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Payroll administration Q4

1. Setting up a split bill arrangement in order to avoid the charging of a benefit in kind mobile phone

There is a benefit in kind if an employee can also use the mobile phone provided by the employer privately. In Belgium, the benefit in kind on which social security and income taxes are due is estimated on a fixed amount:

The total value of the benefit in kind for a mobile phone with a data and telephone subscription therefore amounts to € 144 per year, i.e. € 12 per month.

The tax authorities recently clarified that if a system is introduced in which the employee has to pay this private use if a certain limit is exceeded (a split bill), no taxable benefit in kind has to be charged. This applies both to the mobile phone and to the telephone costs (data and telephone subscription) provided that:

  • the private use is invoiced directly to the employee by the provider;
  • there is a maximum limit for both the data and telephone subscription and this limit is set according to “serious standards” (realistic).

The NSSO (National Social Security Office) seems to be even more flexible. It does not require that the private use be invoiced directly to the employee by the provider. Nor should the maximum limit apply to both the data and telephone subscription.

2. Eco vouchers

Attention: in a number of Joint Committees, eco vouchers must be granted. This is the case in joint committees 111.1, 149.01 and 209.
Below you will find an overview of the amount and the date of granting:

Part-time employees or employees who entered or left employment during the reference period are entitled to a pro rata allocation.

3. Paid educational leave

Now that the school year has started, the employer will also start receiving applications for paid educational leave. Educational leave means that the employee who follows a certain training may, under certain conditions, be absent from work for a certain number of hours while retaining the (limited) salary.

The employee who wants to make use of his/her right to educational leave must in principle provide the employer with the school’s enrolment certificate by 31 October at the latest. Both the timetable of the courses followed and the name of the training must be stated on this certificate. In addition, the employee must also provide the employer with a certificate of attendance every trimester.

After completion of the training, the employer can be reimbursed a fixed amount as compensation. The employer needs the original registration certificates to be able to submit a reimbursement file!

An important point of attention is that the employer cannot refuse the educational leave, but he must agree to its planning. In addition, the application gives the employee a protection against dismissal, which implies that the employee may only be dismissed for reasons other than the application.

4. Trainee bonus

As of 1 September 2018, the regulations on the Flemish trainee bonus have been amended. The trainee bonus is a premium for every employer who trains or employs a young person, following courses within a so-called “alternating education plan”.

The bonus is paid after the end of a school year and can be obtained a maximum of 3 times. For the first and second granting, the bonus amounts to € 500, for the third granting to € 750.

Feel free to contact us if you would like more information about the conditions and formalities.

5. Impact revision of posting directive limited for posting to Belgium

An employee is posted when he is sent abroad by the employer to work there for a certain period of time. In the case of posting within the EU, according to the Regulation 883/2004, during this period the worker remains in principle subject to the social security system of the country where he is normally employed. The posting directive determines which employment and wage conditions of the host member state must be applied during the posting period. The aforementioned directive was converted into Belgian law by the Act of 5 March 2002.

The revision of the posting directive has received considerable media attention. The main key points are as follows:

  • Extension of the wage conditions of the host member state that must be respected during the period of posting;
  • After 12 months (extendable to 18 months), posted workers are entitled to all the working conditions of the host member state with the exception of the procedures, formalities and conditions of the conclusion and termination of the employment contract, as well as the supplementary pension scheme;
  • Application of the “equal treatment” principle for temporary work for posted workers.

The impact of the revision of the posting directive is limited for postings to Belgium due to the fact that the Act of 5 March 2002 was already stricter than what was imposed by the posting directive. However, the revision of the posting directive may well have major consequences for posting to other EU member states.

Please note that the member states have two years to convert the revision of the directive into national law. So only after two years will more local legislation apply to postings within the EU.

Publication date: 21 September 2018

BTW: BE 0449.399.317
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