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Purchasing power premium: what do we already know?

28 April 2023 Ellen Van Grunderbeek Employers

The government reached an agreement on the 2023-2024 wage index in late November 2022. This agreement provides for a purchasing power premium. A first part of the legal framework of that purchasing power premium was published on 28 April 2023.

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1. What is the purchasing power premium?

The purchasing power premium is a (para)tax-advantaged premium that you can grant to your employees if your company achieved a high or exceptionally large profit in 2022.

2. How can you award the purchasing power premium?

The premium is in the form of a paper or electronic consumption voucher. It is not a cash premium.

In principle, the allocation of the premium should be arranged through a collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which can be at a sector or company level. If a collective industry agreement is concluded, it would have to define the high or exceptionally high profits in 2022. If agreements are made through a collective agreement for the company, you will have to add accountability for your company's achievement of good results during the crisis.

When it is not possible to use a collective labour agreement, the purchasing power premium can also be granted based on an individual agreement.

As the purchasing power premium will also be part of the upcoming sectoral negotiation rounds, it is advisable to wait and see whether your sector will reach agreements on the allocation of the premium, before getting started at a company level.

3. How much can the purchasing power premium be?

The maximum amount of the purchasing power premium will depend on your company's profit. For companies that achieved large profits, the cap on the premium is €500 per employee. For exceptionally large profits, this maximum amount is raised to €750.

Your sector or enterprise agreements may also provide for a lower amount.

If you follow the allocation rules, the purchasing power premium is exempt from taxes and normal NSSO contributions.  However, there is a provision for a special employer NSSO contribution of 16.5%. Both the premium and the special NSSO contribution are tax deductible for you.

No exempt allocation can be made for company managers.

4. From and until when can the purchasing power premium be granted?

You can award the premium from the 1st of June and until 31 December 2023 included. Your employees can spend them until 31 December 2024.

5. Where can the purchasing power premium be spent?

The purchasing power premium can be spent, in the form of consumption vouchers, for:

  • a meal, or ready-to-eat foods;
  • environmentally friendly products and services (the same products and services that can be purchased with eco vouchers).

6. What are the next steps?

The granting conditions of the purchasing power premium were published on 28 April 2023. The legal basis for the RSZ/ONSS contribution and tax scheme is still pending.

Stay up to date with social legislation

Social legislation is changing rapidly. As an employer, it is in your best interest to keep abreast of innovative regulations. This will also allow you to prepare in time.

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Written by Ellen Van Grunderbeek

Legal advisor at Acerta

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