The unemployment with company allowance regime: the most recent adjustments

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Date:
12 Oct 2012

<p>The regime of unemployment with company allowance (formally known as prepension/prépension/brugpensioen) has been modified several times in recent months. Following comments by the social partners, it was announced that a number of measures would be liberalised. This has now been done by the Royal Decree of 20 September 2012, which modifies the Royal Decree of 3 May 2007 regulating the regime of unemployment with company allowance.</p>

The regime of unemployment with company allowance (formally known as prepension/prépension/brugpensioen) has been modified several times in recent months. Following comments by the social partners, it was announced that a number of measures would be liberalised. This has now been done by the Royal Decree of 20 September 2012, which modifies the Royal Decree of 3 May 2007 regulating the regime of unemployment with company allowance.

One of the action points of the Di Rupo I government was to tighten access to the unemployment with company allowance regime. At the end of December 2011, the age and career conditions specified in the Royal Decree of 3 May 2007 were adjusted (cfr. our newsletter of 13 January 2012) .

As a consequence, the regime of unemployment with company allowance as of 58 years for employees with professions involving heavy work was ended with effect as from 1 January 2015. This led to strong protests from the social partners, after which the competent Minister De Coninck announced she would take their comments into account. With the Royal Decree of 20 September 2012, the "old" regime has been restored. Therefore, it remains possible for employees with such professions, aged 58 years or older and a career of at least 35 years to benefit from the unemployment with company allowance regime, as was previously the case.

In addition, the Royal Decree of 20 September 2012 fixes the right of access to unemployment with company allowance as of 60 years or within the scope of a long career, enabling an employee who meets the age and career conditions to keep his/her right to unemployment with company allowance. In the event the age and career conditions have meanwhile become stricter, he/she will still be able to benefit from the unemployment with company allowance regime under the previously applicable, more favourable age and career conditions.

An employee who wishes to benefit from his acquired rights can ask the Director of the unemployment office to determine whether he/she meets the age and career conditions.

> Action points

  • Examine the age and career conditions for unemployment with company allowance, even if there is no longer a collective bargaining agreement applicable at the end of the employment contract of the employee.
  • When dismissing employees with professions involving heavy work, keep in mind the fact that unemployment with company allowance remains possible