Fight against burn-out: A royal decree clarifies the pilot project for the bank and hospital sectors

16 May 2018

A royal decree approved on 7 February 2018 and published on 7 May 2018 in the Belgian State Gazette, sets out the conditions for a pilot project in the fight against work-related burn-outs. This pilot project is provided for employees employed in the financial services sector (excluding insurances and pension funds) or in the sector for hospitals and nursing homes.

With the law of 26 March 2018 to strengthen the economic growth and social cohesion, the legislator encouraged all joint (sub) committees to start projects in the fight against burn-out.

This pilot project offers a “guidance plan” to employees that are still working or are incapacitated for work for less than 2 months, and that are in danger of or are in the early stages of professional exhaustion syndrome (burn-out) caused by a work-related psychosocial risk.

This “guidance plan” includes:

  • one or two sessions with a burn-out counsellor to confirm the diagnosis;
  • counselling by a burn-out counsellor, with two to four sessions of a “stress and work clinic”, and one or two sessions of professional reorientation if necessary, as well as one to two follow-up sessions;
  • three individual psycho-educative sessions;
  • up to a maximum of seven optional sessions of counselling using a psycho-physical approach and/or a cognitive-behavioural therapy approach.

The employee wishing to participate in this guidance plan has to apply by submitting a special request to the federal agency for professional risks (Fedris). This request must be signed by the treating physician, by the prevention advisor-occupational physician or by the prevention advisor of psychosocial aspects.

The costs related to these new measures, including the transferral costs of the employee, will be borne by Fedris, which will verify whether or not the employee-candidate is eligible. Between 300 and 1,000 employees would be involved in this project.

The pilot project commences at the latest on 1 November 2018 and will be evaluated after a period of two years.

> To remember

If you are active in the sectors to which this pilot project applies, keep an eye out for employees who are showing symptoms of a burn-out and who would benefit from taking part in this pilot project.

Also, it is generally, and for all sectors, advisable to verify whether your company complies with its obligations regarding wellbeing at work and has in place a prevention and re‑integration policy regarding psychosocial risks, and if so, to regularly evaluate this.