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7.11.2022

Energy crisis: social support measures

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Federal

Measures for the entrepreneur as an employer

Temporary unemployment energy

A more lenient regime of temporary unemployment due to economic causes introduced, being "the temporary unemployment energy". If you wish to invoke this as an employer, you will have to meet one of the following conditions:

  • Either, purchases of energy products (including those other than natural gas and electricity) made up at least 3% of your company's value added (*) in 2021; 
  • Either doubled your final energy bill in the quarter before unemployment began compared to the bill for the same quarter of the previous year.  

(*) Based on the financial statements, the term added value means the difference between: 

  • The total amount of your sales plus other operating income, production in inventory and fixed assets produced; 
  • The total amount of purchases of trade goods, raw and auxiliary materials, plus purchases of services and miscellaneous goods.  

How the other conditions are to be concretely filled in is as yet unclear. 

Depending on the work shortage, as an employer you can following regulations enter:

  • An arrangement of full suspension, for a maximum of 4 consecutive weeks;
  • An arrangement of partial work, for up to 3 months (involving less than 3 days / week or less than 1 week / 2 weeks).

However, in order to do so, as an employer, you need to have the following formalities observe:

  • Send a form C106A-ENERGY to the RVA, at least 5 days before sending the first notice of anticipated unemployment to the RVA;
  • Notify your employees, the works council (or union representative) and the NEO of the anticipated unemployment at least 3 days before the first effective day of unemployment;
  • Report unemployment electronically to the NEO in advance on a monthly basis, and submit an electronic declaration to the NSSO.
  • Until 31/12/2022 must your not provide a monthly control card C3.2A to your employees.  

Caution: if you do wrongly place your employees on temporary unemployment, you will still have to pay your employees' wages for the unemployment days, even if no work was done! After all, the RVA can claim the benefits awarded for those days directly from you as an employer.

All employees placed on this regime - both clerical and blue-collar - will be entitled to a unemployment benefits of 70% of the (capped) gross salary. Currently, this capped gross pay is EUR 3,075.04. From this benefit, 15% withholding tax will be deducted. On top of this, you as an employer will have to pay a supplement of at least EUR 6.47 per day of temporary unemployment, unless your sectoral fund assumes (partial) payment of this.

The regime of temporary unemployment energy applies from Oct. 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023.

If you do not meet the above conditions to apply this regime, you can of course still invoke the classic regime of temporary unemployment for economic reasons.

 

'Special' amicable repayment plan social employer contributions

Furthermore, as an employer, you can amicable installments request if you are experiencing difficulties in paying employer social contributions. More specifically, it concerns the contributions for the third and fourth quarters of 2022, the first quarter of 2023 and the social contributions for the 2023 annual vacation and the rectifications of some contributions, which expire no later than June 30, 2023.

As an employer, you can get a postponement for up to 24 months. To this end, you will have to submit a reasoned request to the NSSO, in which you prove that the energy crisis complicates the payment of your social security contributions.  

These include "special" amicable repayment plans, meaning that penalties for late payments are charged only if you do not respect the repayment terms.  

 

Measures for the self-employed entrepreneur

Bridging law

Self-employed persons, helpers and assisting spouses who decide to interrupt or stop their activity because of the energy crisis will be able to appeal to the bridging duty. It should be a complete interruption of any professional activity during at least 7 consecutive calendar days.

To apply for this bridging right, you will have to justify in your application to the Social Security Fund why the significant increase in your production and/or professional costs due to the energy crisis requires you to interrupt or stop your activity. In order for your application to be declared admissible, you must demonstrate the following elements, among others:

  • The impact of the energy crisis on the production and/or professional costs of your activity;
  • A sharp increase in your (advance) bill for energy in 2022 compared to this one in 2021.

You will be able to demonstrate these elements through the following supporting documents:

  • Your 2021 and 2022 gas and/or electricity advance bills that show a significant increase in your energy costs; and
  • Proof of the portion of these energy costs in the total of your production costs/professional expenses (using a balance sheet or other documents).

Depending on how long you have to interrupt your activities, you will receive the following benefit:

 

I interrupt my activity ...

WITHDRAWAL

WITHOUT FAMILY BURDEN
Less than 7 days

EUR 0

EUR 0

Between 7 and 13 days

EUR 454.49

EUR 363.70

Between 14 and 20 days

EUR 908.97

EUR 727.41

Between 21 and 27 days

EUR 1,363.46

EUR 1,091.11

More than 28 days

EUR 1,817.94

EUR 1,454.81

 

The bridging duty because of the energy crisis that begins in the period of October 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023 will exceptionally not count toward the total allotment period of the classical bridging right over the entire career. These are benefits for the months of October 2022 through March 2023 and to preserve certain social rights granted for the first and second quarters of 2023.  

 

Deferring social contributions

Furthermore, any self-employed person, whether in main or secondary employment, whose activity has been severely affected by the energy crisis will be able to submit a written request for the payment of their social contributions by one year. This postponement can only be requested for the provisional social contribution of the fourth quarter of 2022 and for that of the first quarter of 2023.

To do so, you apply to your social insurance fund and this by December 15, 2022 (for fourth quarter 2022 contributions) or before March 15, 2023 (for first quarter 2023 contributions). Again, you will have to provide certain supporting documents, for which we refer back to the evidence to be provided under the bridging law.

If the deferral is granted, you will pay the contributions for the fourth quarter of 2022 no later than December 15, 2023 andthem for the first quarter of 2023 at the latest on 31 March 2024. Caution, if you fail to do so, increases will be due and benefits unlawfully enjoyed will be recovered!

 

Exemption from social security contributions

Furthermore, any self-employed person, whether in main or secondary employment, whose activity has been severely affected by the energy crisis will be able to submit a written request for the payment of their social contributions by one year. This postponement can only be requested for the provisional social contribution of the fourth quarter of 2022 and for this one from the first quarter of 2023 

To do this, you submit an application to your social insurance fund and this by December 15, 2022 (for fourth quarter 2022 contributions) or before March 15, 2023 (for first quarter 2023 contributions). Again, you will have to provide certain supporting documents, for which we refer back to the evidence to be provided under the bridging law. 

If the deferral is granted, you will pay the provisional contributions for the fourth quarter of 2022 no later than December 15, 2023 and these for the first quarter of 2023 no later than March 31, 2024. Caution, if you fail to do so, increases will be due and benefits unlawfully enjoyed will be recovered!

 

Reduction of social contributions

As a self-employed person in principal occupation or collaborating spouse, you can also submit a simplified application to exemption from payment For the provisional contribution for the fourth quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023. This application should no later than December 31, 2023 to occur and demonstrates the following elements:   

  • The impact of the energy crisis on the production and/or professional costs of your activity; 
  • A sharp increase in your (advance) energy bill in 2022 and/or 2023 relative to this one from 2021. 

If you want to apply for an exemption for other quarters, it will have to be done through the traditional exemption application. 

 

Installment plan

Finally, any self-employed person, who will make the social contribution of the fourth quarter of 2022 and/or the first quarter of 2023 cannot pay, a installment plan can apply for these quarters. The following deadlines apply:  

  • The contribution of the fourth quarter of 2022:  
    • If payment deferral was granted, you must apply for the repayment plan by December 15, 2023. This plan can be granted for up to 24 months.
    • If no payment extension was requested, you must request the installment plan by December 15, 2022. This plan can be granted for up to 36 months.  
  • The contribution of the first quarter of 2023:  
    • If payment deferral was granted, you must apply for the installment plan by March 31, 2024. This plan can be granted for up to 24 months.  
    • If no payment extension was requested, you must request the installment plan by March 31, 2023. This plan can be granted for up to 36 months.  

 

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