The Well-being Act, 20 years on: what about job quality?


The Federal Public Service for Employment, Labour, and Social Dialogue celebrates two decades of the Well-being Act by publishing a comprehensive study titled ‘Job quality in Belgium in 2015’.

The report mainly focuses on the progress made between 2010 and 2015. Job quality, feasible tasks, and sustainable employability are some of the future challenges identified. Below are the key findings of the study.

  1. Job quality is progressing in a positive direction
    There are strong indications that job quality in Belgium has improved over the past five years.
  2. The level of autonomy and complexity in our work has increased, while emotional stress has decreased
    The best news for our bodies and minds is that we are generally performing less repetitive tasks. This means the risk of musculoskeletal problems has decreased.

    And it may seem contradictory, but despite the fact that we are performing more complex tasks than ever with a greater level of autonomy, the level of emotional stress experienced among workers has slightly decreased. This is where we need to look if we want to create more feasible tasks for employees.
  3. Psychological well-being: conflicting signals
    We feel more capable to continue working at an older age. There is also a more positive mindset about job security. However, at the same time, labour market security has dropped. In other words, although we do believe we will keep our jobs, we also believe it would be much harder to find a new one if we were to lose our jobs.

    And, although our level of psychological well-being has improved, we suffer from sleep deficiency and our overall health has deteriorated.

    The study is also very clear about workplace stress: we experience more stress in the workplace compared to 2010, and this has a negative impact on our health.

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