reintegration”.

During this reintegration path, an important role is assigned to the OSH adviser/industrial doctor, who knows not only the work environment and the work in a given company, but can also serve as an intermediary between employer and employee. The adviser also forms part of a multi-disciplinary team in the internal or external risk prevention department. It is thus possible to call on ergonomists or OSH advisers specialised in psychosocial aspects, if necessary. All stages of the personal reintegration path have been determined by the Order, taking into account the collective framework, in the form of a reintegration policy which is to be worked out at the company level.

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