In order to reduce the mobility problem in Belgium and to make a positive impact towards the environment, the Belgian government evaluated different alternatives for the company car during the last months.
After the introduction of the ‘cash for car system’ or mobility allowance, the Belgian government voted on a second alternative, the mobility budget.
Whereas the mobility allowance allows employees to exchange their (existing) company car for cash, the mobility budget offers more perspective and let employees chose between different possibilities.
The mobility budget and the changes on the mobility allowance entered into force as from March 1, 2019.
For more information regarding these two systems we refer to our Mazars Info newsletter of April 2019.
Benefits granted by a foreign company
As announced in our Mazars Info newsletter of March 2019, the Belgian government decided that all benefits granted by a foreign (group) company to a Belgian employee, who is taxable in Belgium, must be reported on the Belgian tax form 281.10 as from January 1, 2019. Through this measure, Belgian tax authorities will try to reduce the risk of undeclared income (such as bonusses, options and RSU’s) granted by a group company to employees of a Belgian employer, part of the same group.
Next to this new reporting obligation (that already existed for stock options falling within the scope of the Belgian stock option law granted by foreign group companies to Belgian employees), Belgian wage withholding taxes must also be withheld on these benefits as from March 1, 2019.
For more information, we refer to our Mazars Info newsletter of March 2019.
Child benefit fund
The child benefit has undergone a thorough reform in Belgium. As from January 1, 2019 each region applies its own child benefit system.
Before January 1, 2019 the affiliation towards a child benefit fund was considered as a formality of the employer. As from 2019, employees will have to choose themselves which child benefit fund they wish to receive their child benefit from.
As employer you could inform your employees who never received child benefit that in case they wish to receive child benefit (after January 1, 2019), the employees will have to make an affiliation towards a child benefit fund of their own choice. The employees that are already receive child benefit before January 1, 2019 will switch automatically to the new system of the same child fund where the employer is currently affiliated with. No action is required by the employees.
Bonus joint labour committee 200
The bonus joint labour committee 200 (JLC 200) amounts to 263,02 EUR as from 2019. This bonus will be processed on the payslip of June 2019 on the basis of effective and equivalent work performed (employment) in the course of the reference period.
The eco vouchers – granted to employees falling under JLC 200 - amounts to maximum 250 EUR and will be processed in June 2019 on the basis of effective and equivalent work performed (employment) in the course of the reference period.
For employees falling under JLC 200, the double holiday pay is paid out in May or June and is in principle based on the monthly gross salary of that month. Under certain circumstances double holiday pay is also due on variable salary.
Wage norm 2019-2020
Two-yearly, the social partners and the government determine the wage norm (= wage margin) for the following two years. The wage norm indicates how much the average wage cost per employee can increase during these two years.
The wage norm in Belgium has been established with a view to eliminate the wage cost handicap compared to our neighboring countries. In order to avoid higher wage costs than in our neighboring countries and our trading partners, the wage norm sets a limit, which may not be exceeded.
The most important goal of this wage norm is to re-balance the purchase power of the consumers and the competitiveness of our companies.
The maximum increase of the wage costs for the period 2019-2020 amounts to 1,1%. This percentage covers a period of 2 years, until December 31, 2020. It does not involve a wage increase of 1,1% in 2019 and a wage increase in 2020. This salary increase is added on top of the yearly indexation and wage scales foreseen by JLC 200.
Recent news shows that due to the recent strikes in February and the upcoming elections in May, there would still be room for negotiation and changes with regard to the 1.1% percentage. We will keep you informed about the new developments.
Non-recurring result tied bonus for 2019
The system of the non-recurring result tied bonuses gives employers the possibility to grant their employees tax-friendly bonusses in case the group of employees attains a common goal during a well-defined reference period.
This benefit results in a favorable treatment when it comes to Belgian income tax and social security contributions. The allocated benefit is not subject to withholding tax, is tax deductible as a business expense and is not taken into account for the calculation of the indemnity in lieu of notice and the holiday pay. It is however subject to a special employer’s contribution of 33% and a solidarity contribution of 13,07% for the employee.
The non-recurring result tied bonus should be considered as a tax exempt amount, provided that the maximum amount of 3.383,00 EUR / year per employee (amount of 2019) is not exceeded.
In order to implement a system of non-recurring result tied bonuses, a bonus plan should be deposited a specific procedure.
The bonus plan can still be implemented after the plan’s reference period has started, but only provided that 1/3rd of the reference period has not yet passed. As a consequence, employers could still implement such a system of non-recurring result tied bonuses with income year 2019 as a reference period, provided that the bonus plan is being deposited before April 30, 2019.
Please contact us, in case you would like our assistance to process the implementation of a system of non-recurring result tied bonuses for your employees.
Social Inspection: Specific checks
As every year, the Federal Public Service of employment, labour and social dialogue publishes their action plan that was drafted together with the government, inspection authorities and social partners in order to ‘stop’ social fraud.
Since 2018, the efforts of the inspection services are focused on industries where social fraud is most prevalent. In those particular industries the social inspection services will carry out ‘specific checks’, which means that on predetermined dates inspection services of various Public Services collaborate and carry out mutual inspections.
The specific checks are primarily for informative and preventative purposes, however, in the event of serious violations, the inspection services will act decisively and, if necessary, verbalize the violations.
After specific checks in the cleaning industry, construction industry and electrotechnical industry, more specific checks are scheduled for 2019.
Taxi and transportation industry : May 19, 2019
Hotel, restaurant and hospitality industry : July 6, 2019
Agriculture and horticulture industry : September 24, 2019
Carwash industry : November 22, 2019
Our specialists can assist you in the preparation of these specific checks and/or provide you with advisory services regarding the employment of foreign employees.
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