On Sept. 9, 2023, a compromise was reached on the 2024 budget agreement. In this article, we compile the most important changes.
Expansion and revision of flexi jobs
Given the current tightness in the Belgian labor market, hiring flexi-jobbers is the solution of choice for a lot of entrepreneurs.
Until recently, flexi-jobs were only possible in, among others, the hospitality industry, supermarkets, retail... With the budget agreement, the number of sectors is greatly expanded. Concretely, you as an employer - in addition to the 10 current sectors - will also be able to use flexi-jobs in the following sectors:
- Food Sector
- Agriculture and horticulture sector
- Real estate
- Moving sector
- Buses and coaches
- Funeral industry
- Driving Schools
- Event Sector
- Public sports and culture sector.
Given that the extension of the flexi-job status was politically difficult, the government is also attaching some additional conditions to it:
- The sectoral scales that apply to regular workers should be respected (except in the hospitality sector), raising the minimum wage for flexi-jobs.
- There will be a income ceiling of ±12.EUR 000 per year (Converted, this amounts to about 500 hours per year). If you do earn more, you will no longer receive tax favorable treatment for that extra amount. For pensioners, however, there will be no ceiling: they can earn additional tax-free income without limit.
- The NSSO contribution that you as an employer pay on the flexi wage will increase from 25% to 28%.
Higher minimum wages
It was previously decided by the social partners to incrementally increase the so-called "guaranteed average minimum monthly income" (GMMMI), but this agreement had yet to be implemented by the government. On April 1, 2022, the minimum wage increased for the first time. From April 1, 2024, it will increase for a second time by EUR 50 net per month.
To reduce the extra cost for you as an employer, the government has also decided to adjust the wage limits of the structural reduction. Concretely, you as an employer will receive an additional so-called "low-wage discount" on your social security contributions.
Increase in activation fee
Furthermore, the activation contribution is also being tightened by the government. With the activation contribution, the government wants to avoid employers keeping (too many) employees while exempting them from benefits. Such contribution is increased to further strengthen the disincentive effect.
Increase in partial work resumption premium
Finally, the government has also committed to the reintegration of disabled workers. If you, as an employer, progressively re-employ an incapacitated employee, you can claim a work resumption premium of EUR 1,725 instead of the former EUR 1,000 from January 1, 2024.
VAT on demolition and reconstruction
A thorough reform is coming on the VAT rate for demolition and reconstruction. For private individuals, this will remain 6%. But the curtailment of the scope has far-reaching consequences for those calling on a construction promoter / developer. More on this in our previously published article.
VAT on energy-efficient homes
To financially help families and single people make their homes energy efficient, VAT on the installation of solar panels, heat pumps and solar water heaters was also reduced to 6%. However, this measure expires at the end of this year.
- After all, the government decided to for heat pumps only extend the reduced VAT rate of 6% for another year.
- The VAT on the installation of solar panels thus amounts to 21% again as of Jan. 1.
Please note, the above only applies to homes less than 10 years old (including new construction homes). A 6% regime already exists today for homes older than 10 years, and it remains unchanged.
Registration fee for ground lease and building lease
In addition to the VAT changes, the budget agreement also brings an important change in terms of the proportional registration fee for leaseholds and encroachments. Whereby the current rate of 2% will be increased to 5%. Thus, developers who set up a superstructure in order to sell the project piecemeal will have to be extra careful in their budgeting.
In addition, from January 1, 2024, the amount of refundable excise tax on professional diesel will decrease by EUR 10 per 1,000 liters. Another measure that will weigh heavily on the construction industry.
However, all of the above measures have yet to be enacted into law. As soon as we have more details, we will of course keep you informed.
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