Companies that turned a decent profit during the crisis are allowed to pay their employees a one-off purchasing power bonus in the form of consumption vouchers. Exactly how ‘handsome profits’ are to be understood can be defined by setting an (exceptionally) high profit criterion as part of sectoral consultations. Various sectors have already put sectoral purchasing power bonuses in place.
This federal government initiative came in late 2022 in order to maintain people’s purchasing power. A nice gesture for employees, but is granting this bonus also a rewarding idea for employers?
The purchasing power bonus has more or less the same strong suites as the corona bonus at the time: a lower special social security contribution and no withholding tax. The spending options are more limited than with the corona bonus and are now similar to those of the meal voucher and eco voucher.
The one-off bonus offers companies that turn a handsome profit the opportunity to pay their employees a (para)fiscally rewarding bonus and consequently an extra purchasing power boost to show their appreciation for their contribution towards the profits their company is turning. In doing so, and in spite of the 0% wage norm, the bonus leaves some room for companies to reward their workers and to stand out as employers in a tight labour market.
The allocation of the purchasing power bonus is agreed as part of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) at sector or company level or by way of a written addendum to the worker’s employment contract. In the case of a sectoral CBA, the sector defines what is meant by high and exceptionally high profits (in 2022) and what the amount of the bonus should be to reward this. The bonus is capped to a maximum of EUR 500, resp. EUR 750.
In the case of a company CBA, it is up to the employer to show that it was able to turn a handsome profit in spite of the crisis, before establishing the actual bonus amounts up to a maximum of EUR 750. Using a written addendum, the employer is not required to serve proof of anything. If the bonus amounts set out in an sectoral CBA remain below the statutory ceiling amounts, individual employers can still decide to go higher.
Looking to give your employees an extra reward? Employers still have until 31 December 2023 to pay the purchasing power bonus. Employees then have until 31 December 2024 to spend it.
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