Last month, the National Labour Council approved the Collective Bargaining Agreement nr. 90/3, which introduced a number of changes to the regulations on non recurring result linked benefits.
The system of non recurring result linked benefits was introduced by the Collective Bargaining Agreement nr. 90 and allows employers to grant bonuses to their workers, based on the achievement of collective objectives during a certain reference period, in a tax friendly manner.
A system of non recurring result linked benefits has to be laid down in a bonus plan that has to be introduced either by company-level Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) – in companies with a union delegation – or by act of accession in companies without such union delegation. Such CBA or act of accession has to be filed with the registry of the Collective Labour Department of the Federal Public Service Work, Labour and Social Dialogue.
If a system of non recurring result linked benefits is introduced within the company and the conditions laid down in the CBA nr. 90 are complied with, the amounts paid out in this respect are not subject to normal social security contributions if the maximum amount of EUR 3.313/year (figure for 2018) is not exceeded. If this threshold is respect, a specific employee solidarity contribution of 13,07% and employer solidarity contribution of 33% will however be applicable. For income tax purposes, the amount paid out is exempt up to a maximum of EUR 2.880/year (figure for 2018).
Changes to the CBA nr. 90
On 27 November, the National Labour Council adopted the CBA nr. 90/3 which will adjust the CBA nr. 90 as set out below as from 1 January 2019.
Template CBA and act of accession
The templates act of accession and CBA that have to be used to introduce a system of non recurring result linked benefits, will be adjusted. The most important changes in this respect are:
- In both templates, the obligation to include whether or not the company has started a procedure of information and consultation in the framework of a collective dismissal with closure of undertaking will be added. Indeed, if a company has announced a collective dismissal with closure of undertaking, introducing a system of non recurring result linked benefits is no longer possible;
- In the template CBA, a declaration is included on whether or not the CBA replaces a previously registered CBA introducing non recurring result linked benefits. This declaration supplements the already existing declaration on whether or not the CBA replaces an existing system of non recurring result linked benefits.
The possibility to adjust the collective goals
When introducing non recurring result linked benefits in a company by means of a company CBA, the CBA nr. 90 contains the possibility to adjust the underlying collective goals after the CBA has been filed and entered into force. This possibility does not exist for systems of non recurring result linked benefits introduced by act of accession. The CBA nr. 90/3 specifies in this respect that any adjustment of the underlying goals can only be done for the future and can not relate to a reference period that has already been completed or is ongoing.
Lastly, the CBA nr. 90/3 lays the groundwork for the future electronic filing of acts of accessions and CBA’s introducing non recurring result linked benefits via a new e-bonus application. Indeed, such electronic filing would be a significant administrative simplification. In a first phase, the electronic filing of the acts of accession would become compulsory and in a later stage it is envisaged to also have the registration of CBA’s in this respect done electronically.
Note that, at this stage, only some general principles regarding this e-bonus system were put into place, to prepare the system of non recurring result linked benefits for the future roll-out thereof. However, the actual e-bonus application has not yet gone live.
Points of attention
When filing a CBA or act of accession introducing a system of non recurring result linked benefits as from 1 January 2019, the new templates will have to be used. These templates will be made available on the website of the FPS Work, Labour and Social Dialogue (link NL & link FR)