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What social changes should you as an employer take into account soon?

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Social law is and will continue to be an evolving branch of law. In any case, the government, the social partners and the legislator have not been idle in recent months. In this article we give you the latest news. Do not forget our previously published article not to go through so that you are completely up-to-date.


Mandatory bicycle allowance from May 1, 2023

Although in some sectors a mandatory bicycle allowance has already been provided for employees who use bicycles for their commute to and from work, at present there is no general obligation to do so across all sectors.

This will change next week: the social partners within the National Labor Council have decided to as of May 1, 2023 this bicycle allowance generally required to make and this therefore across all sectors.

Employees will now be entitled to a bicycle allowance of EUR 0.27 per kilometer (to be indexed annually) and subject to the following conditions:

  • The employee uses the bicycle regular for his commuting;
  • Compensation will only be granted for a maximum of 20 kilometers per single trip (i.e., maximum for 40 kilometers per day);
  • The fee may also combined Be reimbursed for a other means of transportation, provided that the allowance (i) relates to a different part of the commute or (ii) the same commute traveled during different periods of the year.
  • The employee has a statement on honor completed and signed, indicating the number of commuting miles traveled and the number of days per month involved.


Invoking temporary unemployment gets a lot more expensive

In late March, government De Croo reached an agreement regarding the 2023 budget audit. One of the larger austerity measures consists of a reduction of the benefits for temporary unemployment.

Starting in 2024, benefits will be lump-sum based on 60% of pay (instead of at 65% on today).

This savings measure will apply to all systems of temporary unemployment, except for temporary unemployment in cases of force majeure.

To prevent lower-wage workers from suffering heavy income losses in the event of temporary unemployment, the government has shifted part of the bill to employers. Specifically, as an employer, you will have to pay a supplement have to pay on top of the benefits workers receive.


Additional vacation days for illness during leave of absence

Under European influence, Belgian vacation legislation was recently amended, specifically by the Royal Decree of Feb. 8, 2023.

As of Jan. 1, 2024 vacation days on which an employee becomes sick will be recoverable at a later time. Thus, until the end of 2023, an employee who becomes ill during his leave period will not yet be able to carry over those days to a later period.

Of course, the legislature does attach some conditions to this:

  • As an employer, you must immediately informed be brought from the residential address of the employee (if this is not his home address). After all, you still have the right to have a medical checkup by a checkup doctor.
  • The employee will have a medical certificate have to submit. In the future, the employee could use a model certificate for this purpose, but this is currently yet to be designed.
  • The employee will also expressly must questions to allow vacation days that coincide with sick days to be taken later.

The new regulations further provide that these additional vacation days can be taken within a period of 24 months after the end of the respective vacation year in which the disability occurs.

As an employer, how do you best deal with this?

It certainly seems appropriate to keep a strict watch on your employees' sick bills to be submitted. In principle, this is subject to a legal deadline of 2 working days from the day of incapacity or from the day of receiving the employer's request to submit a sick bill.

If the employee does not provide you with a sick bill within that 2-day period, then you do not have to pay him guaranteed wages for the sick days not covered (in a timely manner) by a sick bill.

Just know that since the end of last year - at least in companies with more than 50 employees - employees are no longer required to file a sick bill for the first day of disability. You can read more about this particular regulation in our previously published article.


New Flemish target group reduction

As of Oct. 1, 2023 will there be a new Flemish target group reduction, specifically for the recruitment of persons without recent sustained work experience. It will replace the current recruitment incentive for long-term job seekers.

Pro memorie: "target group reductions" are reductions in (employer) NSSO contributions with which to encourage employers to recruit or retain employees from certain target groups.

To benefit from this new target group reduction, the employee must meet the following conditions:

  • The employee must work in an establishment unit in the Flemish Region.
  • The employee must be registered as a non-working job seeker with the VDAB on the day before hiring.
  • His reference quarterly wage must be below a wage limit set by the Flemish Government.

Although the Flemish Government has already worked out the broad outlines of this new target group reduction, at present it is not yet clear exactly how much this NSSO reduction will amount to, for what period it will be granted, what is to be understood by "person without recent, sustainable work experience"...


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