Eco-cheques: new rules apply since 1 January 2011

06 Jan 2011

<p><span style="font-size: 8pt;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">On Tuesday, 21 December 2010, the National Labour Council concluded the collective labour agreement (CLA) n°98<em>bis</em> modifying CLA n°98 on the so-called "eco-cheques"</span></span></p><span style="font-size: 8pt;"><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;">

On Tuesday, 21 December 2010, the National Labour Council concluded the collective labour agreement (CLA) n°98bis modifying CLA n°98 on the so-called “eco-cheques”.

This new CLA is the result of an evaluation of the eco-cheque regime that was undertaken by the social partners.

As a result of this modification, employers must now specify to the workers who leave the company "the number of eco-cheques which must still be granted and the time at which they will be actually delivered to him/her".

The method of calculating the number of eco-cheques to be granted to workers has also been modified:

  • the usual days of inactivity between two periods of occupation with the same employer have to be taken into account to determine the period of occupation and therefore the number of eco-cheques to which the worker who entered into service or who has left the employer during the calendar year is entitled;
  • the calculation of the number of eco-cheques is now done taking into account the days during which the employment contract is suspended according to article 28,1° of the Act on employment contracts (instead of days "for which the workers involved have received holiday pay"). According to the commentary accompanying the CLA, employers must also take into account the days covered by a reimbursement for youth/seniors holiday.

In addition, when, for a specific reference period, the worker is entitled to eco-cheques with a value of less than 10 EUR, the employer has the choice between effectively delivering this eco-cheque or adding this amount increased by 50% (subject to social taxes and fiscal holding) to the worker's usual remuneration.

Finally, the new CLA expands the list of goods and services that can be acquired with eco-cheques. Organic food bearing the organic production logo of the European Union, the purchase and maintenance of electric scooters and travel by bus, are now on the list.

The new CLA came into force on 1 January 2011. The goods and services that have been added to the list may be acquired with eco-cheques previously issued. The new rules for calculating the number of eco-cheques are applied to all eco-cheques delivered from 1 January 2011. They therefore also apply for eco-cheques which will be delivered on the basis of a period already in progress at that date. Employers will thus have to make, in some situations, a correction to their calculations.