The Labour Decoration (French language: Décoration du Travail, Dutch language: Decoratie voor Arbeid ) is a Belgian labour long service medal originally established on 7 November 1847 under the name "Industrial and Agricultural Decoration". Its statute and design were reformed in 1958, it has since retained its present name and design. The Labour Decoration is awarded to those who use their knowledge, talent and dedication in the pursuit of their work for a specified time. It is awarded by the Belgian Ministry of Employment and Labour.
The Labour Decoration is awarded in two classes:
- The first class is awarded to those who can demonstrate thirty years of professional activity. Craftsmen who are not employees may be awarded the first class award if they can demonstrate twenty years of independent work in Belgium after their twenty-first birthday.
- The second class is awarded to those who can demonstrate twenty-five years of professional activity.
The decoration first class may also be awarded posthumously to workers who have been the victims of a deadly accident in the worplace without consideration of age or citizenship.
The employer or the professional union of the worker are usually those sending the request to the Ministry for award of the decoration to a specific worker. However, when this is not possible (such as when the worker is an independent craftsman without a professional union), the worker may file the request himself. The worker has to be a resident of Belgium, he could have worked in a foreign country if for a Belgian company or in Belgium while residing outside of Belgium. The Decoration may be awarded to workers of the private sector and to contractual employees of the public sector.
After having been verified by the local authorities, the applications are analysed by the Ministry of Employment and Labour where the decision to award the Decoration or not will be taken. Award ceremonies are usually held on 8 April, 21 July and 15 November of each year.
Award of National Orders
After the Labour Decoration, workers may later also be awarded the gold medal and the golden palms of the Order of the Crown respectively after thirty-five and forty-five years of professional activity, or in the latter case, forty years at the time of retirement. The Knight's Cross of the Order of Leopold may be awarded to workers after fifty-five years of professional activity.
The insignia of the Labour Decoration is oval and made of silver, surrounded by a blue enamelled laurel wreath, with in its center a black enamelled oval medallion surrounded by a red enamelled border and in the center an emblem made of a beehive, a hammer and a compass and topped by the coat of arms of Belgium. The insignia is suspended by a ring through a lateral suspension loop through the orb of a pivot mounted royal crown. The reverse of the insignia is plain. The emblem and the royal crown are silver for the second class decoration and gold for the first class.
The ribbon of the Labour Decoration has three longitudinal stripes of equal width in the national colours of Belgium, black, yellow and red. The ribbon of the decoration first class is adorned with a rosette in the same colours. The ribbon of the Labour Decoration awarded posthumously is adorned with a black enamelled clasp with silver text in Dutch and French stating deceased at work.
- Royal Decree of 7 November 1847 creating a distinction rewarding workers and craftsmen
- Royal Decree of 26 February 1957 regulating the posthumous award of a decoration to the victims of deadly labour accidents
- Royal Decree of 29 April 1958 on the name of the Labour Decoration
- Belgian Ministry of Employment and Labour, Clés pour les Décorations du Travail, Brussels, 2004
- André Borné, Honneur au travail: Distinctions honorifiques pour les travailleurs 1830-1980, Brussels, 1982
- Quinot H., 1950, Recueil illustré des décorations belges et congolaises, 4e Edition. (Hasselt)
- Cornet R., 1982, Recueil des dispositions légales et réglementaires régissant les ordres nationaux belges. 2e Ed. N.pl., (Brussels)
- Borné A.C., 1985, Distinctions honorifiques de la Belgique, 1830-1985 (Brussels)
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