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Summer 2021: employers, keep an eye out for these changes

01 July 2021 Nele Mertens Employers

As far as corona is concerned, we are gradually on the way out. Thanks to rising vaccination rates and declining infection rates, the summer months of 2021 may look very different from last year's summer. And our social partners have not been idle either. We provide you with a summary of what's new in July, August and September.  

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This is what the summer months of 2021 look like

This is what you want to know about new and changed arrangements for the summer months of July, August and September, mainly related to the relance from corona.

PRACTICAL FACILITATIONS

Return to work

From 27 June 2021, there will no longer be a requirement that those who can work from home, must work from home. Conversely, return to work should not be compulsory or sanctioned. Business as usual, then? No, home work is still recommended. It is the employee who decides on his/her return, but of course, it is advisable to discuss a possible return together.

The generic corona guide should continue to be respected, but no limits regarding occupation have to be taken into account any longer, no declaration is required for people working in the office, and no certification has to be provided for these employees.

Indexed kilometre allowance as of 1 July 2021

If employees use their own car, motorcycle or moped for travel on behalf of their employer, they can get an expense allowance for this. The employer can choose to reimburse the actual costs incurred, or to grant a fixed mileage allowance. In doing so, he may rely on the mileage reimbursement flat-rate applicable to federal civil servants.

The amount of this fixed kilometre allowance is indexed annually. For the period from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022, this fixed amount is EUR 0.3707 per kilometre, an increase compared to the previous amount (EUR 0.3542 per kilometre). This increase is mainly due to the higher diesel and petrol prices in May this year, compared to the same period last year. The diesel and petrol prices are an element in the calculation of this fee.

Federal mobility survey resumed after corona postponement

On 1 July 2021, the Federal Public Service Mobility and Transport will resume the federal mobility survey. This is normally organised every 3 years, but was postponed due to corona. Companies with at least 100 employees are surveyed, and the aim is to map out commuting patterns.

Travelling within Europe with the corona certificate

As of 1 July, a valid corona certificate serves as a "passport" to travel within Europe - no distinction is made between professional and non-professional travel. But be careful and check: each European country can impose its own travel conditions, and the virus sometimes forces certain measures to be taken.

For return from abroad, the colour codes still play a role: if you come from a red zone, at least a test is required; if you come from a very high risk zone, quarantine obligations still apply.

Travelling outside Europe is still not recommended.

SUPPORT IN THE RELANCE

Federal corona support measures extended

A series of corona support measures will remain in place throughout the summer, until the end of September - you can also read here with us about what happens after that. This now concerns the relaxed procedure for temporary unemployment and the reduction of the withholding tax on earned income, the increased quota for voluntary overtime in certain sectors, the possibility of granting an allowance for work done from home (which is still recommended!), the target group reduction for employers who increase the volume of work, and individual favourable financial arrangements for employers and, for example, the disabled and unemployed.
We'll keep you posted towards autumn.

Exemption for student work in third quarter is extra

As support in this relance period, and to provide maximum flexibility, for the full third quarter of 2021, students can be employed at the tax and social benefit rate without their hours being counted towards the 475 hours normally provided.

180 tax-benefit overtime hours (IPA)

The social contract increases the number of overtime hours eligible for tax purposes from 130 to 180 per calendar year, per employee, within the maximum of 220 voluntary overtime hours (of which 120 are so-called relance overtime hours). The increase will take effect from 1 July 2021 and will apply until 30 June 2023.

Smooth(er) access to the SWT and the runway (IPA)

The validity of the Unemployment System with Company Allowance (SWT) schemes until the end of June 2021 has been extended virtually unchanged by the recent IPA agreement. The system allowing older workers who meet the conditions of the scheme to leave the labour market early will therefore continue to exist after 1 July 2021.

In the IPA agreement it was also decided that a landing strip with benefits will be possible for the period 2021-2022 from the age of 55 for both 1/2 and 1/5. This decision still has to be ratified by the government and laid down in a framework collective agreement.

AND THEN THERE'S MORE:

Extension of bereavement leave

For those who would unfortunately be confronted with it this summer, the short-term leave in case of death has been extended: the number of days with pay has been increased and its application now also applies to foster parents and children.

Full roll-out of IF.IC as of 1 July 2021

In July 2021, the employees of the Flemish regionalised care sectors within PC 330 will for the first time be paid 100% IF.IC, with a retroactive wage correction for the months of April, May and June 2021.

Some concrete consequences of the Interprofessional Agreement

Under the biennial Inter-Professional Agreement (IPA), an increase in a host of minimum benefit amounts goes into effect commencing from 1 July 2021. These are also the basis for the sectoral negotiations.

Stay up to date with social legislation

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Nele Mertens

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