Publication of act concerning the strengthening of the economic growth and the social cohesion

05 Apr 2018

On 30 March 2018, the last of the series of reforming acts that we described in our first newsletter of this year was published: the act concerning the strengthening of the economic growth and the social cohesion. Below we provide you with an overview of some consequences that might concern you.


The labour cost for workers performing shift work or night work will be reduced by applying an exemption of the payment of a part of the withholding tax if certain conditions are complied with. The exemption will no longer be calculated for each individual worker, but for the workers’ group that qualifies for it. In addition, the definition of shift work will be extended to include employees working on building sites. It concerns real estate works.

In the framework of the fight against stress and burnout, financing is provided for projects – submitted by the Joint (sub)Committees and companies – for the prevention of psychosocial risks in the company (e.g. organising a campaign to raise awareness).


The committee on prevention and protection at work will also regularly discuss disconnecting from work and the use of digital means of communication. This may result in agreements that can be fixed in a CBA or in the Work Rules.

A new provision provides for a prohibition to prohibit the employment of temporary workers in certain branches of industry. Two existing industry-level prohibitions are thereby repealed, namely those of the inland waterway transport (JC 139) and the removals industry (JC 140.05).


The remunerations of workers that are paid belatedly due to the actions of the government or a dispute are, according to the law, taxable at the average rate of the last year of normal professional occupation. The same tax regime will be applied to the remunerations of company directors that are belatedly paid because of the actions of the authorities or because of a dispute. This regime will be applicable to allowances paid or granted as from 1 January 2018, except for allowances for which the tax regime is already determined at the point of entry into force of the modification.

In case of dismissal during the first six months of employment, new notice periods will apply as of 01-05-2018:

Seniority Present Future
< 3 months 2 weeks 1 week
between 3 and < 4 months 4 weeks 3 weeks
between 4 and < 5 months 4 weeks 4 weeks
between 5 and < 6 months 4 weeks 5 weeks


In order to stimulate the hiring of young people between 18 and 20 years of age, the employer will, as from 1 July 2018, have the possibility, under certain conditions, to grant a lower gross salary than the currently applicable minimum salary. If the employer uses this option, he will have to pay a lump-sum supplement that is exempt from social security contributions and withholding tax on top of the reduced salary.

Assessment year 2019

The third pension pillar – the individual pension saving – will be extended. The saver can currently save up to EUR 960 (indexed amount for assessment year 2019), which results in a tax deduction of 30%. The new arrangement gives the taxpayer the possibility to save up to EUR 1.230 (indexed amount for assessment year 2019). In that event, the tax advantage decreases to 25%.


Note that the chapters concerning the voluntary sector and occasional services between citizens were in the end not included in this act. These measures – which create the possibility to earn, under certain conditions, extra income that is not subject to income tax – require further debate before they can enter into force.