The legislation of the corona premium
What is the corona premium?
The corona premium is a measure taken by the Belgian government in relation to the agreement on the wage norm. This bonus can be attributed to their employees by any employer whose business achieved good results during the COVID-19 crisis. Its goal is to support the economic recovery of the country.
The corona premium must be issued as vouchers and can reach a value of up to €500. In order to increase the net advantage granted to the employee as well as to limit costs for the employer (employer contribution of 16,5%), the corona premium is not considered remuneration if it fulfills certain conditions.
What rules should be respected?
In order to be considered a social benefit and not remuneration, the corona premium must fulfill the following conditions:
- It cannot be granted as replacement for other bonuses or any other advantage, whether it be subjected to social security contributions or not.
- The granting of the corona premium must be implemented on the basis of a collective labor agreement either at a sectorial or company level. In cases where such a collective agreement cannot be put in place, an individual labor agreement must be provided.
- The corona premium is a one-time bonus and its maximum value is of €500 per worker.
- The corona premium is issued as vouchers and cannot be exchanged for cash, whether totally or partially.
- The vouchers must be delivered in the name of the employee.
- The corona premium must be issued between August 1st and December 31 2021.
- It is valid until December 31 2022.
- The corona premium can be spent in all sectors, as long as the consumer is present in the selling establishment. This means that online shops are not eligible to accept the corona premium.
Is the attribution of a corona premium mandatory?
Normally no. To this day, the corona premium is granted on a voluntary basis. Employers can decide for themselves whether their company’s last results allow them to offer such a bonus. However, it is possible that some sectors might make the premium mandatory in the coming weeks.
Can I grant myself a corona premium as an independent business owner?
No. The current legislation defines the corona premium as a measure concerning employees only, and not the self-employed.
Is the value of the corona premium the same for part-time as for full-time workers?
The legislation does not provide any rules concerning the difference between part-time and full-time employees. It is therefore up to the employer to decide whether they want to grant the same premium to all no matter their status, or instead prefer to calculate the value of the premium according to the number of hours that each employee works.