YOUR PAYROLL ADMINISTRATION IN Q1 – 2022
The holidays have just ended and with them comes the first quarter.
What does this mean for your payroll administration? We have already listed the particulars.
1. MODIFICATION OF TARGET GROUP REDUCTION FIRST RECRUITMENT
In the past, the Belgian legislator introduced the target group reduction for first recruitments, in order to reduce labour costs.
A new employer hiring the first six employees enjoyed:
- a full remission of basic social security contributions at the expense of the employer for an indefinite period for the first employee;
- a reduction in social security contributions at the expense of the employer for a number of quarters for the second to the sixth employee.
At present, employers can therefore benefit from a full remission for a first recruitment without any time limit. However, as of 1 January 2022, the amount of the NSSO reduction for the first recruitment will be limited to EUR 4,000 per quarter. This limitation applies both to employers who made use of this target group reduction before 2022 and to those who will make use of it from 2022 onwards. The reduction does remain unlimited in time.
The target group reduction for the second to sixth employee remains unchanged.
2. WAGE THRESHOLDS 2022
Traditionally, the wage thresholds are adjusted again.
These wage thresholds are relevant for assessing the validity and/or elaboration of:
- A non-competition clause: in a non-competition clause, the employee will not engage in any similar activity when leaving the company, be it running a business or being employed by a competitor.
- An arbitration clause: in an arbitration clause, the employee and the employer agree in advance to submit any disputes arising from the contract to arbitration.
- A training clause: in a training clause, an employee, who during the execution of his employment contract is allowed to follow a training at the expense of the employer, will pay back a part of the training costs to the latter, if he leaves the company before the end of an agreed period.
From 1 January 2022, the following gross annual wage thresholds will apply to:
- the non-compete clause, with the exception of the sales representatives & the arbitration clause: EUR 73,571.
- the non-compete clause applicable to sales representatives & the training clause: EUR 36,785.
3. LEAVE OF ABSENCE FOR CORONA TESTING
Since 19 November 2021, an employee who is advised by the Self Assessment Testing Tool to be tested for the corona virus may be absent from work with retention of his wages at the employer’s expense. This was laid down in CLA No. 160, which ceases to apply on 28 February 2022.
The Self Assessment Testing Tool provides an absence certificate. The employee must immediately notify the employer of his/her absence and submit the certificate of absence to the employer.
The employee who cannot telework may be absent from work for the time necessary to have the test administered and to obtain the result of that test, with a maximum of 36 hours from the time the absence certificate is issued by the Self Assessment Testing Tool.
The employee who can telework may be absent from work for the time necessary to take a test. In this case, the employee continues to carry out the employment contract by teleworking until the result of the test is obtained, with a maximum duration of 36 hours from the time the certificate of absence is issued by the Self Assessment Testing Tool.
The duration of the absence varies depending on whether the employee is able to telework or not, but in any case the maximum duration is 36 hours from the time the certificate of absence is issued. Every employee can make use of this leave of absence a maximum of 3 times in the period up to 28 February 2022.
4. ABOLITION OF SICK NOTE FOR 1 DAY
Today, when an employee falls ill, he or she must immediately notify the employer. The employee must deliver a sick note to the employer if this obligation is provided for in the work regulations or a CLA.
The budget agreement now provides for the abolition of the sick note for absences of 1 day due to illness and this three times a year.
The abolition only applies to large enterprises. For SMEs (employers with less than 50 employees) nothing changes.
However, this has yet to be put into official regulations.
5. MODIFICATION RD 213 (CONSTRUCTION)
In JC 124, companies may exceed the limits of normal working hours by 180 hours per calendar year in periods of intense activity / in the summer period, with a maximum of 1 extra hour per day and subject to compliance with the implementation modalities.
As a reward for this extra work, the employee can choose to receive either a 20% bonus on the extra hour, or he can recuperate the extra working time. This recuperation of working time, also called compensation rest, must always take place within 6 months.
Recently, a draft law amending RD No. 213 was passed in the Chamber. This draft law stipulates that:
- 1.5 hours extra per day can be performed instead of 1 hour;
- the granting of compensation rest will only have to take place within 12 months instead of 6 months.
The amendment has yet to be published in the Belgian Official Gazette, before it can be applied.
6. EXTENSION OF VALIDITY OF MEAL VOUCHERS AND ECO VOUCHERS
During the corona crisis, the government had already decided to extend the validity period of meal vouchers and eco vouchers.
The program law of 14 December 2021 now stipulates that eco vouchers that expired in 2021 will be reissued to the employee for the same amount as the eco vouchers that expired in 2021, without any additional cost to the employee or his employer. These vouchers will again have a validity period of 24 months.
The same applies to meal vouchers, which have expired in 2021; these vouchers will again have a validity period of 12 months.
7. CO2 REFERENCE VALUES COMPANY CAR
The CO2 reference values for calculating the benefit in kind for company cars for 2022 are known. The values will decrease, so the benefit in kind will increase considerably in 2022.
From 1 January 2022, the reference CO2 emissions will be:
- for petrol, LPG or NG vehicles: 91 g/km;
- for diesel vehicles: 75 g/km.
8. IMPACT OF CORONA TELEWORK ON CROSS-BORDER EMPOLYMENT
Applicable social security
The increased use of teleworking as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, will not be taken into account when determining the applicable social security legislation. This is an important position taken by the NSSO, since, due to the corona measures, the employee is obliged to work more from home and, according to the designation rules of the European Regulations, this could lead to the authorisation of another member state regarding social security.
In concrete terms, the periods of teleworking on the Belgian territory by a cross-border employee will, by way of exception, not be taken into account for the determination of the applicable social security legislation. After all, it is the member state that, on the basis of the “normal” work pattern, will be authorised for the affiliation and collection of social security contributions. This “neutralisation period” is only valid for a limited time, with a foreseen end date of 30 June 2022.
The NSSO only accepts the above-mentioned “neutralisation period” if the changed work pattern is due to the current corona measures and on the condition that the work pattern “normalises” again as soon as the restrictions have been lifted.
In addition, the telework that was introduced as a result of the corona crisis may also change the tax position of the cross-border employee and the question of which country is authorised to levy taxes on the employee’s wage.
The principle put forward by the tax authorities is in line with the NSSO’s vision, so the situation will have no impact on the tax status of the cross-border employee.
The agreements that the Belgian tax authorities concluded earlier with the tax authorities of our neighbouring countries Luxembourg, France, the Netherlands and Germany have also been extended until 30 June 2022. Until 30 June 2022, the teleworking days due to the corona crisis will therefore be considered by the tax authorities as days worked in the country where one normally works.
For countries with which Belgium has not concluded an arrangement and therefore an amendment, the general principles of the Double Taxation Treaty apply.
 Please let us know if you need any further information on the implementation modalities.
 Applicable Regulations 883/2004 and 987/2009.
 This date could still be revised depending on the corona measures.
 Such as, for example, compulsory teleworking.
 Thus, the actual/physical employment in the relevant state of employment and/or the 183-day rule will have to be considered.