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What you need to know as an employer about corona premiums

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As in previous years, it is currently raining sectoral wage agreements. A sectoral wage agreement imposes certain obligations on employers and employees who fall within the scope of the sector in question for which an agreement has been concluded. The specificity of such a sector agreement is that it is tailor-made for a sector/parliamentary committee. Employers employing white-collar employees falling within PC 200 will therefore have to comply with a different agreement than employers employing white-collar employees falling within PC 209.
This year it was decided in most joint committees to make the granting of 'corona premiums' compulsory, albeit subject to certain conditions.


What are corona premiums?

Corona bonuses should be compulsorily awarded in the form of the consumption vouchers introduced earlier. Thus, although the term "corona premium" suggests that it is a cash bonus, this is not the case.
Consumption vouchers are very similar to meal vouchers, except that they can be used more broadly: workers can use their consumption vouchers to pay in the hospitality, cultural and sports sectors, and retail stores. Like meal vouchers, they are issued by a fixed set of providers: sodexo, edenred, etc.


What is the cost?

The consumption voucher is completely free of social security and tax contributions on the part of employees. On the employers' side, there is a special contribution of 16.5%. In other words, for a consumption voucher with a gross amount of EUR 500, the employee is left with the same amount as a net benefit, while the total wage cost for the employer is EUR 582.50.
Like most other bonuses - but unlike meal vouchers - the consumption voucher is fully deductible as a professional expense.
The maximum amount of consumption vouchers that an employer can grant - voluntarily or otherwise - is EUR 500 per employee.


As an employer, how do you know if you are obligated to grant a corona premium?

Although people in most sectors have moved to the mandatory allocation of a corona premium, this obligation is not unconditional. As a rule, only those employers who achieved "good results" in recent years will be required to grant a premium on a mandatory basis.

For example, in most sectors they have linked the mandatory award to a positive operating result, and an increase in turnover in the (calendar) years 2019 and 2020.
Because each sector has its own nuances, it is important to find out to which joint committee the employees in your company belong and then to check which conditions the sector agreement imposes exactly. It is best to contact your social secretariat for this. Your accountant can then use your company figures to check whether a "good result" has actually been achieved and whether you, as an employer, are therefore obliged to grant a premium.


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