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Hiring a pensioner? Here is what you need to consider

03 June 2021 Ellen Van Grunderbeek Employers

Have you ever thought of hiring a pensioner? With the relaunch of cultural events and leisure activities, extra hands might come in handy.

Recent research by Acerta shows that by 2020, more Belgians will have retired before the age of 65. The fear of corona infection has probably convinced the over-60s to retire a little earlier. They have since already received their vaccine, and can come and lend a hand. Let's give you an overview of the possibilities.

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Employing a pensioner

As an employer in the private sector, you can employ a person who receives a retirement or survivor's pension, regardless of his/her age. However, this does not change his/her status as a salaried employee. You must therefore follow the same rules as for the other employees in your company. Therefore, in principle, you cannot recruit a pensioner for an employment contract with an employment break of less than 1/3 of a full time job.

The statutory rules on dismissal must also be complied with. The only difference is that once the legal retirement age of 65 has been reached, the notice period may not exceed 26 weeks.

Is your retired employee 65 years of age or older, or can he demonstrate a career of 45 years? Then he can earn as much as he wants (no income ceiling) while fully retaining his pension. In other cases, income limits must be respected.

Because of the corona pandemic, retired employees in key sectors and essential services can earn unlimited extra income, regardless of age and career. This measure is provisionally in force until 30 June 2021. However, due to the combination of pension benefits and salary, the pensioner will lose part of the tax relief on his pension. The salary is subject to classic tax rules.

Pensioner as flexi-jobber

Don't you need a permanent worker, but rather someone who can assist flexibly? Then you can also hire a pensioner as a flexi-jobber if he meets one of these conditions:

  1. he/she has reached retirement age and received retirement benefits two trimesters prior to recruitment. For example, if you want to start with a retired flexi-jobber on 1 August 2021, he/she must be retired by 1 April 2021.
  2. Or your retired flexi-jobber can prove that he was employed for at least 80% three trimesters prior to the recruitment.

Once he or she has reached the age of 65, he or she can work in a flexi-job without checking these conditions.

Please note that persons receiving 'transitional benefits' are not considered 'retired'. In addition, you are not allowed to hire a flexijobber if your permanent staff is still temporarily unemployed because of corona.

Flexi-jobs are possible within the following sectors:

  • catering industry (PC 302),
  • independent retail trade (PC 201),
  • bakers (PC 118.03),
  • trade in foodstuffs (PC 119 and PC 202),
  • medium-sized food companies (PC 202.01),
  • large retail shops (PC 311),
  • department stores (PC 312),
  • beauty care (PC 314).

What are the advantages of a flexijobber?

  • the working time is more flexible. For example, you can assign daily contracts or one-off contracts;
  • the cost of such recruitment is of interest to you. After all, you are not bound to adhere to scales. The flexi-worker must receive a "standard" minimum flexi-hourly wage of EUR 9.55. On top of this amount, you have to pay 7.67% holiday allowance and a special social security contribution of 25%.
  • for your employee, this status can be even more advantageous as he does not have to pay any social security contributions or taxes.

Keep in mind that, on top of this minimum wage, you have to pay other allowances and premiums provided for by the collective labour agreement (e.g. weekend allowance, end-of-year bonus, eco cheques, etc.).

Retired association worker

Pensioners can also be employed in association work. For this, it is again required that they must have received pension benefits two trimesters prior to the association work (and again, persons receiving transitional benefits are not considered retired).

Association work is possible for the following activities:

  • animator, leader, monitor or coordinator who provides sports initiation and/or sports activities;
  • sports trainer, sports instructor, sports coach, youth sports coordinator, sports referee, jury member, steward, groundsman-equipment master, signaller at sports competitions;
  • caretaker of sports infrastructure;
  • provide help and support on an occasional or small-scale basis in the areas of administrative management, administration, archiving or assuming logistical responsibility for activities in the sports sector;
  • provide assistance on an occasional or small-scale basis in drafting newsletters and other publications (such as websites) in the sports sector;
  • provider of training, lectures and presentations in the sports sector.

When can you use association workers?

Only actual associations, private legal persons or public legal persons can use association workers. This is on condition that they do not distribute, directly or indirectly, any capital gain to their founders, directors or any other person.

Association work is possible for a limited number of activities. You can find an overview of the permitted activities here .

Using an association worker offers your organisation many advantages:

  • the classical provisions of labour law do not apply. However, there are some rules to protect the association worker.
  • You are not bound by scales, you can determine the remuneration of you association worker. However, the association worker must receive a minimum hourly wage of EUR 5.10/hour. This minimum hourly wage also includes commuting allowances and any expenses.

Please note that, for the time being, the current regulation for association work only applies to the sports sector until the end of 2021. Recently, the government announced 2 extensions to this (temporary) system of association work:

  • association workers in the sports sector would receive a higher allowance during the months of July, August and September 2021, of €1,065 instead of €532.50 per month.
  • association workers can also temporarily work in the socio-cultural sector (as directors, conductors, choreographers or as teachers, coaches or process supervisors), thus supporting these restarting associations in the organisation of their activities.

Before you can call on these extensions, they still have to be officially published.

Do you have any question about this?

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

Contact us

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Written by Ellen Van Grunderbeek

Legal advisor at Acerta

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