Payroll Newsletter Q2 2023
Payroll Newsletter Q2 2023
Right to de-connect : modify your employment regulation
Employees in Belgium have, starting this year, the right to disconnect from work after hours.
This is one of the measures from the Act on the Labour Deal of 3 October 2022.
As from April 1, companies, with more than 20 employees must have an agreement on disconnection laid down in a collective bargaining agreement on company level or in the employment regulation.
Companies with less than 20 employees are not obliged to do so, but can always implement an agreement regarding de-connection in the company.
This text should include at least the following aspects of your commitment as an employer:
- The practical modalities for exercising this right.
- The guidelines for using digital tools in such a way that rest periods, leave and private life remain guaranteed.
- Training and awareness-raising actions for employees and managers on the wise use of digital tools and on the risks of excessive connection
If a collective bargaining agreement is signed within your Joint Labour Committee or within the National Labour Council, then that collective bargaining agreement applies, and you no longer have an obligation to work something out at company level.
If you need help drafting such an agreement, we can assist you in drafting an annex to your employment regulation.
Mandatory bicycle allowance as from 1 May 2023
The National Labour Council has decided that as of 1 May 2023, all private sector employees who cycle to work will be entitled to a bicycle allowance of € 0.27 per kilometer.
Until now, a bicycle allowance was not granted in all sectors.
The existing sector and company collective bargaining agreements that already grant a specific bicycle allowance will, however, continue to apply even if the bicycle allowance is lower than € 0.27 per kilometer. For example, the lower bicycle allowance of the Supplementary Joint Industrial Committee 100 for blue-collar workers and 200 for white-collar workers will continue to apply.
This allowance is exempt from social security contributions and taxes and it will be indexed annually.
Adjustment mileage allowance
Employees who make business trips with their own car can get a refund of the costs incurred from their employer.
The new amount that applies from April 1, 2023 to June 30, 2023 is € 0.4246 per kilometer.
Increase in SNCB fares
On February 1, SNCB fares for train tickets increased, but the employer's intervention in these costs determined by CLA no. 19/9 has not changed since 2019.
However, the company should always look at what the sectoral CLAs stipulate in this regard.
- In case the sector does not determine anything, the intervention determined by CLA no. 19/9 applies this means that the intervention does not change since the amounts have not changed since 2019.
- The sector determines the reimbursement of transport costs: the intervention is equal to a percentage of the train ticket price, then the intervention will change from 02/2023 as train ticket prices have increased.
- The company uses a third-party payer so that the employer reimburses 80% and the remaining 20% is paid by the third party. In that case, the intervention will increase.
Subway, tram, metro, bus, water bus
If the sector does not determine the employer's contribution to the cost of travel, the increase in fares will have an impact on the employer's contribution since it is a percentage of the ticket price.
Private means of transport
If the sector refers to the lump sums of rail transportation, the employer's contribution will not increase. However, some sectors refer to a percentage of actual train fares. In that case, the employer's contribution to the cost of commuting will increase.
Adjustments to Belgian vacation legislation
Since February, a Royal Decree brought 2 important changes to Belgian legislation on annual vacation.
1. Impossibility to take holiday during the vacation year.
In principle, until the end of this year 2023, the holidays that were not taken during the year cannot be carried over to next year. In certain cases, however, untaken holidays are paid out (e.g. due to illness, maternity leave, etc.).
This will change as of 2024: there will be a possibility for the employee who has not been able to take his/her holidays for specific reasons of work interruption, to carry over the untaken holidays.
From 2024 on, the employee will be entitled to take his/her holiday up to 24 months following the end of the vacation year to which these untaken holidays relate (i.e. until December 31 of the vacation year plus 2 years). The reasons for work interruption where a carryover will become possible are as follows:
- occupational accident and occupational disease,
- accident and illness,
- maternity leave,
- converted maternity leave (in case of hospitalization or death of the mother),
- prophylactic leave,
- birth leave/paternity leave,
- adoption leave,
- foster care leave (maximum 6 days per year for certain formalities and contacts),
- (long-term) foster parent leave.
2. Illness during the holidays
Currently, we know the principle “the first suspension of the employment contract counts”. This principle has as a consequence that in case an employee becomes ill before the the requested holiday starts, the days originally planned as holidays may not be counted as such. Those vacation days should be able to be taken on a later date, when the employee is back to work. On the other hand, when the employee takes vacation and becomes ill during these days, these days do not count as illness, but are considered as vacation days. Belgium has already been convicted by the European Court of Justice, but did not yet took the initiative to change the law, up until now.
As from 2024, an employee who gets ill during his/her holiday, sick days will have the possibility to take the “lost” vacation days at a later moment. Thus, for those days of illness that occur during the vacation, henceforth they will also give entitlement to guaranteed pay. In this case, a medical certificate is mandatory to provide to the employer.
Please note that the provision also applies when during the annual leave, among other things, an accident at work, an occupational disease, an ordinary accident, a maternity or paternity leave happen.
Public holidays: what in case of suspension and end of employment?
Several public holidays will occur in the coming months. In this context, the following principles are important to take into account:
- Public holidays during a period of suspension of the employment contract
If the public holiday occurs within a period of suspension of the employment agreement, the employee is normally entitled to his or her pay:
- In case of annual holidays, the employee always retains the right to the public holiday without any limitation.
- In the case of (occupational) illness, (occupational) accident, or maternity leave, the employee shall retain the right to remuneration for public holidays falling within the thirty days following the start of the suspension of the employment agreement.
In other cases of suspension of the employment agreement or in cases of force majeure, the employee shall retain the right to remuneration if the holiday falls within 14 days following the start of the suspension.
- Future public holidays in the event of end of employment
- If the employee has a seniority in the company for less than 15 days, the employer does not owe him/her remuneration for a public holiday falling after the end of the employment agreement.
- If the employee has a seniority in the company, without any interruption attributable to him/her, for a period of 15 days to one month, the employer shall be obliged to pay remuneration for the public holiday(s) occurring within the 14-day period following the end of the employment agreement.
- Provided that the employee has a seniority in the company, without interruption attributable to him/her, for a period of more than one month, the employer shall continue to be obliged to pay remuneration for public holidays occurring within 30 days of the end of the employment contract.
In case the former employee already has started a new employment, he or she will not longer be entitled to this payment since the former employee will receive the payment of the public holiday from the new employer.
Draw up your training plan!
All private sector enterprises employing at least 20 workers must draw up a training plan for their employees.
The training plan lists the formal and informal training courses as well as the target group of employees for which they are intended.
The employee training plan is concluded for a minimum duration of 1 year.
Employers had until 31 March 2023 to draw up a training plan to be implemented in their company.
Conditions for entitlement to interruption allowance in the context of time credit and thematic leave have been adjusted.
There is a possibility in Belgium for employees to reduce their working time in the context of time credit and thematic leave (e.g., care for a sick child or parental leave). These reductions in working time entitle the employee to an allowance granted by the NEO.
As from February 2023, the conditions for being entitled to these interruption allowance have changed.
If you need more information about time credit and/or thematic leave and the changes regarding entitlement to the allowance, please contact us.
Bonus plan/CBA nr. 90: deadline end of April
Every employee can grant his employees a bonus based on collective goals that need to be reached within a reference period in the company.
To do so the employer must decide to which reference period the collective goals will apply. If this is the calendar year 2023, the collective bargaining agreement or deed of accession must be filed utterly on 30 April 2023.
Two-yearly analysis report in the company of the remuneration
Companies that employ at least 50 employees on average should draw up a detailed analysis of the remuneration structure within the company every 2 years, which will allow to determine whether the company has a gender-neutral remuneration policy.
The report must be submitted to the works council or, in its absence, to the union delegation by 31 March 2023.
If the employer fails to do so, he will be penalized with a level 2 penalty.
Employers who dismiss an employee must provide them with an outplacement offer, provided that certain conditions are fulfilled.
A difference must be made between the general outplacement and the special outplacement scheme, where the most important difference is that for the special scheme there is a condition where the employee must be at least 45 years old.
The employer who neglects to provide the dismissed employee who is entitled to it, with a special outplacement scheme can be sanctioned with a fine of €1.800.
The Group of 10 (the social partners) has now decided in a social agreement that this sanction will continue to apply for the special outplacement scheme.
New amounts cost proper to the employer
From 15 February 2023, changes have been made for the following flat expense allowances accepted by the NSSO:
• expense allowance for Clothing:
➢ Work clothes (purchase): 2.04 euro per day (prior: 1.84 euro);
➢ Work clothes (maintenance): €2.04 per day (prior: €1.84);
➢ Employee's clothing (maintenance and wear): 1.02 euro per day (prior: 0.92 euro).
• expense allowance for short missions abroad:
When an employee makes business trips abroad, he can receive a flat-rate allowance for meals and minor expenses.
From 15 February 2023, the cost of breakfast will be integrated into the maximum accommodation allowance (hotel costs = accommodation and breakfast costs).
Deadline employment plan for employees who have an age of 45 years or more
Every employer who employs more than 20 employees has to provide his employees with an employment plan for employees who have reached the age of 45 years and more.
The employer had to do this annually and utterly by 31 March 2023.
The employer must submit the draft plan to the works council within three months of the close of the financial year. If there is no works council, the employer needs to submit the plan to the trade union delegation. If there is no union delegation in the company either, the employer must submit the draft to the Committee for Prevention and Protection at Work or - in the absence of a committee - to the employees.
For the number of employees, it is important to know that since January 2013, employers have had to proceed with a counting of their employees every four years to determine whether they need to draw up an employment plan for the employees over 45 years of age. This means that as of January 2021 a new counting period has started. So, employees who employed more than 20 workers in January 2021 are required to provide an employment plan for the employees of 45 years and older.
If an employer employed fewer than 20 employees at the time of the counting in January 2021, he should do nothing during 2023 and 2024.
If you wish to receive a template of such a plan, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Forecast salary indexation
Please find on the following page the forecast of salary indexation for your Joint labour committee (sector).
Please note that this is a forecast so the percentage or the moment of indexation may change.
Bonus Joint Labour Committee 200
The bonus for the Joint Labour Committee 200 amounts to 307.94 EUR as from 2023 (unless converted into an equivalent benefit).
This bonus will be processed on the payslip of June 2023 based on effective and equivalent work performed (employment) during the reference period.
The eco vouchers to be provided to the employees subject to Joint Labour Committee 200 amount to maximum 250 EUR and will be processed in June 2023 based on effective and equivalent work performed (employment) during the reference period.
Provisions holiday pay of 2022
The amounts of the provisions of the holiday pay for 2023 that were booked on the balance sheet on December 31, 2022 and that can be accepted as professional expenses, have recently been determined.
The provisions for the holiday payment in 2023 shall only be regarded as “tax deductible professional expenses” to the extent that they do not exceed the following limits:
- 18,20% of the fixed and variable remuneration granted in 2022 to white-collar employees reduced with the additional holiday pay (*) that was granted in 2022.
- 10,27% of 108/100 of the gross remuneration granted to blue-collar employees and apprentices in 2022.
Variable remuneration refers to the normal periodic (not fixed) remuneration such as commissions, premiums, wages for overtime … The holiday pay itself the year-end premium or other similar allowances may not be included in the basis for calculating the holiday provision.
(*) This concerns the holiday pay for days on which white-collar workers have taken additional holidays, because they were not yet entitled to legal holidays at the start or resumption of their employment. The additional holiday pay corresponds to the basic wage for the days of additional holidays taken and is financed by a pre-taking on the statutory double holiday pay of the following year.
Don’t miss the other deadlines!
Belgian social security contributions
30 April Balance Q1/2023 (January – March)
5 May 1st advance of Q2/2023
5 June 2nd advance of Q2/2023
5 July 3rd advance of Q2/2023
31 July Balance Q2/2023 (April – June)
Wage withholding tax
15 May April 2023
15 June May 2023
15 July June 2023
12 August July 2023
May or June 2023
Bonus JLC 200
If you wish to receive more information or assistance on the topics above, please don’t hesitate to contact us.