The legislation of meal voucher
In Belgium, the granting of meal vouchers is regulated by several legal provisions. Employers are therefore bound to respect certain rules.
Are meal vouchers compulsory?
As an extra-legal benefit, the meal voucher is in principle not compulsory (it is in some Joint Committees). Its granting and the related terms and conditions are therefore decided by the employer and set by a sectoral or company Collective Labour Agreement (CLA) or an Individual Labour Agreement.
To know if the granting of this benefit is compulsory in your JC, do not hesitate to Contact us.
Who is entitled to it?
Any person subjected to an employment contract which mentions the attribution of meal vouchers entitled to this benefit. The same goes for certain categories of workers, such as:
- Student jobs
- The interns paid under employment contract
- The teleworkers
- The workers with special status
On the contrary, volunteers being, by definition, unpaid and not bound by an employment contract, cannot receive this extra-legal benefit.
Can I grant myself meal vouchers as independent business executive?
Since 1 January 2007, independent business executives can grant themselves meal vouchers under certain terms:
- The number of vouchers granted must correspond to the number of days during which the independent business executive has actually performed work. The total number of days counted cannot exceed the maximum number of days that can be provided by a full-time worker in this company.
- The business executive who hires staff cannot grant himself meal vouchers without doing the same for his staff. The value received by the entrepreneur cannot exceed that received by his employees.
Attention: Small shopkeepers and liberal professions cannot receive meal vouchers, because the legal form of the independent chief’s activity must explicitly be a company.
Is the same amount allocated to all workers, whether they work in full-time or part-time?
In order to avoid arbitrary discrimination, the legislation of the meal voucher in Belgium requires that workers in the same category, namely subjected to the same work arrangement, benefit from meal vouchers with an identical face value.
An employer who wishes to grant different face values to various categories of workers must therefore do so objectively. Under this rule, it is possible to provide in the Convention governing this extra-legal benefit, different amounts depending on the employee’s status (full-time or part-time).
Attention: if the objective character seems arguable, it is recommended that you seek advice from the NSSO.
As a general rule, meal vouchers are granted according to the number of days or hours worked. A part-time worker would therefore logically receive fewer vouchers than a full-time worker.
Can meal vouchers be allocated retroactively?
Retroactive allocation of meal vouchers is not recommended and can only be made in case of rectification. Indeed, if vouchers are granted in excess or less, they will be regularized the following month.
Can I convert meal vouchers in eco vouchers?
It is allowed to convert meal vouchers into eco vouchers. However, make sure that when signing the sectoral Collective Labor Agreement, it has been agreed that conversion is possible.
You cannot find an answer to your question about the legislation concerning the meal vouchers in Belgium? Contact us.