The cleaning assistance sector in Flanders has been facing financial difficulties for several years, with low wages and little to no profit for companies. In response to the challenges faced by the industry, Minister of Labor Jo Brouns (CD&V) has proposed increasing the price of service vouchers and eliminating the tax deduction in order to raise the wages of cleaning assistants.
The price of a service voucher has remained at 9 euros without any adjustment or indexing for ten years, while families using the vouchers must contribute an extra 1.8 euros per check in tax, effectively making the check cost 7.2 euros per hour. This has put a strain on both households and companies that rely on the system.
Brouns previously advocated for more expensive service vouchers during budget discussions in September of last year, calling for the scrapping of the 200 million euro tax deduction currently in place for the service voucher system. Robrecht Bothuyne, a party colleague of Brouns, suggested that a 1 euro increase per check could result in a 7 euro raise for employee wages. While no immediate change is expected before the elections, it is likely that the next Flemish government will address this issue and potentially make the checks more expensive in their coalition agreement.
Wilfried Vandaele, N-VA faction leader, acknowledged that the service voucher system needs adjustments to be sustainable. He stated that he believes that reviewing and revising this system will be necessary for its future success.
The unions and staff were dissatisfied with