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A 2020 to-do list for employers in Belgium

Belgium
22.01.20
4
Written by
Claeys & Engels offers reassurance in the full range of human resources matters and fast, efficient and pragmatic legal advice.
What key reminders should employers in Belgium put in their diaries for 2020? This article sets out a month-by-month guide.

January

Targets, bonus plans

January: a new year, a new start. What are your company’s targets for the coming year? If you wish to reward employees who contribute to accomplishing these targets, make sure you think about introducing a bonus plan in good time. Have you already considered a bonus pension plan or warrants for your executive staff?

Code of Companies and Associations

From 1 January, the mandatory provisions of the new Code of Companies and Associations will apply to all existing companies. Check in good time whether your company and its management structure meet the new requirements.

Social elections (January to June)

Between 11 and 24 May 2020, the social elections for employee representatives in the works council and/or in the committee for prevention and protection at work (CPPW) will take place. Employers must therefore follow a very strict procedure that already started in December 2019 and runs until June 2020.

February

Commuting

On 1 February 2020, the Belgian national rail company, NMBS/SNCB, will modify its fares. Certain industry-level CBAs for the employer’s contribution to commuting costs base this contribution on the actual prices of train tickets. Any increase in rates on 1 February could mean an increase in the employer’s contribution.

March

Employment plan for older employees

Do you need to draft an employment plan for older employees, or is your multi-annual plan reaching its end? Then remember to renew or draft it on time. Each year (i.e. three months after the closing of the tax year (as for the EFI report; see below), you should provide this information to the works council, or if there is no works council, to the trade union delegation, the committee for prevention and protection at work, or the employees themselves.

EFI and wage gap

The EFI (Economic and Financial Information) report is a document with information about a company’s economic and financial condition. This report must be delivered to the works council each year (i.e. three months after the closing of the tax year and two weeks before the special EFI meeting). Employers who usually employ at least 50 employees on average are required to draw up an analysis report about their remuneration structure every two years, concerning the previous two tax years. This report must be transferred to the works council or, if there is no works council, to the trade union delegation. A company whose tax year ended on 31 December 2019 has until the end of March 2020 to draw up the report and to discuss it in the works council (or with the trade union delegation).

April

30 April CBA 90

A non-recurring result-oriented bonus plan covering the entire calendar year 2020 must be submitted by 30 April 2020 at the latest. Keep in mind that the Belgian Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue has a stricter approach in its control of the objectives based on which these bonuses are awarded. It is not certain that the objectives you used in the past will stand the current test applied by the Belgian Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue. You should therefore consider the description of your collective objectives when submitting a new bonus plan. When in doubt, prior approval can always be requested from the Belgian Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue, to avoid any surprises later. When granting CBA 90 bonuses in 2020, you should take into account the new maximum exemption of EUR 3,413 gross for the social security element and EUR 2,968 net for the fiscal element.

April June

Double holiday pay

The employer must pay holiday pay direct to white-collar employees, in contrast to the rules for blue-collar employees. In principle, according to the law, double holiday pay must be paid when the white-collar employee takes his (main) annual holiday. However, in practice, companies often pay double holiday pay for all white-collar employees at the same time, normally between April and June, regardless of when an employee actually takes his or her (main) annual holiday. Double holiday pay amounts to 92% of the white-collar employee’s gross monthly salary, related to the number of months worked or treated as worked (e.g. days on maternity or paternity leave, on strike, or on sick leave, among others) during the holiday credit year.

September

2020 holidays

In principle, annual holidays to which the employee is entitled in 2020 must be taken in 2020; otherwise the employee loses them. That is why we recommend you to send a reminder after the summer to all employees to take their remaining holiday entitlement before the end of 2020. In this way, you will avoid any comeback from employees who did not have the opportunity to take up all their holidays in due time.

October

Planning evaluations

Evaluations not only help stimulate people who need support, but also provide an opportunity to follow up on poorly performing employees. As the employer has to provide reasons in the event of dismissal, it is particularly important to document performance properly and to pay attention to the wording used.

Prevention action plan

Based on your company’s global plan, you need to draft an action plan in 2020 including the prevention policy targets for 2021. This yearly action plan should be transferred to the CPPW for advice, to the trade union delegation (if there is no CPPW), or to the employees themselves (if there is no trade union delegation) before 1 November. Do not forget to do an assessment of your reintegration policy at least once a year.

December

Year-end premium

In most companies, employees receive a welcome extra in the month of December: a ‘thirteenth month’ payment or year-end premium. Many industries concluded a CBA relating to this. The calculation of the amount of the year-end premium therefore differs from industry to industry, but also from employee to employee (e.g. for part-time employees).

Announcing public holidays

Before 15 December, you should post a message on the company’s premises setting out the replacement leave days for public holidays that fall on a Sunday or a normal rest day in 2021.

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