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If you cycle to work, a bicycle allowance pays off!

27 April 2023 Karolien Van Herpe Employers

Thursday 27 April is ‘I cycle to work’ day. The aim on this day is to get as many employees on their bikes as possible. Acerta research shows that lots of employees regularly cycle to work. Over one in five workers today already receive an allowance to pedal to work. From 1 May, that figure is likely to rise, as a new collective agreement entitles private-sector workers to a bicycle allowance under certain conditions. High time for an employer to take a moment to reflect on the bicycle allowance and the changes that are coming.

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What is a bicycle allowance?

The bicycle allowance is an allowance you can grant your employee when he or she goes to work by bike. The amount of the allowance depends on the number of kilometres your employee travels. The bicycle allowance is exempt from taxes and social security contributions up to a certain ceiling. The amount of the maximum exempt bicycle allowance is €0.27 per kilometre.

Should you pay bike allowance to every cycling employee?

From 1 May 2023, any employee in the private sector who goes by bicycle for at least part of the commute to work is in principle entitled to a bicycle allowance according to the conditions set out in the new collective agreement 164. Before then, there was no general right to a bicycle allowance. CBA 164 is supplementary, meaning it only comes into play if no sectoral or company CBA has yet been concluded on the bicycle allowance.

However, if the employer already reimburses an annual public transport pass, there will be no compulsory bicycle allowance, as the employer already contributes to the transport costs for the same route.

Is the bicycle allowance for every employee €0.27?

If you haven’t yet granted a bicycle allowance, from 1 May 2023 this will indeed be €0.27 per kilometre.

If your sector or your company had already established a bicycle allowance in a company or sectoral collective agreement, that bicycle allowance will remain in force in terms of the award conditions and amount.

If you grant a bicycle allowance without this being imposed by a sectoral or a company collective agreement, then collective agreement 164 also applies. You should check whether the bike allowance you already pay meets the conditions of CBA 164. 

Why pay a bicycle allowance?

The bicycle allowance is a financial bonus that can convince your employees to take the bike. This way, you contribute to the environment (one less car) and invest in the health of your employees (exercise is healthy). Moreover, the amount your employees receive through a bicycle allowance can be quite high.

The advent of e-bikes (company or otherwise) means the average commuting distance travelled by bicycle is increasing. And so the amount of bicycle allowance also increases. If your employee cycles a 20-km round trip at a bicycle allowance of €0.27, he/she will have €1080 on an annual basis. Not bad at all!

Moreover, our partner Mbrella provides the necessary support to companies to easily manage bicycle allowances. You can use their tool to register commutes with a single click, easily repeat favourite trips, and what’s more, it’s all easily combined with your Acerta payroll. With a strong focus on employee self-service and automation, bicycle reimbursements through Acerta and Mbrella are child’s play.

Sustainable mobility as an asset

A sustainable mobility plan tailored to employees is a priority for every HR department.

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Written by Karolien Van Herpe

Senior Legal Consultant Legal & Reward

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