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09.07.2024

Your payroll administration Q3.2024

The third quarter has already started. What does this mean for your payroll administration? We list the details below.

Expected wage indexations: keep your payroll administration up-to-date

Belgium operates a system of automatic wage indexation. The concrete provisions on this are determined at the level of your sector.

Indexations as of 01/07/2024

Wages were indexed by 3.34% in the metal sector (JC 209 & JC 111) and by 1.24916% in the construction sector (JC 124).

Prognosis

  • In the construction sector, wages are indexed quarterly. For this year, we expect another indexation of 0.54487% on 01/10/2024.
  • In the self-employed retail sector (JC 201), they expect an indexation of 2% on 01/10/2024.
  • In the supplementary sector for white-collar workers (JC 200), an indexation of 3.31% is expected on 01/01/2025.
  • In the hospitality sector (JC 302), an indexation of 3.33% is expected on 01/01/2025.

Increase in home working allowance

From 1 June 2024, the maximum home working allowance will be EUR 154.74 per month.

You can grant this lump-sum net allowance to your employee(s) if your employee works from home on a regular and structural basis (i.e. at least one day a week on average per month). Through this allowance, you as an employer can intervene in the expenses that your employee has to incur in the context of working from home.

Keep in mind that you must always be able to justify the granting of this lump-sum net allowance. We therefore recommend drawing up a teleworking policy to clearly define all the necessary modalities. We are at your disposal if you require support in drawing up your homeworking policy and/or teleworking policy.

Mobility

Several indexations will take place in the coming quarter. From 1 July, both the maximum quarterly mileage allowance and the annual mileage allowance will be indexed. These indexations relate to professional travel by private motorised transport. In addition, the mobility allowance for travel time will also be indexed.

Mileage allowance for professional travel by private vehicle

In the third quarter of 2024, the maximum exempted amount of the mileage allowance for professional travel increases slightly. During the period from 1 July to 30 September, this allowance will be EUR 0.4297 per kilometre (previous amount: EUR 0.4265 per kilometre).

The annual mileage allowance will also increase to EUR 0.4415 per kilometre for the period from 1 July 2024 to 30 June 2025 (previous amount: EUR 0.4280 per kilometre).

Mobility allowance for travel time

The mileage allowance basically reimburses the cost of the travel. In addition, some sectors such as the Metal and Construction sectors provide for a mobility allowance that reimburses not the cost but the time of the travel. The maximum exempt amount of this mobility allowance has been increased from EUR 0.1579 to EUR 0.1929 per kilometre since 1 July.

Federal learning account

Launched on 1 June 2024, the Federal Learning Account (FLA) is an electronic application of the federal government in which all employers are required to register training entitlements and training taken for their employees. You have until 1 December 2024 to make registrations of training taken from 1 January 2024 to 30 September 2024.

From 1 January 2025, the government itself will register and calculate a number of data such as personal data, the initial training entitlement per employee per calendar year and the remaining balance of outstanding training entitlements. This task will be assigned to the non-profit organisation Sigedis. Sigedis will also inform your employees on entering into service and once a year about the operation of FLA via the eBox.

Thus, the registration of training data from 1 January 2024 to 30 September 2024 should be entered into the system by yourself.

What information will you find in the FLA?

  • Employer details: company number and company size;
  • Employee data: identity of the person: surname, first name, date and place of birth, address, Belgian national registry number;
  • The work schedule in which one is employed as referred to in Article 50, §3 of the Law of 3 October 2022;
  • The relevant joint committee(s) or joint subcommittee(s) to which the employee belongs;
  • The registration number of the collective labour agreement on which the individual training entitlement or sectoral training entitlements and training credit may be based;
  • The number of training days to which the employee is entitled in the current year pursuant to the individual or sectoral training entitlement(s);
  • The number of training days taken and the number of remaining days to be taken or the number of days to be carried over to the following year;
  • The training taken and their relevant basic characteristics, in particular start, end, nature, outcome and any funding of these training;
  • The outstanding current value of the training credit;
  • The initial total amount, the remaining amount, the final spending date and the payment details of the amounts to finance the employability measures;

Obligations for the employer

  • Verify or register personal data of new employees within 60 days of joining the company and update them as necessary;
  • Register the training taken every calendar quarter and at the latest within one month after the end of the quarter;
  • Verify all data registered or calculated by others and change as necessary;
  • Sigedis calculates training entitlement from 1 January 2025. The employer should verify this within 30 calendar days;
  • Training providers can also enter data themselves in the FLA. The employer should verify this data before the deadline (month after the quarter ends);
  • Employees who registered their e-mail address at https://www.mycareer.be or shared it via their eBox will automatically receive this information via their eBox. If this is not the case, the employer must provide this information to the employee via a standard document that will be provided by Sigedis. The employer has 30 calendar days from the time this document is available for this purpose.

Which individual training entitlements should be registered?

In the FLA, you will find three markers for training entitlements:

  • Statutory training entitlement (mandatory): this refers to the individual training entitlement. The individual training entitlement depends on the number of employees and the sector;
  • Supplementary sectoral entitlement;
  • Additional entitlement at company level: any additional training entitlements you grant as an employer at company level.

What data on the training taken do you need to register?

  • Training name;
  • Start and end date;
  • Number of hours or days;
  • Attendance certificate (doesn’t have to be uploaded);
  • Formal/informal training;
  • Training status: planned, passed, taken, declined;
  • Place of training: online, on-site,… (not compulsory);
  • Training in FLA scope? Yes/no;

In other words, there is a registration requirement for all training, both within and outside the scope of the FLA.

Which training fall within the scope of FLA?

  • Formal training: this is training offered by you as an employer or by an external training provider, organised by lecturers or speakers for a group and which take place in a place that is clearly separate from the workplace, such as webinars, seminars, conferences, lectures, training given by external bodies such as the professional federation, etc. The following training is not considered formal training: trade union training, paid educational leave, Flemish Training Leave and outplacement;
  • Informal training: this is training in which the employee largely determines the time, place and content himself, depending on the work and individual needs, such as training on the job, coaching, e-learning, workshops, study visits, etc. The following are not considered informal training: onboarding without knowledge transfer, daily work meetings, brainstorming, explanation of company applications, etc;
  • Training on well-being policy such as psychosocial well-being, stress and burnout, ergonomics, sustainable employability, vitality,…
  • Legally required training such as fire safety, first aid course, internal prevention advisor, confidential advisor,…

All training falling within the FLA must be related to the exercise of the professional activity and aim to transfer knowledge and increase skills. In addition, you as the employer must pay for the training and the employee is paid during the training.

Supervision

Once a quarter, a list of employers who have not fulfilled their obligations under the Federal Learning Account will be compiled. Employers will be notified of this through their eBox. They will then be given 30 calendar days to regulate their company. If they still fail to comply with their obligations by then, this will be passed on to the NLC, the joint committee and the FPS ELSD (‘blacklist’).

Employees can consult their training entitlements and training taken at https://www.mycareer.be.

Do you need additional clarification on FLA or would you like support with the registration? If so, please contact us.

Obligation to apply for career break electronically

Until now, employees and employers could apply for career breaks, time credit or thematic leave (such as parental leave) to the NEO on paper or electronically.

From 1 July 2024, there will be an obligation within all sectors, except education, to submit the application electronically to the NEO. If you have any questions or would like support with the electronic application, you can always contact Van Havermaet.

Increased contribution for commuting by public transport

From 1 June 2024, the employer’s minimum contribution for commuting by public transport increases. In accordance with National Labour Council collective labour agreement No 19/9, private sector employees are entitled to the reimbursement of a minimum share of the costs if they travel to work by public transport.

For the rail season pass (monthly, quarterly, Flex or annual), the contribution will be increased to 71.8% of SNCB’s current fares.

For the other public transport modes (tram, bus or metro), this means:

  • Fixed price: contribution based on 71.8% of the actual transport price, limited to EUR 43;
  • Price in relation to distance: the contribution is the same as for the rail pass, limited to 75% of the actual fare.

Note that collective labour agreement No 19/09 sets a minimum contribution by the employer. Consequently, it can be decided at sector level or company level to provide for a higher contribution. This is the case, for example, within joint committee 200, which provides for a contribution of 80% of the price of a rail season pass.

Dismissal protection when participating in fertility treatment or medically assisted reproduction programme

Since 28 April 2024, the Labour Law has provided specific dismissal protection for employees (m/f/x) undergoing fertility treatment or a medically assisted reproduction programme.

The employee concerned must notify the employer in writing of the fact of receiving such treatment and must provide proof of this by means of a medical certificate. The protection period starts when the employee notifies the employer of the absence, justified by the treatment received, via a medical certificate and ends at the expiry of a period of 2 months counting from the notification. Consequently, any absence on account of participation in treatment will entail 2 months of dismissal protection. During this period, the employer may not unilaterally terminate the employment contract except for reasons unrelated to the absences associated with the treatment.

If the employee is nevertheless dismissed during this period and the employer cannot prove reasons foreign to the absences under the fertility treatment or medically assisted reproduction programme, the employer is liable to pay compensation equal to the gross salary for six months.

Student jobs

Naturally, the summer months always bring a spike in student work. Below, we briefly list which are the main perimeters of this student work:

  • Up to the age of 18, students are entitled to the Growth Package (Flemish child benefit), regardless of the number of hours they work. From 18 onwards, students may work a maximum of 600 hours per year under a student contract (and 80 hours per month under another contract);
  • The salary received by the student is exempt from ordinary social security contributions up to a maximum of 600 hours, but subject to a solidarity contribution of 2.71% for the student and 5.43% for the employer;
  • In 2024 (assessment year 2025), the student’s net means of subsistence may not exceed EUR 7,290.00 (corresponding to EUR 12,422.50 gross) in order to remain fiscally dependent on the parents;
  • Finally, specific rules on the working time of underage students also apply. For instance, underage students may not work for more than 4.5 hours continuously and underage students are entitled to an hour’s break if the working day lasts more than six hours. In principle, underage students are also not allowed to work on Sundays and public holidays. In case of a sectoral deviation (e.g. JC No 302), one Sunday out of two can be worked. Night work (between 8pm and 6am) is also excluded. For 16+ students, however, this is increased to 10 pm and 6 am or 11 pm and 7 am.

Amendments to social penal code

On 21 June, the Act amending the Social Criminal Code and various labour law provisions was published in the Belgian Official Gazette. This law amends a whole series of provisions of the Social Penal Code. Below you will find the most important changes in a nutshell. A more detailed analysis will follow in a separate contribution.

Increased penalties

Level 1 and 2 penalties remain unchanged, while Level 3 and 4 penalties are significantly increased. This table – which already takes into account the surcharge (x8) – gives an overview of the penalties.

The criminal fine for legal entities for Level 4 violations will now be EUR 24,000 – 576,000.

Amended penalty levels and new violations

The new Social Penal Code provides for a more severe punishment for several violations, including pay violations and violations against the designation of the psychosocial prevention advisor and confidential advisor. On the other hand, other violations will be less severely punished in the future. These include, for example, the publication of public holidays, the safekeeping of part-time workers’ employment contracts and entries in the work regulations.

Finally, the new Social Penal Code also introduces some new violations, for example on the time tracking system in sliding work schedules and the payment of eco vouchers.

Entry into force

The new provisions of the Social Penal Code – with the exception of provisions for legal persons (April 2026) – will come into force on 1 July 2024.

© Van Havermaet International 2024

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