FR    EN

Ad-PHS project's seminar on Belgium

On May 6, ESFI hosted a seminar exploring the features, priorities and challenges related to the PHS sector in Belgium, in the framework of the Ad-PHS project.

The Ad-PHS project aims to create a platform of relevant PHS stakeholders at EU level which could offer their expertise to Public Authorities in the development of PHS policies. Thanks to national seminars in 21 EU Member States, the project will improve theoretical and practical understanding of PHS policies across Europe. Accordingly, the project should foster the implementation of better public policies in the field of PHS, while helping mitigate the challenges and maximise the opportunity for workers, employers and beneficiaries alike. Launched in December 2018, the project is expected to end in May 2020.

On the occasion of the Belgian seminar, EFSI organised two panel discussions. Firstly, Aurélie Decker, EFSI director, presented the findings of the Ad-PHS research summarized in the document Country in Focus – The landscape of the PHS sector in Belgium. In this framework, the Belgian voucher system was presented as an example of good practice. Since its creation in 2004, it has indeed significantly contributed to the reduction of undeclared work in PHS. Besides, stakeholders actively participated in the revision of the country report, by providing significant contributions as for policy instruments available in Belgium – either in Flanders, Wallonie and/or Brussels regions – both for the care and non-care sectors. 

Secondly, participants discussed two topics, namely PHS stakeholders’ rights and obligations and the development of digital platforms and networks. The overall goal was to collect promising practices in order to draft guidelines to spread knowledge on PHS. In this framework, Peter Van de Veire, Director of the Fonds de Soutenabilité (Sectorial Training Fund - Service Vouchers), presented the awareness campaign “Tous Respectueux” (“Respect your worker”). The campaign aims to raise awareness on manageable and feasible domestic work, focusing on the need to provide quality and ergonomic equipment. Furthermore, Stefaan Berteloot, director of Zorggezind, presented this Flemish network agency regrouping not for profit domestic and care service providers. The agency works in association with service vouchers providers and connects a broad range of services available for families. Zorggezind’s priorities include life-long training and decent working conditions, as well as quality and reliable services. The final panel explored web platforms, namely Bsit, providing babysitting services, and Helpper, offering support to dependant vulnerable people. During the discussion, traditional stakeholders expressed concerns on the rise of web platforms. They argued that the legal vacuum on web platforms risks to jeopardize the PHS market by contributing to increase the share of undeclared work. Nonetheless, web platforms could be a very useful tool to complement the traditional provision of domestic and care services in a context of increasing demand and insufficient supply. 

As a result of the seminar, the Ad-PHS project will deliver the final country report on Belgium, revised thanks to stakeholders’ contributions. Furthermore, the promising practices examples gathered during the seminar will be integrated into guidelines on topics relevant to PHS development. 

In the forthcoming months, national seminars will be organised in Ireland (May 30), Germany (June 17), Denmark (June 19, to be confirmed), the Netherlands (June 21, to be confirmed), Spain (June 25), and France (July 1).