Collective employment relations
Tax and social security

The day before yesterday, the federal government reached a budget agreement for 2022. In its budget proposal, the government proposed a number of measures that will have a significant impact on employers and employees.

  • Labour law measures

Abolition of the sick note and reintegration of the long-term sick

The government announces that the sick note for one day will be abolished in enterprises (which should normally be defined as those employing at least 50 workers). Employees will be able to use this measure up to three times per year. In case of a fourth absence or if the employee is sick for more than one day, the employee will still have to provide a sick note. In small and medium-sized enterprises, the sick note for one day remains.

In order to encourage the reintegration of long-term sick employees, enterprises with more than 50 employees will have to demonstrate that they are making sufficient efforts to reintegrate their long-term sick employees. Enterprises with an excessive number of sick employees risk a fine of 2.5% of the quarterly volume of wages ; this will only apply to employees under 55 years of age.

Four-day week, right to deconnection, registration of working time and night work in e-commerce

The government wants to enable the transformation of the five-day week into a four-day week. This reform, together with other reforms such as the right to deconnection, the flexibilisation of weekly schemes, the registration of working time and night work in e-commerce, will be passed on to the social partners. If the social partners do not succeed in reaching an agreement on the relaxation of night work in e-commerce, individual pilot projects may be conducted in companies.

The individual right to training and activating dismissal law

The intention is that every employee will eventually be entitled to five days of training per year. In order to further stimulate the acquisition of new knowledge and skills, the government is providing that the deduction of the compensation for termination will, in certain situations, partly be used to train and activate people.

Employment of the unemployed in bottleneck professions

The government wants to make it possible for unemployed people to combine a bottleneck job with part of their unemployment benefit. The long-term unemployed who start working in a bottleneck job will be able to combine 25% of their unemployment benefit with their salary for three months.

  • Fiscal measures

Phasing out of the special contribution for social security and reform of the system of advance business tax

In order to ensure a higher net wage, the government is providing for the phasing out of the special contribution for social security and the reform of the advance business tax. The government aims at a system where employees receive a higher net wage per month instead of a high repayment many months later in the tax bill.

  • Parafiscal measures

Recruitment of the first employee

Because of the many abuses concerning the parafiscal exemption employers receive for the first employee they recruit, the government has decided to limit this exemption. The exemption for the first recruitment remains, but with a wage ceiling of €4,000 per quarter.

Key message

These measures are not yet sufficiently concrete or require further elaboration by the social partners. We will follow up on this and get back to you.