Thinking of calling in sick? The doctor will pop by to see you, under Belgian crackdown


Calling in sick with a hangover or to enjoy unexpected good weather may soon be more difficult in Belgium – the government has proposed a law which would require employees taking a sick day to stay at home for a medical check-up.

The draft legislation would oblige people to remain at home for a four-hour time slot between 7am and 8pm for a visit from a doctor to confirm their reported ailments. If the person who called in sick was not at home, they could lose their pay for that day, Belgian media reported.

The rule change is part of an overhaul of labour laws which are different for blue and white collar workers.

At present, people working in manual jobs do not get their first day of sick leave paid. That clause would be abolished under the new laws, but unions said the proposals were unacceptable and amounted to house arrest.

“We can’t agree with such a violation of personal privacy,” said Jan Vercamst of the union ACLVB. “Blue-collar workers are accused of throwing more sickies on a Monday than white-collar workers. We want to end all discrimination, but this we cannot accept.”

And while British employers can’t send round the doctor, a study earlier this year by private healthcare provider Benenden Health found six in 10 bosses in Britain do not believe employees when they call in sick.