Meal vouchers in electronic form: soon a reality!

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Date:
03 Dec 2010

<p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 10pt;">In the Belgian Gazette of 23 November 2010 two Royal Decrees of 12 October 2010 regulating the introduction of electronic meal vouchers were published.</span></span></p><span style="font-family: arial,helvetica,sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: 10pt;">

In the Belgian Gazette of 23 November 2010 two Royal Decrees of 12 October 2010 regulating the introduction of electronic meal vouchers were published.

The first Royal Decree lays down the conditions and procedure for recognizing the "publishers" of meal vouchers in an electronic form.

The second Royal Decree deals with the conditions under which the vouchers are exempt from social security contributions. These contributions will be credited monthly, once or several times, to the "meal vouchers account" of the employee where they will be registered and managed by the authorized publisher. The meal vouchers will have a validity period of three months starting from the moment the contribution has been credited to the employee's account.

The choice of electronic meal vouchers has to be settled by a collective labour agreement. A collective labour agreement is not necessary in case the company does not have a trade union delegation or in case it concerns a personnel category for whom employment conditions are usually not dealt with in collective labour agreements. In such cases the choice of electronic meal vouchers can also be settled by an individual written agreement. This choice is reversible (it is possible to go back to the paper version), according to the terms established in the collective labour agreement or in the work rules (in case this choice wasn't expressed by an individual agreement), in the absence of which the choice is valid for at least three months (with the possibility of modification with the respect of one month's notice).

The electronic meal voucher regime will be evaluated three years after its entry into force which is 1 January 2011.

The exemption from tax for electronic meal vouchers is not yet foreseen but we can expect that the tax authority will apply the same conditions as for the paper version.