In practice and also in recent media coverage, the question was raised whether employers/companies can provide employees with a (tax beneficial) cash incentive – other than a regular bonus payment – in order to motivate and reward employees who (are not staying at home due to temporary unemployment measures and who) are still allowed and prepared to come to work.
Amongst other potential measures, this was also investigated at the level of federal government. Already earlier this week, it was suggested that employers would be able to reward employees for working during corona times, potentially via use the CAO 90 (non-recurring collective) bonus scheme.
The Minister of Finance, Alexander De Croo, recently announced that he wishes to give companies the opportunity to pay a premium of EUR 1.000 to their employees, on which no tax or social security contributions would become due in the hands of the employees. This (gross for) net bonus could only be granted this year (to mitigate the COVID-19 impact). In doing so, the corresponding demand – made by the Flemish network of enterprises ‘Voka’ seems to be met, in order to encourage employees with an incentive (cash premium) for working in these challenging conditions.
The Cabinet of Finance further indicates that it cannot be the intention to also take this incentive / cash premium into account for the Belgian wage norm (which is a percentage that expresses the maximum increase in salary costs over a 2-year period).
Following this announcement, we anticipate that further modalities and details will become clear in the upcoming days/weeks.
Finally, please note that this is a federal measure (that does not belong to the various other regional incentives which are being proposed/implemented).
In case of any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact Sandrine Schaumont or Philip Maertens.