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Job in Belgium: a Soldier

Peter Premereur (48) from Herent talks about his job and wage

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– What is your job?
– I have been working as a soldier since 1985. Now I held a position of a unit adjutant and secretary. A unit adjutant is responsible for the discipline and behaviour and must make sure that the unit observe the army’s obligations and the law.

– Do you like your job?
– Yes, I like my job, I am respected here and I have also received and passed my bilingual education – and you can always take courses to improve yourself.

– Would you change your job for a higher salary?
– Well, I had an offer to switch to the CALOG-section (the police force) where I could earn more and it was closer to home but I didn’t take it. So my answer is no, I am lucky with what I already have.

– What do you earn exactly?
– My monthly salary is €3,314.64. There is a €19.94 per-month language bonust because I followed a bilingual course. So in total my salary is €3,334.58 gross per month. That comes to €2,039.64 net per month, plus a clothes allowance of €59.64. So my total net monthly salary is €2,099.28. Soldiers also have free hospitalisation insurance and half-price for the rest of the family. The doctor and dentist are also free for us and we get discounts in various shops like Carrefour and Krefel.

– What do you think of your salary?
– I wouldn’t be cross if I was to get more but I’m happy with what I have.

– How many hours a week do you work?
– I have to work 38 hours per week with flexible schedule. So we can begin at any time between 7.00 and 9.00 (that of course does not apply during operations or during a national crisis such as what’s happening in Brussels at the moment).

– Do you save?
– Yes, we always try to save.

– What is your biggest expenditure?
– My daughter’s college fees and her student accommodation, but I don’t really see this as a cost but more as an investment in her future. And of course the monthly expenditure in electricity, gas, car and mortgage.

– What can you absolutely not spend money on?
– On good causes because I can’t be absolutely sure where the money goes.

– What do you gladly spend money on?
– Good food and maintaining the house and the garden.

– What would you do if you won the lottery? What do you dream about?
– I would build a new house with a basement space for hobby activities, because unfortunately I don’t have it in our current house. I don’t have many hobbies at the moment. When I was younger I liked to play billiards but I already left that in the past. If the weather is nice I like to spend time in my garden where I like to experiment with the plants and let them grow from seeds, such as peppers and garlic. If I won the lottery, then my wife could also retire early, because she has to work nine years longer than me. Going on holidays a few times per year would be nice, and last but not least: to secure my daughter’s future.

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