Statutory schemes of social security (Directive 79/7)

AuthorNathalie Wuiame
7 Statutory schemes of social security (Directive 79/7)
7.1 General (legal) context
7.1.1 Surveys and reports on the practical difficulties linked to statutory schemes of social
security (Directive 79/7)
Nothing to report.
7.1.2 Other relevant issues
Nothing to report.
7.1.3 Overview of national acts
Act of 10 May 2007 aimed at combating d iscrimination between women and men, usually
known as the Gender Act.
7.1.4 Political and societal debate and pending legislative p roposals
Under the current legislative term (2014- 2019), the pursuit of a budgetary balance and a
rise in the participation rat e of older workers has led to a series of reforms in statutory
Despite the supposed implementation of the Gender Mainstreaming Act of 10 January
2007, the Government has not acknowledged the potential negative impact of the reforms
on women. For example, the diploma -related bonus for civil servant s is not free anymore
as, since 2018, a lump sum by stu dy-year has to be paid by new civil servants - in the
majority of cases, this concerns women as they are overrepresented in teaching.83 For
higher positions in the public administration, a higher diploma or a secondary degree were
a condition of access. Considering that the number of years necessary to get the
appropriate degree mean s that a worker will never reach the full career rights by the
pension age, such study periods were assimilated in working service time before the
7.2 Implementation of the principle of eq ual treatment for men and women in
matters of social security
The principle of equality is implemented in Belgian legislation. Again, the horizontal
prohibition of discriminati on is laid d own in Article 19 of the Gender Act of 10 May 2007.
Article 5(14) p rovides t he defin ition of ‘statutory social security schemes.’ Article 18(3)
empowers the sovereign (i.e. the federal Government) to amend any social security
statutes in order to comply with the princip le of gender equa lity. So far, th is power has
not been used for the following reason. Sinc e Directive 79/7/EEC came into force, i.e . 23
years before the Gender Act, a number of statutes and regulations had to be amended in
order to comply with its provisions (for example, to implement the CJEU’s decision in Case
C-373/89 Integrity, quoted above); this was done simply by tabling a bill of law in
Parliament or by promulgating a royal decree to correct another one. Thus, Articl e 18(3)
is probably more symbolic than useful.
83 Opinion No. 152 of the Council for Equal Opportunities between men and women, 10 March 2017,
accessible in Dutch
raad?p=1#a_container and French at

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