In the National Labour Council, a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) was concluded that provides a general obligation for employers to assign a bicycle allowance.
Although quite a few workers in Belgium already currently receive a bicycle allowance, there is not yet any general right for all employees. Employees cycling to work or, for instance, to the train station to take the train to work, are able to receive a bicycle allowance from their employer if the sector the employee works in imposes the obligation to do so through CBAs or if the employer assigns the bicycle allowance on its own accord.
That is set to change. Back in 2005, the National Labour Council first called on sectors to consider a bicycle allowance. In its September 2020 coalition agreement, the Federal Government included that everyone going to work by bicycle should be entitled to a bicycle allowance.
In the National Labour Council, the social partners now finally concluded CBA 164, which establishes the right to a bicycle allowance, starting from May 2023. The maximum amount exempt from social security contributions and personal income tax of € 0.27 per kilometre is being imposed. Note that this is a supplementary collective bargaining agreement, which does not affect company or sectoral CBAs that already assign a bicycle allowance.
This CBA (CBA 164) applies to all employers operating in Belgium, covered by the CBA law of 5 December 1968. These are all employers from the private profit and non-profit sectors.
However, the CBA is supplementary, meaning it applies only to those employers from sectors that had not yet made their own arrangements on bicycle allowances, nor entered into a company CBA on compensation for commuting by bicycle. Company and sectoral CBAs assigning a bicycle allowance remain in force, in terms of the conditions for assigning it and the amount.
Moreover, the CBA does not apply to employers from Joint Committee 335 on Services and Support to Business and the Self-Employed. Not constituted until November 2021, the sector is given the chance by the social partners to negotiate its own CBA on commuting compensation. They will have until 31 December 2023 to do so. If no CBA has been concluded by that date, employees from Joint Committee 335 will be entitled to the bicycle allowance from CBA 164 from 1 January 2024.
If your activity falls under the supplementary Joint Committee for Office Workers 200, since July 2022 you are obliged to pay a bicycle allowance of € 0.20 per kilometre. However, the compensation will be capped at € 8 a day, which is a maximum of 40 kilometres round trip. For you, nothing will change with the advent of CBA 164.
The CBA agreement concerns travel by bicycle for commuting. Work travel by bicycle will not be reimbursed under this CBA.
The CBA additionally clarifies that ‘bicycle’ means any bicycle, motorised bicycle or speed pedelec, as defined in the General Road Traffic Police Regulations. Motorised bicycles and speed pedelecs are only eligible if they are electrically powered.
The employee must cycle to work regularly, which is defined as at least once a week or, for example, every day in the summer months and by car or public transport in other months.
Even those who regularly go to work by bicycle for only part of the journey are entitled to the bicycle allowance for that part of the journey.
However, the reimbursement is capped at 20 kilometres one way or 40 kilometres round trip.
The basic amount from the CBA is € 0.145 per kilometre, and this will be linked to the index mechanism used by the tax authorities for bicycle allowances. Since 1 January 2023, the bicycle allowance has therefore been € 0.27 per kilometre.
Any employee wishing to benefit from the bicycle allowance must make a declaration on honour on the number of kilometres of his commute and the number of days of the month he/she commutes by bicycle.
The bicycle allowance you will have to assign is exempt from social security contributions and is not taxed. Moreover, the government has released a budget to provide compensation for the years 2023 and 2024. What that compensation will involve and when it will be assigned is not yet known.
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