The Belgian government recently announced the creation of a new remunerative advantage, called “consumption vouchers”. This announcement comes after an effort to support industry sectors that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.
When can these vouchers be provided to employees?
Employers have until 31 December 2020 to decide whether to issue these consumption vouchers, which will be valid for an employee to use until 7 June 2021.
Where can employees spend their vouchers?
Employees can spend their vouchers in 3 business sectors: horeca, culture, and sport.
Is the voucher subject to tax?
- The voucher is 100% deductible and tax-free.
- The consumption voucher is exempt from the employee’s personal income taxes and social security contributions.
- For the employer, this voucher is deductible as a professional expense.
General principles an employer should be aware of before issuing a consumption voucher
- The voucher cannot be given to replace or convert salary, premiums, or other benefits.
- The granting of the voucher must be included in a collective labor agreement on a sector or company level. For the companies without a trade union delegation, it must be included in an individual agreement with the employees.
- The maximum value of a voucher is €300.
- The voucher can never be completely or partially exchanged for money.
- The voucher is issued in the employee’s name.
For now, the vouchers must be issued in paper form. However, legislation is currently under discussion to authorize the issuance in an electronic format.
As with any remunerative element, these new consumption vouchers should be awarded in compliance with the non-discrimination principle, i.e. the vouchers must be granted without distinction to any worker.