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Budget measures for 2023: an overview for employers

23 December 2022 Miet Vanhegen Employers

The budget measures for 2023 have been approved. What will change for employers? Here is an overview.

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Expansion of the number of sectors for flexi-jobs

From 1 January 2023, the list of sectors that can use flexi-jobbers will be expanded to include the following joint committees:

  • PC 223 (sports)
  • PC 303.03 (operation of cinemas)
  • PC 304 (entertainment businesses), not for artistic, artistic-technical and artistic-support functions
  • PC 330 (healthcare sector) and for public institutions or services in the healthcare sector with NACE codes 86101, 86102, 86103, 86104, 86109, 86210, 86901, 86903, 86905, 86906, 86909, 87101, 87109, 87301 or 8730.
    Not for (legally defined) care functions.
    Please note: a specific minimum flexi-hourly wage of 14.29 euro per hour applies to this sector, and when increased by the flexi holiday allowance of 7.67%, the flexi-wage amounts to 15.39 euro. 

Read more about the expansion of the number of sectors for flexi-jobs here .

The student quota is being raised

The student quota will be increased from 475 hours to a maximum of 600 hours per calendar year, at least until the end of 2024. This means that students will be allowed to work more with the application of the reduced NSSO contributions (= solidarity contribution for student work).

The withholding tax exemption is also increasing and also applies to these 600 hours. Please note: this exemption does not apply to the student's final tax. Consequently, the student therefore owes income tax on the net taxable remuneration that exceeds the tax-free amount.

In order for the student to still be considered a dependent, if necessary, the permissible income limits remain unchanged. With regard to child benefit,s an initiative has already been taken at a Flemish level so that students can perform up to 600 hours of student work in 2023 and 2024 without this employment leading to a suspension of the right to family benefits.

Extension of the neutralisation of hours for student work in the healthcare and education sectors

In healthcare and education, the full neutralisation of hours performed by a student has been extended for the first quarter of 2023. As a result, these hours do not count towards the student quota, they benefit from an exemption from withholding tax on earned income, and the income resulting from this neutralization is also not taken into account to determine whether the student can be a dependent person.

In principle, the income is taxable with the final tax. Consequently, the income tax is payable on net taxable remuneration in excess of the tax-free allowance.

Care staff extension plan

The care staffing plan includes a series of measures to deploy extra hands in the care sector. Among other things, the aim is to allow as many pensioners as possible to return to work, the student quota will be neutralised, the unemployed and volunteers will be allowed to work under certain conditions, and employees with a current career break or time credit will be able to suspend their break in order to return to work temporarily, while retaining their break benefits. The measures that have been in effect since 1 July 2022 will certainly be extended for at least the first quarter of 2023.

Employer contribution SWT (profit) to increase

Employers will have to pay higher contributions for their unemployed workers with company supplemental benefits (SWTs). The contribution rates of the special employer contributions are multiplied by a coefficient of 1.047 (period 1/1/2023 - 31/12/2023) and by a coefficient of 1.094 from 1 January 2024 onwards.

This increase only applies to companies in the for-profit sectors, and does not apply to the non-profit sectors and companies in difficulty or restructuring (during the period when the company is recognised as a company in difficulty or restructuring) and applies to both current and new SWTs applied for from 1 January 2023.

Responsibility contribution for excessive use of temporary agency work

From 1 January 2023, companies that conclude at least 40 consecutive daily contracts (of up to 24 hours) within one semester to the same temporary worker through the same temporary employment agency, will have to pay a responsibility contribution . This fine must be paid to the NSSO. This accountability contribution is calculated per six-month period on the basis of the frequency of successive contracts for very short-term temporary work between the same temporary worker and the same temporary employment agency for employment with the same user. The amount of the fee is determined based on a table of established rates. 

Work resumption premium for the long-term sick

From April 1, 2023, an employer who hires a beneficiary recognized as disabled as part of a progressive work resumption can receive a work resumption premium of up to 1,000 euro in certain cases. The intention is that this premium applies to both employment at a new employer and adapted re-employment at the existing employer (via an adjustment of the employment contract). This measure will apply until 31 March 2025.

This premium makes it possible for the companies involved to, for example, “buy in” advice on the optimal integration of these people within the company or to adjust the organisation of their work. The granting conditions and modalities of this premium are yet to be finalised by Royal Decree.

Abolition of outplacement after medical force majeure and the arrival of the Back-to-Work Fund

The current obligation for the employer to offer outplacement assistance worth 1,800 euro if they terminate the employment contract due to medical force majeure will soon be replaced by the obligation to deposit the same amount in a Back to Work fund to be set up within the NIHDI.

Affected workers and other persons with long-term disabilities will be able to use this fund to purchase services tailored to their needs from specialised and recognised service providers. These specialised service providers will be recognised on the basis of a number of quality criteria related primarily to basic requirements on customer orientation, human resources management and financial management.

In order to gain insight into terminations of employment contracts due to medical force majeure, the employer must now notify the NIHDI of these terminations.

The employer's non-compliance with these obligations will also be sanctioned with a criminal fine of between 400 and 4,000 euro or an administrative fine of between 200 to 2,000 euro.

Various royal decrees should further determine the notification method and the method of payment of the contribution by the employer, as well as the effective entry into force of the measures.

Increase in special activation contribution

In early 2018, a special activation contribution was introduced for employers who exempt their employees (with or without reduced wages) from benefits in order to circumvent the SWT’s strict conditions. The contribution is due until the employee is permitted to retire. From the first quarter of 2023, the 18% and 16% rates will be increased to 20%. Consequently, these will be the percentages and minimum amounts from the first quarter of 2023*:

age at the beginning of the exemption benefits

percentage on wages (increased to 108% for manual workers)

minimum amount per quarter (euro)

< 55 years



>= 55 < 58 years



>= 58 < 60 years



>= 60 < 62 years



> = 62 years



Please note: if the employer owes this contribution for at least 10% of its employees, the contributions are increased by 25% (example: a 10% contribution increases to 12.5%).

*These percentages and minimum amounts are based on the text of the draft programme law. There is no date of entry into force in the text. Presumably, this change will take effect from the first quarter of 2023. According to the draft, no changes will be made to the minimum quarterly amount.

The possibility of granting (para)tax-advantaged copyrights is being reformed. In terms of taxation, several adjustments to the scheme will be made from 1 January 2023. For social security, the allowance will be exempt if it amounts to a maximum of 30% of the total salary.

Although the new copyright regime is scheduled to come into force on 1 January 2023, the government envisages a one-year transitional regime to give beneficiaries and debtors of copyright transfer or licensing income enough time to prepare for the new regime.

Unlawful payment of temporary unemployment benefits

During an audit, if the RVA found that an employer had applied the temporary unemployment benefits improperly, then - during the period from July to December 2022 - the employer was directed to repay the undue benefits. The employer must then still pay the employee's wages but from that amount may deduct the amount from the benefit the employee had already received through its payout institution. This measure will now be extended indefinitely.

Mandatory attendance recording for maintenance and/or cleaning activities

The programme law provides for mandatory attendance registration for maintenance and/or cleaning activities of of immovable property.

Thus, in the future, arrival and departure at the workplace must be registered and the obligation to register will be extended to all jobs (regardless of value) and to all natural persons (employees, self-employed, contractors ...) present at a workplace where maintenance and/or cleaning works are performed. The public and private sectors that have their premises maintained by their own cleaning staff are not subject to this registration requirement.

The purpose of this registration system is twofold. On the one hand, it is to improve workplace safety. On the other hand, this information will be used by inspectorates as part of the fight against undeclared work, bogus self-employment and exploitation.

However, further elaboration of this registration system is still to be done by Royal Decree at a later stage. Consequently, it is envisaged that these regulations will come into force on a date determined by Royal Decree but no later than 1 January 2024.

Extension of the scope of casual workers in funeral homes

Employees that are employed in the funeral home sector (PC 320) on the occasion of a death, employed on an occasional basis and linked by a fixed-term employment contract or for a clearly defined job and who perform the following duties will also be considered occasional employees:

  • preparing obituary printing for dispatch: folding, inserting into envelopes;
  • minor work in the cemetery, such as placing or removing accessories;
  • minor, non-regular maintenance work in and on buildings for visits and ceremonies.

Extension of the limitation period for NSSO fraud claims

The limitation period for claims to the NSSO resulting from ex officio regularisations after the employer's determination of fraudulent acts or false or intentionally incomplete declarations after the determination of fraudulent acts or false or intentionally incomplete declarations has been extended from seven to ten years.

Also, in cases of fraudulent submissions to employee social security, the period available to the NSSO to proceed with the cancellation of these fraudulent submissions or the ex officio submission to the actual employer has been extended from seven to ten years.

Abolition of partial refund of engagement fee

An employer in restructuring who proceeds with a collective redundancy must to pay an engagement fee to their employees. If the engagement fee is higher than the effective severance pay due, the employer may be reimbursed from the NEO for the difference of the two fees.

The partial reimbursement of engagement fees will be abolished from 1 January 2023. This measure applies to all collective redundancies announced after 31 December 2022. After this date, the employer may not recover any additional costs from the NEO. The abolition of the reimbursement therefore increases the cost of restructuring.

Temporary reduction and deferral of NSSO contributions

Through the mechanism of automatic indexation, gross wages in Belgium must evolve together with the increase in the health index.

To compensate for rising wage indexations, private sector employers, certain autonomous public enterprises and public health sector employers (identifiable by a NACE code) can expect a 7.07% reduction in net employer contributions in the first and second quarters of 2023. Net employer contributions are understood to mean the employer's basic contributions due for social security, including the wage moderation contribution and excluding the structural reduction and social security social security reductions. The reduction of 7.07% will not have to be repaid at a later date. It is, therefore, a one-time exemption.

Then, in the third and fourth quarters of 2023, employers will get a payment deferral of 7.07% of net employer contributions. To benefit from a deferred payment, the employer must apply to the National Social Security Office through the quarterly Dmfa declaration. The deferred social security contributions will be divided into four equal parts over the four quarters of 2025 and collected together with the contributions due in that quarter.  

Note that these measures may not be granted if there are links with tax havens.

Do you have questions about these measures?

Our experts are ready to inform, advise and support you.

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Written by Miet Vanhegen

Juridisch adviseur

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